Know your enemy.

That's what they say, though looking through the recent write-ups about Peta I found it hard to ignore the comparative references to them being 'totalitarian', 'fascists' and even 'Nazi'. I thought that was a bit strong. Until I started to read up about them that is. You'll have to make your own minds up about them, but in just a few hops around the net I found quite a lot to concern me.

I am of course referring to the American organisation who call themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are over here on their latest crusade. They are buying up all kinds of advertising and public relations opportunities in their quest to spread the 'word'. From what I can tell, the 'word' being, it would appear, their name. No more and no less.

If that sounds to you a little Biblical then you are excused. This organisation takes the stance of a fundamentalist quasi-religious one and their latest campaign appears to me to be a Jihad against common sense and reason. As their very name implies, either you support them or you are 'against' animals. Or, if you read it as PeTA (PEETEEAY) you'll be having subliminal thoughts about the Parent Teachers Association and all the authority that implies. Clever use of a name eh? Oh, but we haven't even started yet.

Scan the content of their web site. They want, like the Nazis did, to change our very way of life in Britain and will accept no compromise. If they have their way, British traditions and institutions will be ground beneath the jack-booted heels of the PETA machine. Here's a couple off the top of my head. Fancy a nice cup of tea? Tough. Milk is forbidden, therefor the typically British cup o' chai is off limits. Using animal products is cruel, see? Oh well, let's take the dog for a walk then. Sorry. No pets. That's cruel manipulation of animals, see? I must remember to tell my dog Max about that because when I come through the front door it's like an opening scene from the Flintstones! But these examples are just a small sample of what PETA have to offer us in the way of prohibitions and all are presented cloaked behind a veil of respectable and plausible 'good causes'.

We all know the USA is a breeding ground for politically correct causes, and we all know the kind of nonsense that strict application to those attitudes has produced. Whilst kids in nursery sang Baa baa coloured sheep, Noddy ended up with Silverbeard, blackboards became chalkboards, and manhole covers became, er, personhole covers probably?! Not that all the changes were wrong or undesirable - but it seemed to me that it all went a bit over the top sometimes. Didn't it? Well, that's what I call the Peta effect.

It's not what Peta say out loud that worries me. It's what they don't say. The stuff that's hidden in the sub-text and the small print. It's how the Moonies used to operate; using well-meaning people as camouflage, as background to a hidden, rather more sinister overall picture. Telling, what seem to me, to be half-truths especially. That kind of stuff. And yes, it's reminiscent of Hitler's pre WW2 political campaigns. That’s how, IMHO, you end up with situations like having poor TV presenters on Pet Rescue suddenly discovering that they are being used as an unknowing mouth-piece for a group which actually wants to ban pet ownership completely.

It's probably the PETA propaganda machine which draws me to consider the Nazi comparison the most, and propaganda comes in many guises. Persuade a friend who studied Design to glance at their web site and to 'deconstruct' it. Your friend will be impressed. Not at the content itself, but at the manner in which that content is presented. Talk about spin. From the way it appears to me, these people use every trick in the book, utilising both semiotic advertising tricks and psychological manipulation techniques to present themselves as an absolute authority, insinuating that they are above the law, as holding the moral high ground. Yet they have the temerity to accuse dog-owners, for instance, as being manipulative.

"The bottom line is that people don't have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind," - Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA

I got that quote from a website called, er, pissonppeta.com - there are loads of similar quotes there. Another anti-peta site I found (I didn't have to look far, there are a lot of them) was petasucks.cc and there I found links to a whole raft of stupidity that has been floated by these zealots over the past 20 years. Not that Peta have achieved much it seems, or anything(?), as regards their declared aims, but business has been brisk. Persuading the intellectual might of the likes of Silicon Valley - well, the likes of Pamela Anderson anyway, (hey, it's close!) - to part with support and or huge annual donations was a great achievement. I wish I could get away with it, Queens Award for Industry and all that. And personally, I don't believe those who claim that the corporations who donate to PETA's funds don't get visited by the militant Animal Liberation Front and co. and so are spared having to spend 10 times more on security etc. I mean, that would be a protection racket wouldn't it? But perhaps I'm a bit gullible. Or not sceptical enough. Or maybe just paranoid?

What else? Oh. And they are not scared of telling the odd porky or three to raise their profile, or so it seems to me. A week or so ago I logged onto their website to be told that there was a lot of evidence to support the idea that Jesus was a vegan. Oh yeah? Sure. I can believe that - I guess they were vegan loaves and fishes then?

