In it’s increasingly bizarre need to inflict it’s animal rights morality on everybody, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk has criticized Jennifer Lawrence for scenes in Winter’s Bone and the Hunger Games, which show her hunting and eating animals.

The actress was dubbed “the coolest chick in Hollywood” by Rolling Stone, and in the magazine’s latest issue she recounts her on-screen squirrel-skinning scene in the 2010 movie “Winter’s Bone.”

“I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA. But screw PETA,” she told the magazine.

In response to the actress’s comment, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told Gothamist, “[Lawrence] is young and the plight of animals somehow hasn’t yet touched her heart. As Henry David Thoreau said, ‘The squirrel you kill in jest, dies in earnest.’ We are told that this squirrel was hit by a car, but when people kill animals, it is the animals who are ‘screwed,’ not PETA, and one day I hope she will try to make up for any pain she might have caused any animal who did nothing but try to eke out a humble existence in nature.”

Gag me with a spoon. Lawrence’s initial instincts were correct. Screw PETA. In these scenes and movies characters are grappling with survival in the face of starvation and poverty. PETA seems to think the appropriate ending for Katniss would have been a moral vegan death from starvation in district 12 rather than being a life-affirming, kickass hunter. And I guess Ree should have morally died from exposure in the Ozarks. The producers bought her a squirrel from a local hunter, and she realistically portrayed the skinning of an animal by hunters for food. I think what really upsets PETA about these portrayals is that they realistically show what humans will do to survive, that hunting and eating animals comes naturally to us, and there’s nothing wrong with hunting for food.

Let’s hope Lawrence doesn’t back down, for some reason I think she won’t:

The actress, who spent a month in Missouri with a rural family learning to shoot rifles and chop wood in preparation for “Winter’s Bone,” and was trained by four-time Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig for her role as Katniss in “The Hunger Games,” also told Rolling Stone, that when she is done with her next movie she is “thinking about buying a house. And a big dog. And a shotgun.”

I’m liking her more and more.

Comments

  1. #1 Gretchen
    April 12, 2012

    I agree with everything you’ve said wholeheartedly, except the naturalistic fallacy at the end of this:

    I think what really upsets PETA about these portrayals is that they realistically show what humans will do to survive, that hunting and eating animals comes naturally to us, and there’s nothing wrong with hunting for food.

    No, the portrayal doesn’t show whether it’s right or wrong– just that it happens. There might be all kinds of things wrong with hunting for food that the movie just doesn’t carefully explain or depict, and/or it might just be acceptable to hunt for food when you’re starving but not otherwise. Newkirk ignores both of these possibilities, of course, but we shouldn’t.

    For the record– I don’t believe it’s wrong to hunt for food, even if you’re not starving. But a depiction of a starving person hunting/eating meat in a movie makes no real comment on that.

  2. #2 twitter.com/tobascodagama
    April 12, 2012

    PETA seems to think the only thing young actresses are good for is posing naked on their posters, so I’m not surprised they’re unhappy with Jennifer Lawrence.

  3. #3 John
    April 12, 2012

    Yes, she is my new favorite actress now, next to Emily Browning and Kate Winslet, and Natalie Portman. I think she has a lot of common sense. Firstly, it’s a movie. Secondly, PETA is just making themselves look selfish wanting things their way, telling us what and what not to eat? We are mammals, we need meat. What makes cows any different from squirrels and deer? They both have flesh, and we are at the top of the food chain, so we should have the right to choose individually what we want to eat, as long as it makes sense.

  4. #4 Anonymous
    April 12, 2012

    You do not need to kill a living animal to “realistically show what humans will do to survive,” anymore than you need to kill a living soldier to “realistically show what soldiers will do to other soldiers in war.” More simply, it is unnecessary to kill a living creature when a prop will suffice. Movies are not real, but death is.

  5. #5 Alex
    April 12, 2012

    It is horrific that this scene was allowed. I think Jennifer Lawrence is a vicious cold hearted girl who should imagine herself being stripped of her skin and screaming in unthinkable pain. She is a young star who should be showiand empathy and compassion, not savage brutality.

