Category: Rants

PETA takes a page from the Fred Phelps playbook.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Update, 6/4/09:

Well, then:

Anti-Abortion Protesters Crash Vigil For Slain Doctor

About 10 members of the Westboro Baptist Church bearing signs with messages like “Baby killer in hell” were an unwelcome presence at a vigil for murdered abortion doctor George Tiller.

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Oh, no, no, no. Just, no:

WICHITA – A national animal rights group plans to erect billboards in Wichita urging people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian.

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One version of the billboard says, “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian.” The other says, “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.” Both feature a photo of three baby chicks.

Lindsay Rajt, campaign manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the billboards were prompted by the recent shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday at his church.

“The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation,” Rajt said today.

“We think we would be irresponsible if we don’t talk about how we’re all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat.” [...]

Rajt said the timing or content of the Wichita billboards may be controversial.

But, “If our billboards leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, we just think they might give a thought to what animals feel when they go to the slaughterhouse,” she said.

“We want to remind people that no matter where they come down on the abortion issue, each and every one of us can spare a life every time we sit down to eat.”

Frankly, the actual content of the proposed billboards is rather inoffensive – and downright blasé when compared to 75% of PETA’s other ads. In fact, I think the “pro-life” version is rather cute – and, on a subtle level, calls so-called “pro-lifers” out on their hypocrisy and ethical inconsistencies. The pro-choice one, meh, not so much; it just strikes me as a forced corollary to the “pro-life” billboard. A reach, albeit a harmless one.

But the timing – the timing is beyond crass and tactless. Fuck that shit, it’s downright amoral.

(More below the fold…)

The ultimate in vegan ranting.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Seriously, this video may very well prove to be the ten most enjoyable minutes of your day. He should totally do a blog tour – I could use an attack veg*n like Onision ’round these parts.
 


 
Hat tip, Elaine.

(More below the fold…)

Pork & Tits

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Update, 10/17/07: OK, I lied. What can I say, I don’t enjoy being misrepresented.

By way of an FYI to Feministing readers, I don’t plan on following the comment thread over there, not because I’m a rude asshole, but because I don’t need the grief.

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Update, 10/16/08: First, greetings and salutations to everyone coming here from Feministing. I hope you’ll have a look around and perhaps visit again.

Secondly, I want to briefly address the way in which Ann linked to this post on her recent piece on Ingrid Newkirk. At first I intended on posting this in the comments at Ann’s post, but they require a MoveableType account, and I just don’t have the energy – to register *or* follow comments on a website I’ve longed stopped reading due (some of) the bloggers’ blatant speciesism.

This is the paragraph in which I was quoted:

Well, duh. The lowest-common-denominator advertising tactic is to put a big ol’ pair of disembodied boobs front and center. We get that. (Of course, this argument has been made in defense of PETA’s tactics before.) But to make it sound like, “well, it’s either boobs or a slaughterhouse video, and which do you think traffics better?” is so simplistic. There are a million ways to draw attention to a cause that are neither in-your-face political nor objectifying women. This is not either/or.

I don’t know if Ann misinterpreted my post, or if I’m reading too much into the way in which I was referenced, but I want to clarify that I *don’t* believe that it’s ok for PETA to objectify women just so long as it helps their traffic. And that’s not at all what I said: in the post below, I argue that the “Breast is Best” campaign is not sexist, not because the ends justify the means – but because the means, in this case, simply are not misogynistic. My main intention in pointing out the Google search results is to scold those feminists (like, ahem, the ladies at Feministing) who only give a flying fuck about animal welfare issues when it’s to rip into PETA for their sexism (or other “ism”), whether real or perceived. (That discrepancy in search results? Feministing & co. is partially to blame.)