On national British TV, Peta's Dawn Carr was asked if Peta was in favour of violence. She answered with a tone of outrage "No! Of course not". Hmm. Now this subject seems to be handled with a fair degree of high-handed ambiguity on the Peta website. In virtually the same breath, on their FAQ, they deny any involvement with illegal actions, then, and I found this more than a bit sinister, ramble on about how the French Resistance was an example of people "breaking the law in order to answer to a higher morality".
So… do they think we are the Nazis then? And they are the Partisans? And that violence is okay as long as one assumes the moral high ground? Did I read that right!? If so it is very worrying. It's a similar argument to that used by violent terrorists all over the globe.
Look. Don't take my word for it, check it out yourself - but please be sure to visit the other sites I mentioned too.

There is no doubt that Peta has won a lot in the way of both numerical and financial support in the USA, but they don't actually seem to have had a lot of impact on anything, other than their donators cheque-books, or by creating a lot of wealthy bill-board erectors. I'm told there are more anglers in the USA today than 20 years ago. The power of advertising, hmm?

As you probably know by now, Peta's latest stunt is to display posters of a hooked dog with the caption "You wouldn't do this to a dog so why do it to a fish?" and, having spent nearly 20 years in futile battle with their own countrymen, and, prior to invading Poland(?), these zealots have now come to Gt. Britain to spread the word of 'Dog'.

So. Are they merely dyslexic or what? Or do they, as Sharon and Tracy in the local transport café think, have a valid point? Is angling cruel? Do fish feel pain?

Well (are you listening Shazza and Trace?) the experts tell me that's a stupid question really, because it all rests far too heavily on whether fish can actually 'feel' anything anyway; at least, in the same manner as we humans do, in an emotional manner. This, my learned friends tell me, is called an anthropomorphic argument - a sort of verbal Escher staircase. At first glance it seems straightforward enough but when you look deeper, it cannot happen. Only humans can experience human emotions such as pleasure, or the other end of the same scale, pain. When it come to emotions, your average sardine is, sorry, as cold as a fish.

If you suggest to someone in the pub that fish express pleasure in some manner (pick something), it will probably get you labelled an eccentric at best or earn you a stern word and "no more drinks" from the barman at worst. Yet substitute the word 'pleasure' for 'pain' and you're in with a shout on a $20 million industry. However you won't be able to reason like this with the Petaphiles though, because they say they believe that the life of a sardine or a cockroach has the same value as that of a human. Even insects and microbes are classed as 'sentient' animals by Peta.

Of course this does mean that every breath that anyone takes is killing loads of 'aware animals'. This is obviously the point where a reasoning person detects a flaw in the argument, but Peta attempts to evade this by stating that "some things are unavoidable".

Follow the Peta train of thought here. What they are actually saying is that these microscopic 'creatures' don't matter, because it IS avoidable! If you carry through the Peta 'logic' then we would all have to commit suicide to avoid killing all those tiny creatures, you see. That would probably be bad for business though. It's far more convenient to use the "unavoidable" line. This enables business to continue as usual whilst not admitting that there is a line in the sand that Peta are not prepared to cross; instead of accepting that their line is the same as our line, it's just drawn somewhat further back down the biological chain.

Political correctness gone bonkers or what? Try this:

"When it comes to feelings, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy" and "We feel that animals have the same rights as retarded children." - Alex Pacheco, Director, PeTA, New York Times

Well. I wonder if there might be a rat or two at the helm of PETA? Because as a pro-animal organisation it sure does show every appearance to me that it's managed by a retarded child. Mind you, if it's a business, then it's got a very high-winning formula indeed. We are told that millions and millions of dollars comes into 'non-profit making' Peta every year. Tax free. That's a lot of money. I wonder if we can get them to part with some of it? What do you think?

Hey, Peta! As you purport to be a pro-animal organisation, how about spending some of it on a good animal cause which is universally accepted? As a token gesture? Say 5million bucks? You can make a cheque out to the WWF or the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Or you could help some human animals? Perhaps build a hospital or two in Africa? Or do any-bloody-thing-at-all, but PLEASE spend it on something worthwhile instead of advertising billboards, because I cannot think of a bigger waste of a charitable donation. (Yeah, I know you're not a charity but a lot of people think you are). Unless you have shares in the billboard companies? Anyway, if you don't do something soon, you might be in danger of being accused of being nothing but a business, obsessed with your own self-promotion and with trouble-making and rabble-rousing as your only trade-goods.

And who could blame those that accuse you of such? You are making a r-a-t-h-e-r good living out of this aren't you? And perhaps, like you accuse anglers of 'murdering' fish, you might even be accused of 'murder' yourselves, and by your own supporters. I'm glad I don't have the responsibility of handling an annual $20million fund. A sum like that could save a lot of human lives, never mind the animal ones. I think that thoughtless handling of a huge sum like that is waving a loaded gun around. I also think that spending huge percentages of one's income buying advertising space might be construed as fund mismanagement by some people I could name. Well, quite a lot of people actually. In fact, just about everyone I know. Or have ever met. But hey, what do I know? It's just my personal observations after all, and I could be wrong. (Cough cough).

