Just before we rang in the year 2014, I ended one of the longest, most significant relationships of my life.
After six years of dedicated vegetarianism, and six years of figurative partnership with you, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), I realized that I had enough strength in my beliefs and convictions to not continue supporting what is ultimately an abusive, extremist animal-rights group.
At first, the relationship seemed to be a positive one. It was supportive, encouraging, and enlightening. PETA had a way of instilling purpose into its youngest followers; fuelling my newfound passion for justice and animal conservation,
You provided all of the educational tools needed to help make “ethical” decisions regarding both diet and way of life. You sent stickers, pamphlets, testimonials, and posted videos and photos on your web page. I proudly became a “PETA person”—my locker was decorated with posters and animal rights quotes, and I roamed the hallways repeating to myself, “I am not a nugget; animals are friends, not food.”
However, it took a few years before the realization hit that I didn’t have an ally in PETA. As a group, you are cynical, judgemental, negative, and at times, downright vile. Over the years, I mistook your obvious rage for “passion”— your animal rights crusaders are not happy, peaceful people.
There is always an undercurrent of anger and condescension running amongst many of you, and your efforts to preserve animal life show little to no respect for human life.
The warning signs came when watching your documentary “I Am an Animal,” where CEO Ingrid E. Newkirk revealed that, postmortem, she wanted her skin used to make leather goods and her eyes mailed anonymously to government offices so they know that animal rights workers are “always watching.”
Then there were your public demonstrations—performance artists being force fed and injected in store windows to shed light on animal testing, pregnant women put in cages to ban the use of gestation crates, or throwing paint on runway models during haute couture shows to protest the fur trade.
There are also the photos posted online. Every time I’d sit down for breakfast, there would be a new image to feast on: cats with their heads sawed open, newborn piglets lying on a dirty floor. I prefer coffee with my meals, not gore. It is all just so unnecessary and counteractive to the cause.
It’s understood that PETA uses these sensational tactics to raise awareness and “force” a public impact, but it is doing nothing to encourage people to get involved. No meat eating, fur wearing person is going to approach you out of fear that they’ll be chained up and staked on the spot. Even vegetarians feel like they’re not “vegetarian enough” if they eat fish or other animal by-products (including honey, which ridiculously enough, you consider to be an “animal product.”)
As much as I value awareness, I value approachability more. You can’t force someone to adhere to a specific moral code. They are responsible for their own choices, no matter how big (or how small) those choices are.
Some people don’t want to risk violent protests and a criminal record to fight for what is essentially just a “pipe dream”—a fantastic, but vain hope of a world without meat.
No one needs to be exposed to your propaganda any longer PETA. I am a proud, respectful, peaceful person whose choices are subjective, but justifiable. In the end, I am accountable for my actions and mine alone, and no one will make me feel guilty.
Sorry PETA, I’m just one vegetarian who can’t take any more of your beef.