Respectful Insolence

PETA outdoes itself in sheer insanity

File this under You Can’t Make Stuff Like This Up.

Just when I think People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) can’t get any more zany or ridiculous in its never-ending battle against meat eating, it comes up with a gem like sending a request to the jail where a cannibal killer is being held requesting a vegetarian diet for him:

Sheriff’s officials were astounded Thursday by a letter requesting the man accused of murdering his girlfriend and possibly participating in cannibalism be placed on a vegetarian diet to keep him from being “involved in any senseless killing” while incarcerated.

The letter was faxed to the Smith County Sheriff’s Jail from the national headquarters of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Thursday morning.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph received a copy of the letter before officials and notified Sheriff J.B. Smith.

“You have to be kidding me, right?” was his initial reaction to the news of the letter asking the jail to feed Christopher Lee McCuin, 25, a special vegetarian diet and no meat.

McCuin is jailed for the murder of 21-year-old Jana Shearer and authorities have said, in previous stories, that when McCuin was taken into custody there was an ear boiling in a pot of water on the stove and a plate on the kitchen table with what appeared to be human flesh and a fork.

“It is up to you to prevent McCuin from contributing to any more suffering and death by placing him on a healthy, humane vegetarian diet,” the letter by PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich reads.

Personally, I think this has to be some bizarre piece of performance art on par with PETA’s infamous “Holocaust on a plate” that shows that PETA has a tin ear when it comes to the utter tastelessness of many of their ad campaigns, just get a load of the justification:

In a phone interview with the Tyler Paper Thursday, Friedrich responded the letter was serious and was not intended to be funny nor take away from the brutal death suffered by Ms. Shearer.

“Like humans, animals are made of flesh, blood, and bone. They have the same five senses that we do, and they have the same capacity to experience suffering and fear. And all animals share the desire to live their lives free of pain and to avoid a violent death,” he said.

And:

When asked how eating a hamburger compared to cannibalism, Friedrich said all meat is from a corpse. He further stated he believes McCuin could become violent if he ate meat and could kill.

“Only in a culture where people routinely kill and eat living, feeling beings would anyone even think to kill and eat a human loved one,” he said.

Because, according to PETA apparently, eating meat makes you want to become a cannibal. Sure, on a strictly physical basis meat is meat, but somehow the vast majority of people who routinely eat meat manage not to become cannibal killers. This is just another example, along with PETA’s opposition to the use of animals in any way in medical research, that just goes to show how PETA makes no distinction at all between animal and human. Of course, that doesn’t stop PETA from killing animals itself in its own “no-kill” animal shelters (warning: graphic images in link).

Tasteless, stupid, and hypocritical, PETA routinely hits the trifecta of despicability.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    January 16, 2008

    I hate PETA. They are nothing but vicious plant killers.
    Why do they hate plants so much?

    To help combat these sadistic bullies, please send money to PEEP.(People for the Ethical Elimination of Plant-killers)

  2. #2 E. Littella
    January 16, 2008

    What’s all this I hear about hating PETA?

    I am a lifelong member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) and we support animal welfare. Last week, we had a barbecue/fund-raiser for endangered species. The spotted owl was especially good. I think you should be supporting us.

  3. #3 simian
    January 16, 2008

    From the study of animal biology and evolution, I know that animals do sense pain and experience fear. It’s the reason I don’t eat animals that have been forced to suffer throughout their lives. The fact that an animal is killed for food does not bother me, it’s the horrible conditions in which they are raised that does it. As a result, I have no problem with eating meat from animals killed by hunters, or free-range animals from family farms that were raised without artificial hormones and antibiotics and slaughtered humanely. This meat costs a lot more, but it is the only fair price to pay. I personally don’t eat it just because I’ve lost my taste for any meat except fish, but I have no problem with it. I do agree that PETA are a bunch of fucking idiots. Their leader is even opposed to humans keeping animals as pets. They euthanize hundreds of stray cats and dogs each year (especially pit bulls, which is a real tragedy). There are really good, solid arguments in favor of vegetarianism, reduced meat consumption, and against industrial meat production. PETA misses nearly all of them, and instead goes for the whack-job points. I’m not even sure whose side they’re on.