Until we can converse with fish and ask them, we shall never know what fish experience, and that is never going to happen because fish are too far down the biological ladder to give us any answers anyway. And besides, it wouldn't matter a damn. It would be akin to asking a cucumber if it felt pain when we chop it up. I mean, as the hippies once said, "vegetables are people too, man".

Fish are a totally inferior life-form to our own and, as such, are our natural food, as they are each others food.

From our own scientific studies we can deduce that they are not too bright. Most people would agree that fish are not exactly aware of much of what goes on in their own world, let alone ours. They rely on instinct. So much for the 'sentient creatures' argument. Not to get too technical about it, fish lack the neuro-bits which would make us (if hooked) go "Ow!" - yet they retain the instinctive survival qualities to ensure they try as hard as possible to avoid capture. So they fight when they're hooked. And that's it.

Of course it helps if we can produce solid scientific facts to back this up, such as Dr Rose of University of Wyoming supplied. He did. To the hilt. But that don't really help much in the face of fundamental extremism, and/or $20 million to buy alternate viewpoints, does it?

For every expert witness either side supplies, I'm sure a counter expert can also be found. All we really have left to work with is common-sense, but in the modern world even this has to be sacrificed sometimes in favour of time constraints. Which IMHO is probably how Peta have managed to accrue such a following. In our time-poor society, people don't have to be gullible, they will donate to almost anyone who appears to be representing a worthwhile organisation, and without thoroughly checking them out first. I might have even donated to Peta myself in the past, if someone waved a tin under my nose while I was busy.

Now, I tend to be sceptical of anything with a religious flavour emanating from the USA, as all too often the search for the Holy Dollar seems to be at the bottom of things, and this 'moral high ground' that Peta adopts really puts my teeth on edge. I almost lost my first wife to a cult religion in the 70s, so I think I developed a bit of a 'nose' for this subject. And, in my opinion, right or wrong, Peta stinks.

If any one of you reading this thinks that these people are a pro-animal group, think again. Animal rights is not animal welfare. Animal 'rights' has no answers to the damage and species destruction that would occur by following their doctrine. It is politically correct nonsense, pure and simple.

Sure, Peta claim to be pro-animal, yet they appear to me to be concerned only with themselves. As far as I can see, the bulk of the millions of pounds they take in every year seems to go on staff wages, expenses and media campaigns. The anti-peta websites informed me Peta spend less than .01% of their income on animals, and that they spend nothing on animal habitat. Nothing! The figures were lifted from income tax declarations apparently, according to one anti-peta site. Now, if these figures are true, that don't sound much like the funds distribution of a pro-animal group to me. It sounds more like an advertising company budget. The 'pro-animal' label seems to be just a vehicle for self-promotion.

Dawn Carr is Peta's missionary over here spouting the doctrine.
"Fish are not cute and cuddly but they feel just as much pain as dogs and cats."
Hmm. It all seems a bit hypocritical though, coming from an organisation "which euthanized 1,325 of the 2,103 animals it took in during 1999". Of course anyone can just use words but these figures are "according to statistics kept by state regulators". Or so say the people at www.pissonpeta.com

In case you are wondering, 'euthanized' is another politically correct term for 'killed'. It sounds like it fits in with all those other awful words, like 'ethnic cleansing' 'racial purity' and other horrors we associate with Nazis.

What really bugs me is the anti-McDonalds campaigns Peta have run in the past; activities which have led to their supporters acquiring another name, "Petaphiles". Handing out 'un-happy meals' with built-in horror 'toys' to traumatise young kids into shunning meat was one reason the name evolved. The Hitler youth used similar tactics, catch 'em young etc, but Hitler never had the word 'Ethical' in the name of his organisation, so I guess the Nazi comparison is wrong after all. So after all that, I conclude that Peta are not Nazis. I'm not really sure what they are, I don't think they even know themselves.

Perhaps they're a business? Nah. Don’t think so
Then, a religion?
Hmm. Worshipping lower beings rather than a higher one? That has appeal, but it's a bit Dennis Wheatley isn't it?
Nah! I just think the people at the top are bonkers and all the rest of 'em have never really thought it all through.

Still, I guess it's only fair to give Peta the last word, this is Britain after all. We have a reputation to live up to and we are nothing if not fair. So. This one is credited as a quote from Ingrid Newkirk, the president of Peta in an article once published in The Washington Post.

"Six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughter houses."

Bonkers!

And yes. I lied about them having the last word. Sorry!



(Source material gathered from www.peta.com from www.pissonpeta.com from www.petasucks.cc and linked articles) If you are really interested in animal welfare you could do worse than go here www.naiaonline.org