PETA, an animal-rights organization which is alternatively known as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, does more harm than good in regards to the animal-rights movement. The group is thought of by many to be made up of insane people, and, though there are members of PETA that are not crazy, the “all members of PETA are crazy” rumor is not one without reason. Some of the more outspoken members of the group have done things to contribute to the negative feelings about the group, such as throwing buckets of red paint on models wearing fur coats and snakeskin boots, protesting dissection in schools and claiming that all science laboratories that use animals for testing actually torture and sadistically abuse the animals they use for testing. PETA even claims that labs that make dog food abuse the animals that get to eat their food
When using the examples listed in the previous paragraph, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that PETA has even more aggressive and nonsensical ways of “helping” the animal-rights movement. A few years ago, at an elementary school in Mississippi, a few members of PETA showed up just after school hours, right when children were walking out, despite being denied permission to come to the school. The group members (one of which was dressed in a chicken suit), handed out pamphlets and self-made playing cards that detailed why eating chicken was bad. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with advocating healthy eating or how eating too much chicken can be bad for a person’s health, these particular group members took trying to help way too far. The playing cards the group members handed out to the elementary school students had graphic pictures of tortured chickens on them. One teacher overheard the man who was wearing the chicken suit tell a child that if she ate too much chicken her “body would explode and rot.”
Chicken is not the only kind of meat that PETA is against eating. According to an article found on PETA’s website, PETA plans to erect a billboard stating that “Feeding Kids Meat is Child Abuse.” Another article, as well as several blogs talks about milk, and how the centuries-old drink can cause stroke, heart attack and osteoporosis. In Thanksgiving spirit, there is an article that details “10 Reasons Not to Eat Turkey.” Yet another example of the groups unstable nature would be the time a few PETA members (calling themselves the Band of Mercy”, broke into a lab that was researching cats and stole 28 of the animals. The Band of Mercy cut through several padlocks and chain fences in order to get the cats, and the pictures posted by a member of that group moments afterward showed healthy, slightly shaken cats, not the abused creatures that the member described. To make matters worse, 11 of the cats were infected with the parasite toxoplasmosis, which can cause birth defects in unborn babies. On the bright side, at least PETA isn’t aiming for children anymore….right?
Wrong. Created in Japan in 1995, the popular children’s game and television series Pokemon has recently come under fire from the animal-rights organization. PETA has created a hacked version of the game Pokemon: Black and White, instead calling it Pokemon: Black and Blue. There are many Pokemon hacks all over the internet, most notably at vizzed.com, but the difference in PETA’s hack and other hacks is very clear. In most hacks, the game starts off much like the original: the player gets one starter Pokemon and starts on their journey to beat all the gyms and conquer the Elite Four. In Pokemon: Black and Blue, the player starts off as Ash’s beaten and bruised Pikachu, who goes on an epic journey to, apparently, stop the onslaught of Pokemon abuse and torture that is given by trainers as punishment, and sometimes only for fun. Another difference in the normal games and PETA’s game is the scenery. In regular Pokemon games, the scenery is pretty forests, lakes, and grass. In PETA’s game, the trees are blood-covered, the lakes are polluted, and there are chain-link fences that are spiked on top. Later in PETA’s game, the player meets up with Ash, who is carrying a whip and is covered in blood. In the battle Pikachu has with Ash, Pikachu can use moves such as “protest” and “friendly hug.” Ash yells at Pikachu to get back in the poke ball, because Pikachu is his and not as smart as Ash himself is. There is so much more to be told about this game, but it is all basically the same message: Pokemon are not people, and they are not as smart as humans, that the feelings of Pokemon are inferior and less meaningful than those of humans, and that it is okay to abuse them, because Pokemon aren’t human. What PETA is trying to do with this game is talk about abuse and neglect, but the only thing they succeed at is making the player think no one at the animal-rights group has ever played, read or watched Pokemon. In the entire Pokemon series, which has been running since 1995, the only time Pikachu was inside a poke ball was the very first episode. No trainer, in any episode, ever abuses a Pokemon; even the token “evil team”, of the Team Rocket, treats their Pokemon with love, care and affection. Adding to the ludicrousness the whole “treat Pokemon as people” spiel that PETA is preaching is the fact that Pokemon is a fictional children’s series. The creatures, characters and situations are not real, and yet PETA is petitioning against the imaginary abuse that apparently happens all the time in the Pokemon world.
In the end, it seems that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals goal is for all animals to be treated like humans, which means giving animals the same rights and choices that people have. That means letting animals get jobs, buy homes, pay rent, learn English, send their young to school, buy guns, and basically live like humans do. Animals living like humans would not be problem-if animals were capable of behaving like humans. Animals are not humans, and so they cannot act like people do. Humans act based on thought and complex rationalizing, while animals act on instinct. When a burglar robs a house with a dog in it, the dog doesn’t think “hide, call 911, get a gun”, the dog just thinks “bite intruder bite!” Animals act on their instinct, not any kind of semi-complex thought. PETA fails to see that, and, in trying to get animals be seen as human, end up hurting the entire animal-rights movement. Animals do have feelings, and they are smart, but until PETA sees that animals are not human, and cannot be treated as though they are, the groups’ aggressive tactics will hurt the animal-rights movement rather than helping it.