  4. #4 oddjob
    January 16, 2008

    He was boiling an ear?!? That must be just about the gristliest part of the body! I guess he’d already eaten the good parts…

  5. #5 Joe
    January 16, 2008

    Remember the novel, 1984? “All animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.”

    An episode of Penn & Teller’s “BullS***” disclosed that a senior officer in PETA has type-1 (juvenile) diabetes and is only alive today because of animal experimentation, and animal-derived insulin. She thinks the “animal sacrifice” was worth the result, in her case.

  6. #6 Dave
    January 16, 2008

    Actually, Joe, it was “Animal Farm” that had the line about all animals being equal, etc.

  7. #7 Joe
    January 16, 2008

    Dave: of course it was, isn’t that what I said …

    Dang!

  8. #8 Chad
    January 16, 2008

    “They have the same five senses we do…”

    Just goes to show that they really do only care about the cute animals. No one seems to care about all the gross, slimy animals with electrosensory organs.

  9. #9 Morgan
    January 16, 2008

    When asked how eating a hamburger compared to cannibalism, Friedrich said all meat is from a corpse.

    Given enough tranquilizer’s I’m sure it’d be possible to take a tasty portion of meat from a living animal. (Disclaimer: just read some slightly messed-up Neil Gaiman stories: insane tendencies should not be taken seriously.)

  10. #10 Calli Arcale
    January 16, 2008

    And given how messed up some of Neil Gaiman’s tamer stories can be, that must be pretty messed up indeed. :-P (I haven’t read many of his stories, but I like them.)

    Plenty of wild animals eat meat from living animals, and it is not uncommon for people in some parts of the world to eat various invertebrates while they are alive. PETA is probably aghast at “Man Versus Wild” and “Survivorman”; I’ve seen the hosts of both shows bite into live animals. Mainly invertebrates, but I seem to recall at least one live fish. Food is food….

    I think we have a responsibility to be as humane as is reasonable in our treatment of animals, especially those we raise for our consumption. But to think that avoiding meat will avoid all killing is ridiculous. It is simply not possible to survive without costing the lives of cute adorable animals. Even members of PETA will raze the homes of countless rodents to build their houses and raise vegetable crops.

    Random amusing note: The Smoking Gun occasionally prints the contract riders of various celebrities. Paul McCartney, a member of PETA and an avowed animal rights activist who eschews all animal products, insists specifically on Dove soap (or at least did at one time). Dove, like most luxury soaps, is made in part from rendered animal fat. Presumably he didn’t know that.

  11. #11 Blake Stacey
    January 16, 2008

    Which Neil Gaiman stories — “Feeders and Eaters”? “Babycakes”?

    Dove, like most luxury soaps, is made in part from rendered animal fat.

    Insert standard Tyler Durden reference here.

  12. #12 Matty Smith
    January 16, 2008

    I hate PETA as much as the next guy, but in this case they sound pretty on the mark. That offends you, that’s all.

  13. #13 Petri
    January 16, 2008

    Notice PETA’s lack of motivation to help this cause:

    Endangered Parasites (new window)

  14. #14 Dave Briggs
    January 16, 2008

    I hate PETA. They are nothing but vicious plant killers.
    Why do they hate plants so much?

    To help combat these sadistic bullies, please send money to PEEP.(People for the Ethical Elimination of Plant-killers)

    Posted by: J-Dog | January 16, 2008 1:20 PM

    ROFL! I can’t stop laughing! LOL! Down with plant killing! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  15. #15 Graculus
    January 16, 2008
  16. #16 GDwarf
    January 16, 2008

    I’ve grown to despise PETA. If they were just vegetarians that would be fine, I have no objection.

    Their picketing is annoying, but they have free speech, so I don’t begrudge them that.