If you keep reading, you’ll see that I DO have a problem with PETA’s celebrity print campaigns, in which women’s naked bodies are pornified, while those of men are not. No doubt, all those pseudo-porn shots do wonders for PETA’s publicity, but because I believe that PETA has a responsibility to fight oppression in all its forms (if not actively, then at the very least by refusing to engage in it themselves), I don’t really give a shit how many people PETA manages to convert to veg*nism by displaying Jenna Jameson like a porno prop – it’s wrong, and it’s sexist. And I say as much in the post below.

So for Ann to suggest that I defended the “lowest-common-denominator advertising tactic…to put a big ol’ pair of disembodied boobs front and center,” is really quite unfair. The “Breast is Best” campaign – at least to the best of my knowledge – never actually displayed anyone’s boobs. If PETA has since sent out scantily clad models to greet Wal-Mart customers with a nice fresh glass of breast milk and copious amounts of cleavage, then that’s where I’d stop defending this particular campaign.

I know it’s shocking, but I can repudiate some of PETA’s campaigns while admiring others. I’m nuanced like that, yo.

Update, 10/16/08, later in the PM: I’d also like to point out that you can “use sex” to sell your message in a way that isn’t sexist. Sometimes doing so can even prove both sexy and subversive:

Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre

Question: Do you think Ms. Hanna is objectifying herself, selling out other women by selling her own body, by appearing in a bikini top with the word “SLUT” scrawled across her stomach?

Would you think the same if she’d written “GO VEG” on her bare belly instead?

If so, you need to check your speciesism at the door.

And, you know, this is why I rarely write about PETA; it’s just too emotionally draining. I self-identify as a vegan feminist atheist. Sure, I’m many other things; but these are the three descriptors that I’ll always turn to first. So it really pains me when either of the two feel at odds with one another, such as when feminists all but ignore animal issues until PETA releases their newest campaign, which may or may not be “ist.” That was really the impetus for the post below – not defending PETA per se, but defending animal rights as a feminist issue.

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Update, 10/16/08: Ann @ Feministing linked to this piece, but over at Smite Me!, where it was originally posted. In response, I clarified my position a bit, particularly the whole “sex sells” angle, which I believed she misinterpreted. Go check it out.

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Update, 9/27/08: Mary Martin @ Animal Person discusses Ben & Jerry’s obtuse response to the campaign, as well as The Today Show’s take on the kerfluffle. Hint: you may want to write them about their weak attempts at “journalism.” Because, like it or not, many Americans’ sole provider of mainstream media news may very well consist of inane newstainment programs such as The Today Show.

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Hey! Feminists! You want to know why PETA continues to engage in (possibly) sexist, racist, classist, sizeist and otherwise “offensive” and “controversial” campaigns?

I’ll give you a hint:

Google Search - PETA + Breast Milk

Google Search - PETA + Hormel + Pigs

In the top screenshot, a Google search for the terms PETA + “breast milk,” which returned 51,900 hits.

In the bottom screenshot, a Google search for the terms PETA + Hormel + pigs, which returned 11,500 hits.

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“Family Values”

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

This is how Anthony Pagor, Dale Meyer, Brandon Meyer and Justin Williams of Eldorado, Wisconsin like to spend their weekends:

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That’s right, torturing pigs. Fucking awesome, isn’t it, the way her eyes bulge out of her sockets and her tongue lolls out of her mouth as you squeeze every last bit of air out of her porcine lungs, isn’t it? What can be cooler than inflicting some unnecessary hurt on a “lower” life form, eh? Bet it makes y’all feel like quite the menz. Tomorrow you can haul her off to the slaughterhouse and come back with a freezer full of pork chops. You know, a MANLY MEAT!!!!! “Real food for real guys,” indeed.

(More below the fold…)

I’d rather be an elitist than a sadist.*

Monday, April 14th, 2008

One of my least favorite things about presidential elections – aside from the bitter partisanship, the misogyny and racism, the fear of additional conservative Supreme Court Justices, and the loss of my very personhood, of course – is all the dogdamn pandering to the redneck hunting lobby. (C’mon, like anyone took this seriously. Pffft!)

