This column was written by Kathryn Jean Lopez.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals needs a shot of perspective. Straight up. No offense to Pamela Anderson, Sharon Osbourne, Alec Baldwin, John McEnroe, and other glitterati who seem desperate to hug PETA.
Normally my instinct is to ignore this "animal rights" organization, dismissing it as just silly. After all, this is the group that's sponsoring a "Make-Out Tour." As the PETA's website explains: "In a public display of passion that's bound to raise a few eyebrows and turn lots of heads, two PETA members -- a U.S. marine and Iraq War vet wearing only boxer shorts and a raven-haired beauty decked out in sexy lingerie -- will passionately make out in a bed in order to make the point that vegetarians are better lovers."
But PETA is not run by benign tree or dolphin huggers. During their "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign, for example, PETA contended that "like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps."
Thank you, PETA, for detestably belittling one of most horrific human tragedies in modern history.
I'm not going to deny that a cattle slaughterhouse isn't disgusting. But any reasonable person knows that equating the plight of a cow with the coordinated extermination of millions of human beings is reprehensible.
PETA claimed to apologize earlier this year for its Holocaust campaign, but really just justified their nonsense.
The Holocaust analogy disgrace is not the group's first offensive marketing ploy. As the Center for Consumer Freedom points out in a new study called, "Holy Cows: How PETA twists religion to push animal 'rights'", PETA is equal opportunity, especially when it comes down to preying on people who pray. It's no accident they target believers. The "Holy Cows" report documents one animal-rights leader noting at a convention for his types: "If we are not able to bring the churches, the synagogues and the mosques around to the animal rights view, we will never make large-scale progress for animal rights in the United States."
And how does one do that? Why, offend them all.
Jesus was a vegetarian, they insist (it's O.K. if you want to roll your eyes at that claim and move on). But what about when PETA issues a Last Supper parody card for Easter -- Christianity's greatest holy day -- declaring "Jesus was the Prince of Peace, not a bloody butcher," written in blood, depicting a figure so many believe to be divine beheading a lamb.
And the list goes on. PETA issues its own reads of the Koran. It toys with the Book of Mormon. Few beliefs are spared PETA's offensiveness.
And PETA's influence is not confined to obnoxious billboards, websites, and protests. As the "Holy Cows" notes: In 2003, PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk, faxed terrorist Yasser Arafat after Palestinian terrorists used explosive-strapped donkeys in a terrorist attack, asking Arafat to spare the donkeys. Not innocent Israeli civilians being targets, but the donkeys. "Leave the animals out of this conflict," she wrote. The Center for Consumer Freedom report notes: "When The Washington Post inquired why she didn't ask Arafat to persuade his people to stop blowing up Israeli citizens as well, she replied: 'It's not my business to inject myself into human wars.'"
I'm betting Newkirk knows whether Hitler, Tojo, or Idi Amin were kind to animals, too. As for me, I don't care. I know what he did to my fellow man.
More recently, as part of their "Animal Liberation Project," PETA again insists that animals are people, too. Wesley Smith, author of Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World, among other books, makes the point: "When ALP places a photograph of hanged blacks with that of a dead cow being hoisted by a rope for butchering, it is because animal liberationists actually believe that the lynching of African-Americans in the Jim Crow south and slaughtering cattle are equivalent evils."
Now take a quick visit to the London Zoo, which recently had an exhibit where men and women were on display. Eating, playing, copulating as any zoo animals might. It's a weird, disturbing, PETA-like statement to make: That man isn't any different from a zoo animal.
It's a statement, that, when mixed with PETA's tendency to compare some of the most appalling human tragedies in recent times to the front-end of a burger assembly line, is one we've got to watch.
It's a worldview that, when fully considered, holds devastating possibilities, excusing human depravities, relieving men (and women) of their moral culpability. It's not a place we want to be.
So I'm resigned to do more than roll my eyes when I next see PETA crucify a Jesus figure with a pig's head -- or whatever the next awful campaign they want to pull is.
During the Hurricane Katrina devastation down in New Orleans, Ron Magill of the Miami Metro Zoo was on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show talking about the plight of animals in such chaos. He said, "I said this after the hurricane at the zoo. I said, folks, you have to keep something in mind. There is no single animal life that's more important than a human life."
That's what you call perspective. Someone get PETA's head out of a donkey and remind them of that.
By Kathryn Jean Lopez. Reprinted with permission from National Review Online