    Their setting up no-kill animal shelters in which they kill animals? Well, maybe the idea didn’t work out the way they planned. (Though they really should re-name those.)

    Going around killing stray animals for no reason? That goes beyond hypocritical.

    And they still have the audacity to pull stunts like this…

  17. #17 Joe
    January 16, 2008

    “I have no problem with eating meat from animals killed by hunters, or free-range animals from family farms that were raised without artificial hormones and antibiotics and slaughtered humanely.”

    With all due respect, what do hormones and antibiotics have to do with animal cruelty? I guess I’ll answer that myself – they make the animals healthier. Sick and underweight animals sacrifice money for producers, so thats why these practices exist.

    If you are worried about cruelty, watch the outcome of a deer hunt. There is no hunter alive that has the ability to dispatch their target with the speed and efficiency (and thus less suffering) that slaughter houses have developed. Morbid, but true.

    PETA’s views and tactics are miserable, sad, and pathetic. This is another example of them. Unfortunately, they work because many people would rather be fed half-truths than actually do some work to garner real facts. Now, companies like Chipotle are using these exact same tactics to attack antibiotics and hormones. As soon as there is real scientific evidence (rather than failure to disprove) that either of those actually impacts consumers, we can consider doing something about it. Until then, a sick cow is not a happy cow.

  18. #18 Prometheus
    January 16, 2008

    Orac,

    I went to the website and found the 2006 report that PETA filed with the Virginia state veterinarian.

    Interesting.

    In 2006, they killed right at 30% of the animals they took in, a total of 2981. Assuming 10 lbs for each cat and 30 lbs (a probable underestimate) for each dog, it comes to nearly 50,000 lbs of animal carcasses.

    No wonder they need the walk-in freezer!

    I also noted their beginning and ending totals – 2 dogs “on hand” 1 Jan 2006, 17 dogs “on hand” 31 Dec 2006. No cats. They must not like cats very much.

    Another interesting statistic: of the 9637 animals that came into their “shelter”, 28 were strays and 3043 were “surrendered by owner”. For the grand majority – 6564 – the way they were received was “other”.

    What does “other” mean, in this context? Were they kidnapped from omnivorous households by the masked agents of PETA? Did they walk in and surrender themselves? What happened?

    We have a very nice no-kill (for real) shelter in my town that doesn’t get a fraction of the money (per animal) that PETA gets, yet they don’t have a need for a walk-in freezer to hold the bodies.

    PETA – the hypocrisy on your plate.

    Prometheus

  19. #19 Skwee
    January 16, 2008

    PETA is the reason I disguise my veganism as a combination of vegetarianism and food allergies. Now I know this sounds tinfoil-hatty, but sometimes it seems as though the meat industry funds them to make animal rights look bad. (I know this is not true, but that’s the idea you get from them.)

  20. #20 Freddy the Pig
    January 16, 2008

    Joe – I suggest you read either Micheal Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dillema” or Peter Singer’s “The Way we Eat”.
    In feedlots, cattle are given antibiotics continously (a good way to create antibiotic resistant bacteria). This is done in part because the animals are kept in overcrowded conditions and largely because the diet they are fed (corn in the US and other grain in Canada) makes them sick.

    Organic farmers and natural meat producers such as members of the Alberta Bison Association do give therapeutic antibiotics to animals that are actually sick (with a “wash out” time prior to slaughter). I avoid eating animals that are raised in confined feeding operations (which can included some “organic” farms). Bison also tastes a lot better than beef.

    I wonder what PETA thinks about doing experiments on animals to benifit other animals? I assume they would like to see dogs go extinct. If PETA wants to put an end to pet ownership, what do they do with the dogs in their shelters? They seem to think that it is better to kill a dog than have it be somebodies pet.

    If they really cared about ethical treatment of animals, they would go after Industrialized meat production rather than insisting on everyone becoming a Vegan. In addition as a previous poster pointed out, a pasture is a much better habitat for Owls, Hawks, Coyotes, Gophers etc than is a field of grain.

