PETA on the spot

By Alicia Montgomery



Salon Staff
September 1, 2000 11:35PM (UTC)

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PETA would do well to consider the ethical treatment of human beings. Using Mayor Giuliani's image without his permission to promote their claim that milk causes cancer could hardly be called ethical. I find their tactics disgraceful.

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-- Rich Sticka

This is by no means the first or the most extreme advertisement of its kind from PETA. In the early '90s, right after Americans learned the name of Jeffrey Dahmer, they ran an ad comparing meat eaters to the famous cannibal.

-- Gregory Potts

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I am a vegan and a PETA supporter. When I began reading the article, I was ready to defend the ad as a serious and fair depiction of the true consequences of drinking milk intended to counter the misleading "Got Milk" campaign. However, once I read the small print I realized that the ad was supposed to be funny. I find it very offensive that PETA would mock a person's serious illness, even if that person is Rudolph Giuliani. PETA would never promulgate an ad that mocked non-human animal suffering, so why does it feel that it is acceptable to mock suffering when the subject is a human animal?

In general, I am very disturbed that PETA seems convinced that there is no such thing as negative publicity -- any statement or action that gains attention is considered good, regardless of how effective it may be in convincing others of our position. The origin of much of the prejudice against animal rights stems from PETA's "publicity at any price" attitude.

Though I fully support PETA's goal of animal liberation (and many of their other tactics, including the naked/fur campaign), stunts like this ad postpone, rather than hasten, the realization of that goal.

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-- Jennifer Matis

I think that the PETA ad is very effective and hope that it is run nationally.

-- Peter Solt

Every time PETA unleashes a new ad campaign, I am surprised by the vitriol that they face. Granted the Giuliani ad was in extremely poor taste (and not even sorta funny like the "Got Beer" ads), but the open hostility shown by hosts on the morning infotainment programs, the accusations of misanthropy (in your own recent column), the constant inference in news articles that PETA has "something to gain" with these ads, seems to me to be way out of proportion with the "crime." PETA has a point of view that they are expressing. They are not a multibillion-dollar industry. They don't stand to make money or even friends with these ads. They have no secret agenda or ulterior motives.

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The palpable anger of individuals at the suggestion that a beloved, everyday food item with a reputation for being wholesome might not be as good for you as the industry that produces it claims is understandable. But it is also regrettable that we are unwilling to consider points of view different than our own, especially when well-intentioned.

Finally, considering the large percentage of humans who are lactose intolerant, the constant claim that milk is healthy always strikes me as hollow. There are other, better sources of calcium. But then if kale tasted as good as sharp cheddar, it would probably be bad for you too.

-- T. Fraser

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