PETA’s latest fail: animal cruelty is just like slavery

PETA Glass Walls display
Image via BET.

I am getting pretty tired of calling PETA out for their offensive ad campaigns. The latest, which premiered on the National Mall last week, is called Glass Walls and features the prominent endorsement of Paul McCartney. Nifty. Less nifty, however, is that it equates animal cruelty with slavery, among other systems of oppression. The display features graphic images of animal cruelty next to graphic images of human cruelty, including images of slavery from the nearby Natural History Museum. From NBC Washington:

“Child labor, human slavery, and the oppression of women all came to be opposed by our society, thanks to the passion and hard work of human rights activists,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk.

“We hope that PETA’s display will help people see that nonhuman animals suffer today just as humans once did, and that we can all make small changes in our lives to help make animal oppression a thing of the past,” she said.

Ugh. Equating animal cruelty with slavery, child labor, and oppression of women is literally dehumanizing.

Of course, PETA’s been alienating folks with these sorts of offensive ads for ages now. I see it as one of the clearest examples of how nonprofits can go bad. PETA gets attention in the media, which makes their donors happy and brings in the dollars. Forget that this is turning decent people off from the message.

Fuck you PETA. Fuck you very much.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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