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Dear PETA, We’re Awaiting Your Apologies

August 20, 2009

Originally published in August 2009 at The Previous Blog and followed by this post. Republished and archived here in June 2010 to accompany this post.

In the privacy of my home last week, I had an out-loud profanity-laden response to the PETA billboard recently put up in Florida when I saw a photo and read about it. Sure, PETA’s made me angry a number of times, but this time? This time, I was outright floored. And I can’t imagine that the attention-seeking organization isn’t losing a lot of supporters over this one, including people who’ve until now been doing their best to hope PETA would soon change its tactics. But no such luck. Instead, we get this terribly offensive “Save the Whales” campaign.

PETA owes women an apology. It owes all people who struggle with their weight an apology. It owes the animal advocates who have to constantly explain to offended people that we are not PETA–and that this crap infuriates us too–an apology. It owes animals an apology because of the number of people who tune out serious animal advocates’ compassionate message because they wrongly associate us with, and are so turned off by, PETA’s offensive campaigns or who use PETA as an excuse not to take us seriously. And it owes those apologies now. If PETA wants to remain even remotely relevant, this has to be where it finally ends, where they wake up, apologize, and change course.

Others have responded to this campaign as well as as I can–better, even. So I direct you to their posts on the matter:

“Meet Me at the Intersection of Whale Bait and Misogyny” from Vegan Feminist Agitator

“Standing Up to Fat Phobia, PETA Style” from What’s Written on My Body (a group quickly organized a protest at Ingrid Newkirk’s book signing in Portland, OR, complete with a “PETA Can Kiss My Big Fat Vegetarian Ass” sign)

“Anti-Fat Sentiment in Animal Rights” from Veg Blog (Ryan actually wrote this a couple years ago, but it is oh-so-relevant)

“Dear PETA” from Vegan Hope:

I am obese. You’ll be happy to know that I’m also a passionate, loving, caring and hopeful vegan, and I have been one for over a year. I thought that it might be in your best interest to know a few things about people who are overweight. I feel like this education might be key to your future and hopefully less hateful and bullying endeavours. . . .

There are people who have been vegan or vegetarian for YEARS and are still curvy, healthy, and lovely. You do not determine what healthy is, we do.

Vegans and Vegetarians do not want to be associated with your hateful antics. You have not only offended the public you have offended the very people that you are advocating being like. I for one, no longer will support your “organization”. I will encourage people to look to support people who are loving, and caring and do not use bullying to get a message across. . . .

Vegans are loving people who want to see the best for all creatures, even the overweight ones, and we do not need to use the tactics of a middle school bully to get our point across.

Read the rest of this last thoughtful post; there’s much, much more to it, including an important ten-point list.

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