One of my blog readers emailed PETA in relation to my post on them below. She then forwarded me their automatic response, which is an exact copy of the excerpt copied and pasted by another reader who commented on my original PETA post. We both felt this subject is important enough to make their response public. Here's my reader's original email to PETA:
As a vegetarian who tries to eat organic, free-range and environmentally conscious, I think the fair treatment of animals is vital. I therefore find your cause an honorable one.
I am however, disgusted by your campaigns. Comparing the slaughter of animals to the holocaust is not only insensitive, but sickening.
The worst is your current 'Boyfriend went Vegan'.
Your aim is clearly to shock to get attention, but you have chosen the lowest common denominator for your approach.
How is this message, filled with abuse and distortion, supposed to inspire people to educate themselves to act for the fair treatment of animals?
Perhaps my reaction - any reaction at all - is what you are seeking. You have underestimated what your campaigns will do to the credibility of your cause.
I think you need to seriously reconsider your approach if your goal is to do something positive for the future of this planet.
And here's PETA's automatic response. Please note that the only thing I've edited from their email response is removing any links they provided within. I guess PETA feels it's a good opportunistic technique to provide an automatic response peppered with more links to their sites/campaigns that don't actually have anything to do with the email being sent to them, or the questions directed to them. I refuse to give their thoughtless and insensitive campaigns anymore publicity than I need to for the purpose of critique, so I have removed all their self-serving links. But I've indicated where such links originally appeared in the email:
Thank you for contacting PETA about our BWVAKTBOOM website and videos [link].
We often do “shocking” things to get the word out about animal abuse. PETA’s job is to draw attention to animal suffering, and we have found that provocative tactics yield more attention than the facts alone, which, in today’s tabloid media, aren’t enough to attract interest. We use all available opportunities to reach millions of people with powerful messages, and we often take a humorous approach to educating people about serious issues. Making people laugh is a great way to open them up to receiving more somber information. The situation is critical for billions of animals who are suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, and our goal is to make the public think. Sometimes this requires tactics, such as naked marches and colorful ad campaigns, that some people find outrageous or offensive. We welcome discussion about—and even criticism of—our ads and campaigns because we know that getting people talking is the first step in raising awareness.
We have found—and your message confirms—that people do pay more attention to our racier actions. Judging by the spike in visits to our websites generated by BWVAKTBOOM, this tactic is working, and more people than ever before are learning and thinking about going vegan. Billboards, print ads, and TV and radio airtime can cost millions of dollars, so PETA tries hard to think creatively about how to bring the animals’ message to the public. Our website and videos get the word out on the airwaves and in the public eye in ways that no amount of money spent on traditional advertising methods ever could.
As an organization staffed largely by feminist women, we would not do something that we felt exacerbated the very serious problems that women face. We abhor domestic violence and work to educate the public about how animal abusers often move on to human victims [link]. However, BWVAKTBOOM is not about domestic violence—it’s a public service announcement–style, tongue-in-cheek “warning” about the side effects of vegans’ healthy sex lives! We believe that no topic is taboo—including the benefits one reaps with a vegan in the bedroom.
Medical evidence indicates that meat and dairy products can lead to impotence because they clog the arteries that go to all organs, not just the heart. Consuming meat and dairy products is also linked to numerous other health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Doctors and nutritionists will tell you that the best way to prevent artery blockage and other conditions that cause impotence is to avoid meat and dairy products and to eat a diet high in fiber, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—in other words, a healthy, plant-based diet. To learn more about the link between eating meat and impotence, please visit [link].
To learn more about going vegan, order a vegetarian/vegan starter kit, or browse through meat-free recipes, visit [link].
To learn how you can get active to help animals, please go to [link].
Thank you again for writing and for sharing your thoughts with us.
The PETA Staff
There are many things that are clear from this response. Firstly, they don't actually bother to read the valid criticism directed at them, nor do they care to. This rather glibe and self-promotional response is basically typical of their approach in their campaigns: 'hey look at me, are you looking, I want some attention!' I had to laugh at the mention of 'feminist women' too, considering most of their campaigns work against feminism and the basic principle of treating women like human beings. Did it ever occur to them to focus on animals in their campaigns rather than abusing women and Holocaust victims?
Most importantly however, the main message I got from this response is how little they care that they are hurting people. But you know what, there are people who do care, me being one of them. And there are many of us out there who won't sit silently, accepting the kind of crap they dish out regularly. Thank you so much to Sara for sending them an email and for forwarding it to me. We need more people like you!
I know that some of my readers find me raising these topics a bit uncomfortable and confronting, preferring that I didn't blog about them at all and stick to 'lighter' posts. That's not me though. I blog about 'light' and beautiful things, but I also blog about 'serious' and confronting things. These uncomfortable things are part of life too. And the thing is, I've gotten to a stage in my life where I realise more and more how responsibility lies in our own hands when it comes to fighting prejudice, abuse and injustice. Things won't magically change on their own. So if anyone finds these types of posts offensive, I do sincerely apologise, but I'm not going to change the content of this blog. I do hope though that raising these types of topics does ignite some sort of fire within people to view the world differently and seek change.