This cycle, it’s Hillary who’s selling out her humanity for the “sportsmen’s” murderer’s vote. Clinton’s comments of this morning, made in response to Obama’s comments of April 6, are what set me off, but in searching for the exact quote on teh internets, I found quite a few references to her Duck Hunter days. (See, I can condemn the misogyny directed at Hillary without blindly throwing her my vagina vote. Nay, nay, nay boiz!)

Here’s Clinton on February 18:

“I’ve hunted. My father taught me how to shoot,” she told a crowd at the Labor Temple in rural northern Wisconsin. “I remember standing in the cold water. It was so cold, you know, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men.

“And they all were playing a trick on me, and said, ‘We’re not going to shoot, you shoot,’ ’cause you know what they wanted to do. They wanted to embarrass me.

“So the pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck.”

Awww! Isn’t that special. I think I’ll vote for her, because she’s snuffed out at least one life in the name of sport. She’ll be perfect to take over the war in Iraq!

(More below the fold…)

So, Shane and I saw Transformers today…

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

…and the early battle scenes in Qatar? In poor taste, to say the least. Watching American soldiers and Middle Easterners being blown to smithereens isn’t so much entertaining as it is depressing.

Also depressing was this statement, part of Optimus Prime’s endless moralizing: “All sentient beings deserve freedom”. (Or perhaps it was more along the lines of “All sentient being deserve the right to live”…I forget now.) Really? All sentient beings? Because, like, “sentient” isn’t codeword for “human+”.

Sentience refers to utilization of sensory organs, the ability to feel or perceive subjectively, not necessarily including the faculty of self-awareness. The possession of sapience is not a necessity. The word sentient is often confused with the word sapient, which can connote knowledge, consciousness, or apperception.

Sadly, and despite the obvious implications of such an animal-friendly statement, Transformers was hardly a pro-AR movie. On the contrary; one of Optimus Prime’s cronies (you know, the “good” “guys”) wanted to kill a dog (which he* saw as evidence of a “rodent infestation”) for pissing on his foot. Uh, yeah, maybe y’all should modify that statement to “All sapient beings…” I hate to break it to the screenwriters, but dogs are sentient, you dumbasses.

The effects were pretty cool, though.

* Though Shane doth protest, the Transformers are all clearly uber-masculine entities. Androgynous they aint.

(Crossposted.)

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He is so getting laid tonight.

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

The husband spent the weekend in Vegas for his brother’s bachelor party. He sent me the following series of IM’s last night. Swoon. My hero.

(00:34:59) orzonal: hey
(00:34:59) kgarbato : Sorry, you missed me!
(00:35:47) orzonal: eh, brb, i need to get something to drink
(00:41:54) orzonal: eh, you’re prolly sleeping
(00:42:04) orzonal: had an interesting evening
(00:42:35) orzonal: josh and his friends decided to go to the playboy club..couldn’t pay me to go there, so I took off, and was taking a walk around the casino
(00:42:40) orzonal: outside
(00:43:29) orzonal: so I pass this car in a handicap spot, and I notice a young woman trying to, what looked like to me, feed a dog in a car
(00:43:56) orzonal: it looked a little fishy, but I thought maybe she was locked out or something and was trying to help her dog
(00:44:16) orzonal: turns out it wasn’t hers, but she’d been there waiting with the dog for like 45 mins
(00:44:34) orzonal: the bike security guys wouldn’t help her, so she was waiting with him
(00:44:53) orzonal: he had plenty of air, and I don’t think he could have died of heat..but it was in a casino parking lot?
(00:44:55) orzonal: !!
(00:45:17) orzonal: the woman, before I got there, went inside and got a bowl and put a water dish for him in the back seat
(00:45:20) orzonal: so..
(00:45:37) orzonal: i took a snapshot with my phone of the license plate and went to the concierge
(00:46:10) orzonal: they called security to go out there
(00:46:16) orzonal: i went back to the car
(00:46:22) orzonal: and waited to make sure security came
(00:46:23) orzonal: they did
(00:46:28) orzonal: with the old couple
(00:46:41) orzonal: the woman who had been waiting just went off of the old couple
(00:47:18) orzonal: at that point security asked the old couple to go home, and essentially kicked them out for the night

