Why I am an Anti-PETA Activist

by M-K Jones

There are many animal welfare concerns with the conditions and processes currently employed in livestock production operations. In response, there are countless organizations attempting to address these issues. One animal rights group in particular is constantly making headlines with their aggressive allegations. There are many words to describe their tactics: bold, passionate, moving…. disturbing, misleading, inaccurate, extreme….. PETA has infinite propaganda claiming their organization is vital to saving the organisms of our world. I’m about to present the argument that is clear to those involved in agriculture: that your support is far more useful when invested in educated, realistic catalysts for change rather than radical extremists.

The first issue with PETA’s message is that they are often disturbingly incorrect. I don’t want to assert (or even believe) that such an influential organization is willing to intentionally mislead the general public. However, the information they present is sometimes so blatantly imprecise that the only explanations are purposeful deception or a painfully low level of education about the processes they speak on. I don’t know which is worse to think; that the institution as a whole blatantly lies to achieve goals, or that it lacks the thought to fact check the simplest of statements.

One particular ad I recently saw (posted in September of 2014 on PETA’s facebook page) is a perfect example. It shows a woman wearing a knit sweater, followed by a bloodied ewe, the text reading “when you buy this, you support this”. I was sitting in a study lounge when I saw it on my news-feed and my sudden “Are you kidding me!?” reaction was passionate enough to startle the stranger sharing my table.

PETA's facebook ad

PETA’s facebook ad

The issues start with the ewe itself. Anyone with even a modest knowledge of sheep production knows the animal pictured is a Suffolk. Suffolks have been bred for meat production. They are a fast-growing breed with large frame size and excellent muscling. Unlike wool or dual purpose breeds their fiber is of such poor quality that it is virtually useless- certainly not the breed any producer would choose when making wool clothing products. Second, obviously the animal was shorn improperly. I’ve shorn several sheep myself and seen it done by professional shearers many times. Shearing, when properly done, is generally not painful or even stressful to the animal. While a small nick here or there is common, the scene depicted above is not.

Unfortunately, this poorly crafted ad is not an unusual PETA message. Their marketing strategy follows that of many product-pedaling companies: heavy on catch-phrase flare and light on facts. Certainly our core ethical responsibilities also include presenting factual education for our peers?

The other main issue with PETA is the organization’s radicalism. PETA is not an animal welfare group, they are an animal rights group. As I explained in a previous post about vegetarianism, there is a huge difference between animal welfare and animal rights. Most welfare advocates state that they seek to prevent cruelty, reduce unnecessary stress and suffering, and implement humane treatment/slaughter standards. Animal rights, however, is a huge leap above this ideal. The latter is most commonly defined as the belief that any and all human use of sentient living organism should end. This includes but is not limited to hunting, livestock production, entertainment, laboratory animals, and even ownership of companion animals like your family dog.

Eliminating all “use” of animals- to stop our domestication process- is not only an unrealistic ideal, it’s a downright deadly one for animals and humans alike. Our species and society relies heavily on animal products, and to remove them would mean implementing extreme changes in almost every aspect of our modern lifestyle. Maybe these are convenient for college girls following the latest “no leather” fad, but imagine the implications for those living in third world countries, or even those in our own society who struggle below the poverty line. That’s not to mention the unimaginable economic suffering due to job loss and the death of industrial giants.

The alternatives to rearing these animals for agricultural production is to raise them for enjoyment or release them. PETA’s official stance is not to release well cared for companion animals but simply control populations through spay and neuter programs. While this is a realistic view for pets, raising farm animals as companions on a large scale is not pragmatic. The option of release is not practical for either companion or livestock species. Domesticated animals have been bred to the point of human dependency (hence the fact that they are domesticated) and releasing them from farming or family homes would ensure a death toll of massive proportions of the animals themselves.

Beyond this, PETA has been accused of extremely radical techniques including the destruction of public property, among many other allegations. Although I hesitate to comment on their involvement in companion animals (as I do not have a strong educational background in the care or laws surrounding these animals) I will point out that I have read many court documents and articles alleging abuse and cruelty by PETA’s shelters and employees. In fact, their title of “animal shelter” is in jeopardy of being revoked in Virginia due to their outrageous kill rates (article link below).

When people hear of my anti-PETA stance, I am often accused of being anti-animal welfare, and am reminded of the necessity of whistle-blowers. In contrast, I adamantly support animal welfare and the presence of regulatory institutions in every industry. However, a  frighteningly misinformed and ill-planned agenda like PETA’s distracts from the possibility of realistic and mutually beneficial changes by spreading misleading propaganda. So ironically, it is the fact that I AM an animal welfare supporter that makes me unable to support PETA.