  21. #21 TheProbe
    January 16, 2008

    Last summer we went to the Live Earth concert in New Jersey. There were two mega jumbotrons on the sides of the stage.

    During one lull, a video promoting vegetarianism came on the jumbos. It was a camera panning the rear ends of various farm animals defecating. It was more gross than that, since they had colorized the output a glowing green.

    My son and wife were grossed out, as were many in the audience.

    I retaliated by having one of the lousy hamburgers that the Meadowlands is famous for. I was on a long line of protesters.

    These people do not know how to deliver a message.

  22. #22 DLC
    January 17, 2008

    These people are nuts.
    completely off the wall batty.

    “Only Humans kill and eat their own” ?
    You haven’t seen crocodiles ?
    or any other of a number of animals who devour their own young ? It’s not entirely common, but certainly not unknown.

  23. #23 Abstruse
    January 17, 2008

    “Remember the novel, 1984? “All animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.” — ”

    Obviously not as well as you do. I thought that came from “Animal Farm”.

    Or maybe it was another Eric Blair novel.

    NEway.

    As an ethical vegitarian I want to care about PETA, and I wish I held my own beliefs as strongly as they do. But they are obviously bat-poo crazy.

    As a person that loves and respects science as much as I love all forms of life I acknowledge the need for research work that involves animals. PETA is just so fringe.

    Should the Fundies and PETA work together to bring about the end of the ‘monopoly’ science has on education? Unholy alliance GO!

  24. #24 Joe
    January 17, 2008

    Abstruse wrote “”Remember the novel, 1984? “All animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.” — ”

    Obviously not as well as you do. I thought that came from “Animal Farm”.”

    Okay! I already acknowledged that error. Give me a break. Both books were written by the same guy- Dr. Seuss.

  25. #25 marion
    January 17, 2008

    As a result, I have no problem with eating meat from animals killed by hunters, or free-range animals from family farms that were raised without artificial hormones and antibiotics and slaughtered humanely.
    It always amuses me when someone who eats meat talks about the awfulness of hunters and hunting. In addition to ignoring Heinlein’s point that a person who eats meat is no morally superior to a person who kills an animal directly, these people are basically condoning a factory farming system in which animals have short, cramped, controlled lives. Now, I eat factory-farmed meat, so I’m not setting myself up as a moral arbiter, but if I had to choose between being an animal in the factory farming system and being one born in the wilderness who lives free until being shot by a hunter, I’d go with the latter. (I’d prefer to be a well-fed lioness, you understand, but…)

    Now I know this sounds tinfoil-hatty, but sometimes it seems as though the meat industry funds them to make animal rights look bad.
    I have long been convinced that the meat industry is secretly funneling funds to PETA and planting people in the organization who come up with these ridiculous approaches. It’s really the only crazy conspiracy theory in which I indulge. Seriously, though, I’m a dedicated omnivore and I could come up with much, MUCH better arguments for vegetarianism than these folks. (As for animal experimentation, if they really cared about that, they’d be funneling their donations into research into real alternatives.)

  26. #26 Calli Arcale
    January 17, 2008

    I’ve read stuff suggesting that even in crowded feedlots using corn/sorghum/etc the routine antibiotics are not really helpful for controlling infectious disease. Not when administered indiscriminately, anyway. It’s an utterly pointless intervention.

    Or, since we’re talking cattle at the moment, perhaps that should be “udderly pointless”. :-P

  27. #27 marcia
    January 17, 2008

    Jeebus,

    A little less emotion perhaps? Lots of emotional over-the-top posts. Why so much rage? OK. Some PETA reps aren’t perfect, but without them and other similar organizations, we would have about as much respect for animals as asians have. Take a little time and view some of the hidden videos at PETA’s web site. Really. Do it.

    Knowing that we’re omnivores is far different from having the understanding that the way we raise animals for food is inhumane. “Animals eat other animals.” Well, sure they do. But, do they raise them inhumanely and make the choice to kill them inhumanely?

