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12/17/2003 Archived Entry: "PETA is evil"

PETA IS EVIL INCARNATE. Sometimes you know these things in an abstract way, but you don't grok how bad some rotten thing is until it oozes over you or your friends. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is one of those oozing rottennesses.

It's fairly obvious to anybody paying attention that PETA uses a "cute puppy and kitty" approach to lure unwitting animal lovers into supporting a hidden, radical agenda that includes support for violence, the end to all meat and dairy farming (even the most humane sorts), the abolition of all hunting and fishing, and total vegetarianism imposed on the unwilling. This human-hating agenda has been well exposed and countered by the Center for Consumer Freedom. (Scroll down that page to see their PETA-pillorying ads.)

Two days ago, Backwoods Home magazine published my latest Hardyville column -- about how PETA tried to stop a tiny rural group from raising funds via a pig raffle. Now, those events didn't really happen in Hardyville. But they did happen in a poverty-stricken small town somewhere outside of Hardyville. I've fictionalized them only a bit.

I don't agree with the pig raffle, myself. And the irony of a pig being raffled off to build an animal shelter is ... well, very thick. But I'm glad that neither the Hardyvillians nor the real-life folks PETA went after gave an inch.

I knew some things about PETA before, but what I learned from my friends' experience is that PETA is, at bottom, nothing but a schoolyard bully. And you don't give in to a bully, no matter what. Like bullies everywhere, PETA deliberately picks small targets -- like a church serving turkey at a holiday dinner or like an underfunded rural charitable group desperate to raise money -- and pursues them relentlessly, using personal harassment, media pressure, street theater, and whatever threats they can concoct. Their aim is to intimidate these "easy marks." And if they fail at intimidation ... then to destroy.

With all the serious animal abuse in the world -- all the ghastly factory farms, all the puppy mills in which dogs live and die in filth and misery, all the people who torment animals -- big, well-funded, national PETA instead chooses to focus its most intense efforts on the nobodies.

When PETA's complaints first hit the media, my friends got a call from a woman who offered to "buy out" the entire raffle and save the pig. The woman wasn't pro-PETA. On the contrary. She was a victim of PETA herself, who wanted to save my friends from what she warned would be a ceaseless, relentless campaign of harassment. Her "crime"? She had once been interviewed for a publication. During that interview, she was wearing a fake fur coat -- "faux fur," as it's sometimes called. Somewhere between interview and publication, "faux" got changed to "fox." And PETA came after her. No matter how many times she explained that she'd never worn a fur coat, they refused to believe her and kept up a campaign of harassment, designed to destroy her personal and professional reputation.

My friends thanked her for her offer but said no. The woman was right, though. PETA sent its mindless minions after them, relentlessly. So many PETA members called to harass one of the local veterinarians working with the group that the vet had to get a phone trap to record their numbers and threaten to prosecute those responsible. Someone called pretending to want to volunteer at the vet's clinic (then left a return phone number for a location thousands of miles away). That night, after hours, a clinic employee who'd been out walking dogs nearly jumped out of her skin when she came into the clinic exam room to find two complete strangers, who refused to say why they were there, but tried to pump her for information. At every stage of contact, PETA reps, both local and national, lied about their intentions, their identities, and everything else they could possibly lie about. The vet finally had to threaten prosecution to keep PETA protesters off clinic property. Next, the state gaming commission called to investigate the possibly "illegal" raffle. (How did the state government even hear about this tiny charity raffle in the middle of nowhere? Take a guess.) And on it went.

In the meantime, factory farms went on causing misery to thousands, even millions, of animals. And commercial slaughterhouses went about their business unmolested (as, IMHO, they should). And puppy mills still reeked with suffering, dying, sick, excrement-caked, bred-to-death dogs. And PETA didn't stop pursuing my friends.

Want some more irony? My friends are trying to build a no-kill animal shelter. No-kill is a policy many animal rescue groups now practice or strive toward. But not PETA. In 1999, PETA's own shelters took in about 2,100 dogs and cats and slaughtered more than 1,300 of them! If you read the PETA profile linked above, you'll also discover that less than one percent of PETA's multi-million-dollar resources go toward helping animals. PETA's alleged charitable arm, the PETA Foundation, is one of the few in the nation rated "zero" by Charity Navigator, a watchdog group.

You've gotta ask, what's PETA's priority? It obviously has nothing to do with saving animals.

Posted by Claire @ 01:36 PM CST

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