Doing the Right Thing The Wrong Way

If you don’t care about animals, you are considered a monster. Cruelty towards animals is fast becoming one of the worlds biggest issues with many fighting for the cause, however, animal activist group PETA have a very unique way of displaying their beliefs. Their ideas and tactics are often considered extreme to the point where many believe they are not doing much good at all.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights NGO in the world. It works through animal rescue, legislation, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns to protect all animals from harm. In July 2010, long time supporter of animal rights, Pamela Anderson released her newest PETA advertisement, encouraging vegetarianism.

The image portrays the nearly naked blonde, posing seductively in a bikini. Her body is marked mimicking a butcher’s diagram with words such as “breast”, “rump”, and “round”. “ALL ANIMALS HAVE THE SAME PARTS – HAVE A HEART GO VEGETARIAN” is the caption for the advertisement.

Nudity isn’t a new territory for Anderson who is well known for her days as a Playboy Bunny. Nor is this a crazy step for PETA, known for pushing the boundaries in advertisement and repeatedly using nudity, to encourage the idea of being ‘natural’. The advertisement is banned in Canada for being “sexist” and treating the actress “like meat”. Standing out is one thing, but being controversial is another. Companies like PETA often blur the two ideas, creating images that question morals and as a result do more damage than help to their initial cause.

In 2013, Renata Bongiorno from the University of Queensland conducted a study to determine whether sexualised images of women reduce support for ethical campaigns. A group of Australian male undergraduates, and a community sample of men and women in the US were showed some of PETAs advertisements. The groups saw either sexualised or non-sexualised PETA ads: ones where women were fully clothed and ones where the women were either in lingerie or in the buff. The results showed that both men and women felt as though the sexualised women were dehumanised and seemed animal-like, and agreed that they were less likely to support PETA’s cause.

While PETAs purpose is to be praised, I think they need to take a step back and ask themselves, if we can’t treat human beings properly, how do we even begin saving animals? While PETA encourages the fact that “All Animals Have the Same Parts” do they believe we ALL have the same rights?

References:

2015, About PETA, PETA, viewed 30 March 2015, <http://www.peta.org/about/default.aspx>.

Price, J 2013, ‘Peeling back the layers, sexist ads don’t work’, Canberra Times, 20 December, viewed 30 March 2015, <http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/peeling-back-the-layers-sexist-ads-dont-work-20131219-2zo02.html>.

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