PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an American organization for animal rights. It gives voice against four major issues regarding treatment of animals such as fur farming, using animals for entertainment, factory farming, and animal testing. PETA also fights against eating animals, killing of animals, keeping chained dogs, bullfighting, and cock fighting. Even though the organization’s intention is good to save the life of the animal, PETA is often considered as unrealistic and extremist. PETA states that creating the institution of breeding, as “pets” are selfish. According to Newkirk, who led PETA, the word “friends” should replace the term “pets” (Ingrid E. Newkirk, 2014). On the contrary, there are people who are not ready to accept the several arguments of The PETA organization, as they are not suitable for the day-to-day human life. Nearly 75 percent of the human prefers to have non-vegetarian food items, have pet animals, and interest in animal entertainments. People against PETA have an argument that the consumption of grain for animals is greater than for humans. PETA can fight against the act of torturing animals, but should not stop animals being used for food as they are also considered as food as animal helpful for human lives. It does not mean that everyone can kill or torture animals unintentionally, but it is to mean that PETA’s campaigns against animals being used for food, for researches, and for entertainment is wrong and they should be liberal in some activities that may be helpful for human living. This paper will have the argument against PETA for giving voice against animals being used for the above-said exceptional purpose, as they are essential for human lives.
Animals as food
PETA does not encourage animals being used for food. However, having animals as food starts from our first ancestors and continues until now. PETA promotes vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is the practice of neglecting the consumption of any kind of animal or fish meat and neglecting of consuming the products of animal slaughter. People adopt vegetarianism for many reasons. Many of them refuse to eat meat for moral principles as it includes killing animals, and nowadays many people are against such practices. In some countries, the religion restricts eating meat. For example, in India, the cow is considered as holy, and in the Muslim world, a pig is a sacred animal. However, Hindus eat meat and fish other than cow flesh, and Muslims too eat other non-vegetarian food items. Even those people have certain animals as holy are ready to eat flesh and encourages animals being used for food.
PETA Asia-Pacific regularly demonstrates against KFC outlets and fast food in order to promote the idea of better treatment of chickens. Many people motivate themselves for vegetarianism for health style of life. There are many vegetarian diets. An ovo-vegetarian diet is based on eggs, but does not include dairy products. A lacto-vegetarian diet is based on dairy products, but does not egg. An ovo-lacto vegetarian diet is based on both eggs and dairy products. A strict vegetarian diet excludes any products of animal slaughter. PETA organization promotes programs telling people the advantages of vegetarianism. They held different seminars. PETA propaganda healthy life style that is unbelievable without vegetarianism. It is acceptable that vegetarian food will provide healthy life and save animals, but human cannot always rely on vegetarian foods, as they may not be available in some regions in the world. In many countries such as Africa, Nepal, and India, people rear livestock for their domestic purposes and for egg, milk, and meat. PETA can better concentrate on saving several rare breads that are at risk rather than fighting unnecessarily against individuals’ personal wish of eating non-vegetarian foods, as meat cannot be replaced by anything else.
Animals for Transportation and Entertainment
Many countries depend mostly on animals for transportation. Arabic countries and mountainous region totally depend on animals such as camel, horse, and other animals that they can use for transportation. PETA claims to stop such practice. This idea of PETA is not acceptable because animals may be the only transport facility that many regions have besides other form of modern vehicles. In many places, people have the habit of using animals for their entertainment like bullfighting and cockfighting. It may be kind of torture to the bull or cock, but we have to look in the other side that these games are traditional aspects in certain places. In countries such as Spain, Philippines, Portugal, and southern France, bullfighting is a traditional spectacle. When it touches the traditional aspect, it should not be banned. Above all, in bullfighting and cockfighting, people use only trained animals and cocks. They fight just as we do wrestling. If bullfighting and cockfighting should be banned, then PETA have to give voice against wrestling matches.
