Ok now, hear me out for a second before you hit the back the button!
I fully understand that a lot of people have a very negative impression of PETA, and I get it. They are admittedly hard-core. So much so, in fact, that there are some pretty big divisions within the animal rights community itself when it comes to PETA. A lot of people blame them for the “crazed, angry vegan” stereotype, and to a certain extent, that’s valid. But here’s the thing: what they do is necessary.
Even though some of their rhetoric does come dangerously close to crossing the line and many people find their behavior alienating, I still think they play a very important role in the fight against animal abuse and exploitation.
PETA is of the opinion that all publicity is good publicity – and in this case, they’re right. They’re right because the major challenge of the animal welfare movement is awareness. The problem isn’t getting people to admit that abusing animals is wrong – people inherently know that it is – but rather, to get them to recognize it when it’s happening. No one does this better than PETA. They get your attention – even if they have to shock or disgust you to do it.
Of course, PETA’s controversial methods do sometimes limit their effectiveness. That’s where I think the work of more mainstream, less radical animal rights groups like the Humane Society and the ASPCA come into play. PETA starts the conversation, HSUS & Co. turn it into real change. Honestly, I think PETA has the tougher gig, but each kind of outreach is just as necessary and important as the other.
Even though outrageous antics is what they’re famous for, it certainly isn’t all PETA does. They’re an unstoppable force for the good of animals all over the world. Personally, I think the primary reason I love PETA so much is because their style is so different than my own. They’ll say and do things I just don’t have the guts for. Even if you disagree with their methods or their message, you’ve got to admire that kind of passion. I certainly do.
P.S. My check is on the way, Ingrid. (…you can stop sending me reminders now!)