    This was a “throw out the baby with the bathwater” post similar to trashing Schering Plough and all pharmas because Ezetimibe doesn’t work, or getting rid of your financial advisor because of Merrill’s subprime bet, etc.

    Lighten up.
    Eat a salad. And, if you don’t care about how we treat our fellow earthlings, maybe you’ll be healthier if you follow a Mediterranean-style diet and save Medicare while you’re at it.

  28. #28 Orac
    January 17, 2008

    PETA opposes the use of animals in medical research and supports terrorists like Jerry Vlasik and the Animal Liberation Front. Not only that, but it’s run by a bunch of hypocrites who piously criticize people for eating meat, harming animals, etc., and then kills animals in its “no-kill” shelter.

    I have little but contempt for PETA, which it richly deserves.

    I make a counter-suggestion: Read the now-defunct Animal Crackers blog and see.

  29. #29 HCN
    January 17, 2008

    marcia said ” but without them and other similar organizations, we would have about as much respect for animals as asians have. ”

    Dare I accuse you of a bit of racism?

    Then Orac replies “Not only that, but it’s run by a bunch of hypocrites who piously criticize people for eating meat, harming animals, etc., and then kills animals in its “no-kill” shelter.”

    Ah, that reminds me of something. I went to a talk by a plant geneticist, Toby Bradshaw, whose lab was torched by a bunch of fools who claimed to be the “Earth Liberation Front”. Written about here:
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/287588_uwarson05.html

    From that article “Bradshaw noted the horrible irony that these ecoterrorists — who are motivated by an intense desire to save the planet — caused so much damage to research designed to benefit the environment.

    “The fire consumed about a quarter of the population of a rare and endangered plant species found only near Wenatchee.

    “Researcher Sarah Reichard had planned to reintroduce the “showy stickseed” plants back into the environment. Attempts to reach her for comment Wednesday weren’t successful.”

    During the talk Bradshaw explained that his research involved only using traditional cross breeding techniques. He was apparently targeted because they thought he was doing some kind of genetic manipulations of the “Franken-kind”. But no.

    One of the slides he showed was a picture of the type of care driven by the ELF arson instigators: A BIG HUGE SUV!

    Talk about hypocrite.

    Oh, Dr. Bradshaw has decided to branch out into genetic manipulation. If he is going to be targeted for it, he might as well include it in his research.

  30. #30 tim gueguen
    January 18, 2008

    PETA often behaves like you’d expect an animal rights group on a sitcom or in a TV comedy sketch to behave.

  31. #31 Richard Eis
    January 18, 2008

    Actually, I thought that the Holocaust on a plate was interesting, if over the top. It’s good to get a different point of view on something that we really don’t think about too hard. However the letter…that just makes no sense. I can kinda see what they are trying to do, but it’s such a pathetic attempt it has backfired and just made them look even more kooky.

  32. #32 marcia
    January 18, 2008

    Sorry. Just have a difference of opinion on this one. I don’t think one has to use the word “insanity” over a letter written to a prison. Also I do not preceive their reason for existing as merely a “never ending battle against meat-eating.” These highly charged words are no different from highly charged words occasionally used by PETA, too.

    When I do a google news search on PETA, I see many individuals doing good work, the work others who love animals will not do because they choose to look the other way. I applaud them for “waking up” the sleeping masses.

    IMO, The insignificance of the news about the letter did not warrant the type of response it received. Attack them for other reasons, but for this? Hardly worth the effort.

  33. #33 Joe
    January 18, 2008

    Marcia wrote “I don’t think one has to use the word “insanity” over a letter written to a prison.”

    Okay, what word would you suggest?

    You are correct, PETA is not merely against meat-eating; they oppose anything that does not accord with their view of animal welfare. That includes opposition to animal-lovers who provide good homes to pets.

    Marcia wrote “IMO, The insignificance of the news about the letter did not warrant the type of response it received.”