One of the other programs of PETA is the movement against killing animals and taking their skins for manufacturing clothes. PETA is absolutely right in their argument against fur farming. Instead of using animal skin, we have other options to make clothes. This is because people start using clothes made of animal skin for fashion purpose and they consider it as a status to wear fur and other materials that are made out of animal skin. The most popular animals for taking skin or fur for clothes are foxes, rabbits, chinchillas, beavers, even cats and dogs, raccoons, seals, etc. PETA oppose such factories using animals for producing clothing. Such factories utilize fur, leather, wool, or silk. PETA also opposes the usage of bird’s down and silk from silkworms (Welch, 2000, p. 15).
Fur clothing is made of furry animals. From ancient times, people used fur as one of the materials to weave clothing. As clothes made out of fur are very expensive, it becomes a sign of status and luxury. Fur farming is a wonderful business as people prefer to wear luxurious clothes. PETA proposes to wear clothes from artificial fur. Today technologies are so advanced, that the artificial fur looks exactly like natural fur (Welch, 2000, p. 15). PETA supports the campaign “I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur.” Such demonstrations are held very often. Even celebrities take participation in them. Calendars, photos with nude celebrities are given out at such demonstrations. PETA Asia-Pacific was involved in several undercover investigations of fur industries in China.
Factory farming is acceptable to certain extent because they serve as mean to create several purposes that can really an essential thing for human life. PETA indulges in undercover investigations that are acceptable because they can analyze the activities of factories and industries where animals might have to face torture in the name of farming. In order to proof the acts of animal rights infringements, PETA organizes undercover researches and investigations. PETA’s members are sent to laboratories, factories and search for documentation proving the fact of cruel treatment of animals. The members of PETA can work in such factories or laboratories, for months searching for the needed information. PETA stated that by 2007, the members of the organization had conducted 75 investigations. PETA very often produces videos based on material collected during undercover researches. Of course, some undercover researches were covered and the members of PETA even were accused. There was a research in 2007, when the member of PETA was sent to Chinchilla Ranch in Michigan, and the owner covered him. Luckily the judge ruled in PETA's favor that undercover investigations can be legitimate. There is also a film produced in 1984 that covers the most notable investigations. The film lasts 26-minutes film PETA produced in 1984, Unnecessary Fuss. In that film, there is the video that of PETA’s member while he worked undercover in the University of Pennsylvania's head injury clinic. At that video, the laboratory assistants were laughing at baboons after they had inflicted brain damage on baboons with a hydraulic device intended to simulate whiplash. The documents found stated that those baboons had to hold the procedure of anesthesia. However, they awaken in the moment of the experiment. These cases ended in the suspension of funds from the university and the firing of the members of the experiment. Also, there was the case in 1990 when PETA’s supporters proved that in Carolina Biological were acts of cruel treatment of cats, videos and documents have proved that. The USDA made the inspection of the company after the video was provided by the PETA’s supports. The inspection had proved the facts of cruel treatment of cats, and the company was charged with seven violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Four years later, an administrative judge ruled that Carolina Biological had not violated the animal rights. These kind of attitude of the people should not be accepted, as they are simply torturing animals. However, factory farming of animals is necessary to some extent that is unavoidable and essential.
PETA is doing a wonderful job of saving animals from tortures. The only thing that is not acceptable is their idea of stopping animals being used for food and various essential purposes. PETA argues that we should care of animals as if taking care for the children. In this modern world, still there are cannibals who eat human flesh. PETA cannot restrict animals being used for food at any cost because the habit spreads all over and in action for many centuries. Many masters torture their pet animals in the name of training that can be considered and take action against those cruel masters. It would be better for animals to be killed and eaten rather than being tortured. Rapid advancement in researches finds solution for many problems. For such researches, human beings cannot be indulged, and animals are the only solution to do such experiments that can be very helpful for human lives. To support PETA, Allen has rightly says, “government and researchers could do more to limit needless suffering inflicted on animals” (Allen, 1994, p. 1). If PETA is ready to destroy human lives in the name of researches, then, scientist will stop using animals for their researches. Even though the organization intention is good to save the life of the animal, Undoubtedly, PETA is unrealistic and extremist.
Newkirk, I. (2009). The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Welch, A. (2000, July 17). Fur Flies in PETA's Fight for Animals. Insight on the News, 16, 15.
Allen, S. (1994, March 3). Animal testing reportedly falls Report says researchers can do more to curb suffering. The Boston Globe.