Check out my post “Our duty to Agriculture” for my broader view on Animal Welfare and the purpose of this blog:

https://artofagriculture.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/why-we-all-have-an-equal-duty-to-agriculture/

A ram being happily sheared at Checkmate Farm

A ram being happily sheared at Checkmate Farm

*A recent article in the Washington post… Proposed Virginia legislature would take away PETA’s ability to call itself an “animal shelter” due to it’s outrageous death/euthanasia rates:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/animal-bill-could-put-peta-out-of-the-shelter-business/2015/02/23/2f4f05b6-bb6a-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

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245 thoughts on “Why I am an Anti-PETA Activist

    • I liked the article and understand your viewpoint. I think PETA is just a worthless pile of crap! I don’t understand why they think people who eat meat should die, but I will always eat meat no matter how harsh PETA really tries to make the situation. I am involved in agriculture and none of things that PETA has said about it was ever true. I believe there should be rules on animal cruelty, but PETA has gone off the rails and I think it is time for them to be reigned in! I am in FFA at my school and I have not seen any such instances as PETA has described, the animals are well cared for and would never be subject to something like what is in the picture.

  1. Thanks for all the information. I’m not very educated when in comes to farming and that kind of stuff, so i never would have guessed that their wool is useless. It definitely changed how I viewed PETA

    • Thanks for the comment!
      Just to completely clarify: As was stated by someone else in the comments the word “useless” was perhaps a little harsh. There are of course uses for any quality of wool if you market it right. (For example the very coarse wool of Karakuls is not suitable at all for clothing but is still sometimes used to braid thick rugs) However, I meant useless in the context of the ad- that is, Suffolk wool is useless if you are trying to produce and sell knit-wear.

      • I liked the article and understand your viewpoint. I think PETA is just a worthless pile of crap! I don’t understand why they think people who eat meat should die, but I will always eat meat no matter how harsh PETA really tries to make the situation. I am involved in agriculture and none of things that PETA has said about it was ever true. I believe there should be rules on animal cruelty, but PETA has gone off the rails and I think it is time for them to be reigned in! I am in FFA at my school and I have not seen any such instances as PETA has described, the animals are well cared for and would never be subject to something like what is in the picture.

  2. I dont always agree with PETA – was a member for years but then they started to get real radical and I will never been a vegatarian

  3. Is it better for a cow to have lived and seen the earth and the sunrises and sunsets than to never have lived at all? If we followed what the hatefilled PETA people want, animals would not feel the wonders of life at all.

  4. I am glad I came across your post! I felt like one of the few people that felt this way. I am watching today about a gorilla shot to save a small boy that fell into the gorilla enclosure. Peta people are angry and think the zoo people should have waited. And of course Hollywood jumps right in with peta as they know so much more than normal folks do. I guess human life is less important to them. Even if the gorilla was not meaning to it could have killed the child easily. What is wrong with these people yes it is sad a beautiful animal is gone but lets focus on the life that was saved. The strength in a gorilla’s hand could crush a coconut what could he have done to the child’s arm, leg or head?

  5. Lets be honest about Peta…they are really nothing more than a cult. They prey on ignorance, they thrive on a slick propaganda machine and target the east coast urban liberal crowd…people that have absolutely no clue how their food, particularly meat, is actually raised and processed. If I showed videos of an abusive parent beating their kids and showed it to people playing it off as “this is how people treat children”…to people who don’t know any better, they would rightfully be appalled. This is exactly what Peta does! They show sensationalist videos of animals being mistreated and play it off like it is standard practice when in reality such abuses are very rare…the funny thing that they dont tell you is that when you abuse/mistreat/stress your animals, you produce an inferior product thus doing so is a bad business decision, not to mention that most people are compassionate, caring, and don’t have a desire to see any animal suffer. I understand that 99% of Peta supporters are nothing more than brainwashed cultists, but I wonder what the 1% at the top of the organizations motives are? Do they really believe their own garbage, or is there some hidden agenda?

  6. I eat meat just as much as the next guy.
    Yes its animal nature, survival of the fittest, whatever.
    However, a death is a death no matter the size, breed, age, etc.
    Killing is killing.
    Why it is okay to kill a cow, but not okay a human doesn’t make sense to me.
    Its a double standard, but of course majority would say otherwise. Please enlighten me as to why the mass murdering of animals for their skin, meat, and bone is morally acceptable, but the murder of a human is UNIMAGINABLE.

  7. Growing up on a farm and spending my formidable years chasing cows out of the road, people’s yards and off railroad tracks, I picture PETA’s “just world” of free roaming cows. And I have to believe they live in cities, far away from the reality of roaming cattle.

  8. I am from INDIA a great country were we work ship cow ,snake, fish e.t.c.and the birth place of Buddhism and Jainism.land of GANDHI who thought non violence even against your enemy.
    now PeTA is teaching us FUNNY PEOPLE.

  9. Peta is a fraud organisation, which is unnecessarily poking its nose in other countries. Generally the american companies are dominating the organisations in other countries for their personal benefits. previously british have swindled the wealth of indian country. Now organisations from america are doing indirectly by banning jallikattu etc. in india. Peta should be abolished

  10. #JALLIKATTUPROTEST….

    whole south India is protesting against PETA in Chennai, Tamilnadu, INDIA…….Please strengthen the support by creating awareness amount other country people. PETA needs to be banned.

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