Yesterday, I participated in a bloody spectacle in Times Square. I undressed, lay down in a giant meat tray, got drenched in stage-blood and then wrapped in plastic. Finally, a supermarket-style sticker was placed on my man-parts that read "FLESH: Billions of animals are abused and violently killed because you eat meat. Get Help. Visit www.goveg.com". There was a media frenzy, and a crowd of onlookers stood by, quietly absorbing the visuals. I kept hearing people murmur,"I've lost my appetite", or "Now what are we going to have for lunch?".
In addition to the New York Post video above, the event got coverage in New York Magazine, CNN, on Howard Stern, IFP, The Calgary Sun, Toronto Sun, contactmusic.com, and various other places, and made headline news in Norway, the Netherlands, and China.
It's no surprise that PETA takes criticism from both sides for their attention-grabbing tactics. Some argue that their spectacles compromise the seriousness of the message, while others complain about not having these ideas "pushed" on them (as if the visual and emotional assault the meat and dairy industry pays billions for each year isn't pushing a specific, and untrue, idea about milk and meat) - but you can't argue with a crowd of hundreds who mostly took pamphlets, pictures, and asked questions. It was an effective and stimulating demonstration.
The religious couple at the end of the video who have a "live and let live" philosophy about veganism miss the point; the animals are very much alive. What they are really asking is for activists to" live and let kill".
One critic, on the CNN website, wrote that she'll never take PETA seriously (or any animal activists) so long as they throw paint at people and wish cancer upon meat eaters.
I love this myth, that animal activists throw paint at people (aside from themselves). I don't think that's happened since 1980, yet everyone who questions animal activists' tactics seems to believe that they've had, or will have, paint thrown at them, or in this case, diseases "wished" upon them - and that justifies "not taking them seriously".
Let's reiterate: This CNN writer is unwilling to take the side of the (supposed) paint-throwers, because throwing paint negates what.... facts? Validity? But this same writer is willing to take the side of the throat slitters, the skull crushers, the limb grinders, the life-takers, the mother-child-bond-breakers, the mothers' milk thieves... because that industry does not throw paint at people. And instead of wishing cancer on people, they very physically give cancer to people. This activist-cancer-wisher, paint-thrower is a straw man!
Most animal advocates are animal advocates because they are compassionate. Most of the animal advocates I know are the same people who are the environmentalists and human rights activists. I can't imagine any one of my friends wishing cancer upon someone .
From the animals' perspective this issue really isn't very gray. Most of us don't need to eat them to thrive, and it hurts them, us, and the planet. What's so difficult?