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2005-08-07 - MyDogIsCool-0008

Related: IDA’s My Dog Is Cool campaign

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Faux news ain’t got nothing on these guys.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Via United Poultry Concerns, I stumbled upon this article from (ahem) Lancaster Farming:

‘Real World’ Experience with New Poultry Depopulation Method

MANHEIM, Pa. — On April Fool’s Day, April 1, at 8:30 in the evening, University of Delaware Poultry Specialist George “Bud” Malone received a phone call. A turkey farm in West Virginia confirmed the H5N2 Avian Influenza (A.I.) strain on the farm. Could he please bring his equipment to foam the house for depopulation.

This was not an April Fool’s joke, but a chance for Malone and others to earn some “real world” experience with a new technology for depopulation — foaming a house.

At hand for depopulation were four houses — two with 10,000 birds, one with 3,000 birds and one with 2,000 birds. Through this experience, Malone said a lot of lessons have been learned for bringing this application to the real world.

Now, those familiar with bird flu and its consequences will pick up on the trigger words employed by author and poultry industry lackey Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade. Yet, those not schooled in the evils of factory farming and the threat of bird flu might not understand what exactly went down on that mystery West Virginian turkey farm. Charlene, much like Tony Snow, sure knows how to work the spin.

The words “killed”, “suffocated”, and “dead” aren’t used even once throughout the entire article; the closest Charlene comes to saying that 25,000 turkeys were murdered (due to shoddy industry practices, to boot) is the following impersonal statement: “With foam, consistency is critical to get the needed height to cover the birds and ensure death” – and this refers to the practice of foaming in a general sense, with no acknowledgment of the deaths of these 25,000 individuals.

Rather than killed and suffocated, they were “depopulated” and “foamed”. Factory farmers and their groupies sure have a knack for create euphemisms, don’t they? Seriously, who talks like this? If y’all aren’t ashamed of what you do, then call it what it is: mass murder, genocide (specicide?), or cruelty of convenience. Please. An outbreak of bird flu necessitated the eradication of 25,000 birds housed in four (four!) structures, and yet the words “kill” (or even “destroy”, which I detest for its impersonality) and “suffocate” appear nowhere in the story. Talk about disingenuous.

Of course, you can bet that Charlene and her ilk have damn well heard the maxim about slaughterhouses with glass walls

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The ACLU, On Notice

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

After doing some more digging re: the ACLU’s position on AETA, I’m now convinced enough that they screwed us to do the previously unthinkable: put them On Notice.
 

The ACLU, On Notice

 
And – if they don’t watch their sorry arses – they may soon be Dead To Me. Assuming I can find a Dead To Me generator.

Anyway, back to that Kinship Circle alert for a moment. Rumor #4 involves the ACLU’s opposition – or lack thereof – to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).

The whole section, verbatim:

4. QUESTION/RUMOR: The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) didn’t take a stand for free speech by opposing AETA.

4. CLARIFICATION

From D. Barber, Correspondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union:

The ACLU Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to the Animal Enterprise Act, S. 1926 and H.R. 4239 (3/6/2006) can be read at www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/25620leg20060306.html.

If you are not already an ACLU member, we encourage you to help support our aggressive work on the issues you care about. To join please visit www.aclu.org/contribute/contribute.cfm or call 1-888-567-ACLU. Once again, thank you for your interest in the ACLU.

Sincerely, D. Barber, Correspondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union

11/14/06, from Karen Dawn, news [at] dawnwatch.com:

Actually, Sensenbrenner lied about lack of opposition from the ACLU. Sigh. ACLU did not oppose the whole bill but did ask for changes: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/27356leg20061030.html.