  6. #6 Jenilson
    April 13, 2012

    Peta is not what you think it is.
    http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

  7. #7 Nick Johnson
    April 13, 2012

    PETA and Peeta, only one letter apart. Coincidence? I think not!

  8. #8 Composer99
    April 13, 2012

    Alex:

    You do realize, don’t you, that hunters engaged in traditional hunting methods kill the animals before skinning them, right? Right?

    And in light of that, you do realize that your comment is utterly nonsensical, given that Jennifer Lawrence was portraying more-or-less traditional hunting methods in Winter’s Bone.

    In addition, you do realize, don’t you, that fantasizing about someone “imagining herself being stripped of her skin and screaming in unthinkable pain” is, dare I suggest it, far more “vicious” and “cold-hearted” than anything Jennifer Lawrence undertook in her movies?

    (Quotation marks in the above paragraph are all meant to denote direct quotes of Alex’s post.)

  9. #9 Tom
    April 13, 2012

    Mark,
    Nice meeting you and chatting last night at the Science Club.

  10. #10 Gretchen
    April 13, 2012

    You do not need to kill a living animal to “realistically show what humans will do to survive,” anymore than you need to kill a living soldier to “realistically show what soldiers will do to other soldiers in war.” More simply, it is unnecessary to kill a living creature when a prop will suffice. Movies are not real, but death is.

    It would have to be a pretty advanced prop to look like an actual squirrel being skinned. Convincing guts, convincing blood, convincing fur…and we all know how very much fake fur doesn’t resemble the real thing. I’m skeptical that a prop would suffice. I’m incredulous at the comparison to killing a person in order to portray war. If you want to make an argument against killing squirrels for movies, best to leave that plank out. Makes you sound like some crazed PETA member.

  11. #11 simba
    April 14, 2012

    Killing one squirrel? Very wrong. Skinning one squirrel who died an accidental death? Horribly immoral.

    Killing a few thousand dogs and cats (and a few rabbits etc) because you apparently can’t be bothered to find them homes, while lying to the caring folks who turned them in? Well, that’s just a-okay. As long as you don’t dump the bodies.
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/24/documents-peta-kills-more-than-95-percent-of-pets-in-its-care/

    Welcome to the world of PETA-logic.

    So yeah, screw PETA. At least if you have compassion for animals, concern for animal welfare,or simply don’t like hypocrisy.

  12. #12 Wow
    April 26, 2012

    “There might be all kinds of things wrong with hunting for food that the movie just doesn’t carefully explain or depict”

    I.e. Long Pork.

    Or, as Scott Adams put in one of his books: should we give more leniency to murderers who eat their victims, since at least they’re using up fewer resources in their activities.

    You have it right, though. PETA’s problem will be (if you have to ascribe one viewpoint as MarkH does to the group), is that putting someone in the position of having to hunt animals MERELY FOR ENTERTAINMENT is sick.

    Especially for the “civilised” world where food is overabundant.

  13. #13 Wow
    April 26, 2012

    “PETA seems to think the only thing young actresses are good for is posing naked on their posters”

    Along with every other company or magazine.

    Why single out PETA?

  14. #14 cyborgsuzy
    April 29, 2012

    I usually just lurk on this blog, but I can’t help commenting whenever PETA or hunting comes up.

    I’m a girl, and I hunt big game, even though I don’t “need” to, and I think it’s a very morally sound decision, thank you very much. We all need to get our protein from somewhere, and I’d much rather from a wild elk (currently filling my chest freezer), or deer or squirrel, then from factory-farmed beef, chicken, or soy. MY protein comes from a source grown on steep forest land that couldn’t be farmed for much else except maybe goats. It’s population is healthy, it’s sustainable, and is harvested as humanely as possible with little impact to the environment. Vegans can’t say that about industrial-grown soy, and it certainly can’t be said for CAFO-grown meat.

    So forgive me if I get a little testy when people say hunting doesn’t belong in the “civilized” world. So yeah, screw PETA, and screw people who freak out that a real dead squirrel was skinned for a movie about… skinning squirrels.

  15. #15 Jim Thomerson
    May 5, 2012

    Is there a quick link to the squirrel skinning scene? I’d like to see if she does it right (the way I do, of course).