    If the letter were from some crackpot acting alone, it would not deserve attention. However, this was an official missive from a national organization. It shows them to be no more rational, as a group, than any isolated crackpot.

    Marcia wrote “Attack them for other reasons …”

    For example …?

  34. #34 Calli Arcale
    January 18, 2008

    “Knowing that we’re omnivores is far different from having the understanding that the way we raise animals for food is inhumane. “Animals eat other animals.” Well, sure they do. But, do they raise them inhumanely and make the choice to kill them inhumanely?”

    I think the only species I’ve heard of practicing animal husbandry other than humans is ants. They’re probably not sentient, and thus probably can’t be accused of choosing to do so inhumanely. However, a lot of the things ants do are pretty disturbing if you think about it.

    As far as animals killing their food inhumanely — oh, yeah. Very few predators take prey in a fashion which would meet basic standards in the meatpacking industry. (The jaguar may be a notable exception, as it crushes the prey animal’s skull in its jaws.) Most aren’t even very picky about whether or not the animal is dead as long as it’s not thrashing about too much. Furthermore, some predators (notably cats) seem fascinated with inflicting pain and terror on particularly small prey, and will sometimes relieve boredom by playing with small rodents. Mink have been known to kill for no apparent reason, except possibly entertainment.

    So animals can be quite astonishingly inhumane. A lot of animal rights supporters seem to be unaware of this, and portray animals as peaceful creatures, living in harmony with their environment. It’s part of an artificial dichotomy between man and beast. Really, we’re all animals. And we will kill animals, even if we avoid all animal products. The challenge to us to try to do so as gently as possible. It is possible to rear animals humanely and then dispatch them humanely when the time comes.

    “Eat a salad. And, if you don’t care about how we treat our fellow earthlings, maybe you’ll be healthier if you follow a Mediterranean-style diet and save Medicare while you’re at it.”

    I like Mediterranean cuisine. I’m not sure, though, why it’s gotten this reputation as an almost vegetarian diet. Sure, it’s got a lot of veggies in it, but animal protein is still important to it. Seafood, sheep, cow, chicken, pig, goat…. Good stuff. Good for you, like you say, and tasty. It won’t cure all your ills, of course. Nothing will. But it’s delicious, and worth it for that alone. ;-)

  35. #35 grendelkhan
    January 20, 2008

    Calli Arcale mentioned this in passing, but I wanted to emphasize it. Cats are astonishingly cruel; they kill animals which they have no intention of eating, just because they enjoy hunting and killing things. (They also eat their dead young, but that’s for purely pragmatic reasons.) If they were bigger, they’d eat people. Non-sentient animals aren’t morally superior to us–except perhaps in the way that people with severe brain malformations are morally superior, as they’re incapable of evil by definition.

    PETA is a confusing beast. On the one hand, the tin-eared ad campaigns that assume their audience doesn’t see any moral difference between non-sentient animals and people, or the assertion that even if you could cure cancer by painlessly killing one rat, it wouldn’t be worth it, appear to be the result of a group that really does drink their own Kool-Aid, and can’t understand that a majority of their audience thinks their views are batshit insane. But on the other hand, the freezer full of pet corpses is the sort of thing created by a band of cynical manipulators taking advantage of an audience of wide-eyed rubes. It’s surely a pickle.

  36. #36 marcia
    January 26, 2008

    “Batshit insane?”

    I say, thank goodness for some of the work performed by the “batshit insane.”

    “http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/22796930#22796930″

  37. #37 Joe
    January 26, 2008

    Marcia,

    One does not need to be batshit insane to do good work. Good works are done by rational people, too; and those are the people I admire.

  38. #38 Caledonian
    January 26, 2008

    Cats are astonishingly cruel; they kill animals which they have no intention of eating, just because they enjoy hunting and killing things.

    Most cats do not recognize prey as something to eat. Unless they are very hungry, or were taught that dead animals are food by their mothers, cats will kill out of instinct but then not know how to progress.

    All predators enjoy hunting and killing things. For essentially the same reason we enjoy breathing.