After contacting Kinship Circle for clarification, I was told that they were simply providing information regarding the ACLU’s stance on AETA, and leaving it to KC readers to draw their own conclusions.

My conclusion: at best, the ACLU is being duplicitous in their replies to animal advocates who dare to criticize the ACLU’s actions on AETA. Worst-case scenario – they totally sold us out.

Let’s have a little looksee at the facts, shall we?

(More below the fold…)

For Shame!: AETA Passes the House

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, AETA passed the House yesterday afternoon; out of the House and the Senate, the only Congressperson who voted against it was Dennis Kucinich.

As described by Dr. Alex Hershaft (FARM’s President/Founder and co-founder of the Equal Justice Alliance), the voting process was nefarious, to say the least:

Today (11/13/06), a dozen of us from Equal Justice Alliance, FARM, League of Humane Voters, and Compassion Over Killing spent five hours visiting Congressional offices and urging them to vote against AETA, which had been scheduled over the weekend for a sudden vote at 6:30 pm. We were carrying suporting statements from the National Lawyers Guild, the New York City Bar Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. At each office, we were told that the mail and calls were running overwhelmingly in our favor.

Around 3pm, one of the legislative aides said that the bill was just being debated on the House floor. He gave me a pass, and I rushed to the Capitol across the street. I was astonished to see only about six House members present. House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner spoke in favor of AETA, quoting Jerry Vlasak’s and other’s past extreme statements. Dennis Kucinich joined in abhorring violence, but noted that the bill infringed on civil liberties of people conducting civil disobedience or undercover investigations. Sensenbrenner invoked lack of opposition from the ACLU. Then the chair called for a voice vote, and Kucinich cast the only no vote. It was all over in 15 minutes.

(More below the fold…)

#3796196

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I was looking for a pair of canine orphans the other day (BTW, our landlady has cleared us for parenthood – again – and we’re all set to meet a mother-daughter pair of rat terriers tomorrow afternoon…yay, doggies!) and came across this listing for Fluffy (also known as #3796196).

Fluffy’s foster home describes him as “the perfect pet”:

Notes: Fluffy is our near perfect dog for the person who wants just that. He is about 10 years old, however, looks identical to the time that he had just entered the world. His owner had surrendered him for no other reason than that he was tired of looking at him. Now I’ve heard just about every reason for surrendering a dog.

Anyway, Fluffy is nonshedding so there will not be any dog hair in the house. He never gets up on furniture unless someone actually puts him there. He never begs for food and never needs to go for a walk. Fluffy is totally nondemanding. He had never cost his former owner any money since his initial investment. He has never had any illnesses or injuries which necessitated visits to a veterinarian. Fluffy never barks, and he never dug any holes in the yard. He has never brought in any muddy foot prints, never vomited on the carpet and never made any mistakes in the house. Fluffy never left any doggy snot on the windows and he never chewed a single item. He never has a doggy odor and never needs grooming. Fluffy would never bite for any reason even in self defense, so he is the perfect pet for the person who is inclined to kick or beat an animal. We can guarantee that anyone who adopts Fluffy will have the same experience with him as his former owner.

As said, Fluffy is the near perfect dog. However, he is near perfect, not perfect. His faults are that he never greets his owner at the door to say he thinks his owner is the best person to ever walk the earth. He never looks at you when you talk and cocks his head like he is really interested in what you are saying. Fluffy doesn’t really have any sense of humor and has never done any cute things or doggy tricks. He doesn’t give a sense of warmth, unconditional love and loyalty that we get from our other shelter dogs that we have come to know. Hate to say it, but Fluffy acts pretty much like he is in a coma with his eyes open.

But, for some people, he is the perfect pet.

People never cease to amaze disgust me.

Sigh.

(If you don’t get it, click through to see Fluffy’s photo.)