Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2004 / 28 Teves, 5764
Shoales to PETA: Please SHUT UP!
The fine folks at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or
PETA, seem to be losing their grip.
Over the years, they have displayed a positive genius for public
relations. They have urged Hamburg, New York to change its name to
Veggieburg. They also suggested that Rodeo, in California, change its
name to something lest redolent of bucking broncos and hogtied calves.
They proposed that KFC stand for Kentucky Fried Cruelty, because of its
alleged unkind attitude to chickens. None of these suggestions were
taken, by the way.
More recently, however, their stunts seem a little hysterical. When
Playboy Hugh Hefner was taped for MTV with his pet monkey Pinky, a PETA
spokesman put out the word that pet monkeys can "grow up neurotic and
lonely." Well, gee, welcome to the club, pet monkeys. At least he's fed
three squares by a millionaire, and gets TV time on MTV. I could go
for that. I'd even wear diapers and learn how to chatter.
Remember the "German cannibal," who ate a man he met over the Internet?
PETA sent him a vegetarian cookbook, and veggieburgers, in the hope of
making him see the error of his meat eating ways. A spokesman explained,
"What this man did to a German computer expert is done to other
creatures everyday." So eating a chicken and eating a human are the same
The recent mad cow flap has sent PETA into gleeful overdrive. Unlike the
rest of the world, which views mad cows as something that might pose a
health threat, PETA views it as a golden opportunity to go vegan. Their
web site urges, "Click here for a free vegetarian starter kit!" You get
the feeling that if entire communities died horribly from an invasion of
zombie cannibals, they'd send survivors fruit baskets with a chirpy
Finally there was their stunt over Christmas, when PETA activists, many
of them dressed like fuzzy animals, showed up at performances of THE
NUTCRACKER all around the US, with a leaflet called "Your Mommy Kills
The leaflet read, in part, "Lots of wonderful foxes, raccoons, and other
animals are kept by mean farmers who squish them into cages so small
that they can hardly move. They never get to play or swim or have fun."
Say, that's good politics! Some little girl hand, her damp hand held by
her fox stole-wearing-mother is off to see the magical mice defeated by
a household appliance, and here comes some zealot dressed like a
squirrel to tell her that mother is the equivalent of a German cannibal.
If that's consciousness raising, give me a burger. Or at least a German
computer expert, hold the mayo.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2003, Ian Shoales