Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh PETA, how you annoy me!

PETA is sexist and fatphobic. They degrade anyone they can in order to further their message of animal rights. I could go on for days (or pages) about how PETA hurts the animal rights community (and message) with their use of women to “sell” animal rights, or how degrading fat people with their hate hurts their chances of people listening, and how as a fat vegan I am completely disgusted with their treatment of people.

I have heard the arguments about how so many people got involved in animal issues due to PETA, and how the fact they are so accessible allows animal rights to reach more people. There are organizations that can do all the good things PETA does, without all the bullshit. Whenever discrimination and hate is used in a campaign to support animals- it is not effective and harms the movement.

But this isn’t even what I want to discuss today. I read an article about how vegan food is being provided in San Francisco prisons- that is great! Regardless of where a person is on earth, they should be given the option of eating vegan. However, PETA was given credit for this change due to a large protest in the 90s that resulted in mass arrests. PETA had nothing to do with this action, which was a sit-in at Neiman Marcus because they sell fur.

I was arrested that day along with individuals from a large community of smaller animal rights organizations wanting to see the end of the fur trade and made their way to San Francisco for support. We did not have funding from a large organization and we were coming together as a collective to make a difference. PETA was not involved in any way, and them getting credit for this action corrupts what we were doing. PETA is not a community player. If you try to talk with them about the hateful message they perpetrate through campaigns, they will respond by ignoring you, sending form letters or attack.

I felt I had to say something because so often in the media (or assumptions by prison officials), those with the money get the credit. This happens in the corporate world all the time, and happens with PETA way too often. There are so many hard working individuals (and smaller groups) who really care about animal rights and want to make a difference for the world. To me, individuals make a larger impact than non-profits who spend half their revenue on fund-raising. You don’t need to put up a billboard with naked women and controversy to get a message across.

The presence of all the smaller organizations that day, coming together from all over the west coast to form such a strong community was amazing! I miss those days where a united effort drew people in from all over to take a stand and make a difference. There are still lots of organizations out there, so please find one that resonates with you and not let PETA represent what animal rights is all about.


Nicole said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog, Chelsea! Very important message, thank you for taking this on!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Found you through the VidaVeganCon website and wanted to say that I really appreciate your voice. One of the main reasons I'm vegan is because I see all of the connections and I agree that it hurts the message that's trying to go out when it becomes compartmentalized. If we don't see how veganism, sexism, classism, sizeism... isms isms... etc etc... are all connected we're never really going to solve the problem. At any rate maybe we'll get to chat at Vida Con! Keep doin'!

In solidarity,

MeShell said...

I felt so upset when I saw that billboard. I'm so endlessly annoyed with PETA and their fatphobic or just generally messed up messages.

I (also) found your blog because of VidaVeganCon and I'm so glad I did. It's been a great read so far :)