Letter to the editor: PETA serves its purpose well

Dear Editor,

In her recent op-ed piece, Ms. Staul addresses the approaches and tactics utilized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA blights its own cause,” June 20, 2007). It’s important to remember that PETA’s purpose is to stop animal suffering, and that they use all available opportunities to reach millions of people with powerful messages. They have found that people do pay more attention to tabloid actions, such as reaching out to Paris Hilton, and they consider the public’s attention to be extremely important. Sometimes this requires tactics some people find silly, but part of their job is to grab attention in order to initiate awareness, debate and, of course, action. The current situation is critical for billions of animals hung upside down and bled to death in slaughterhouses, and PETA’s goal is to make the public think about such issues by any means necessary.

PETA would like nothing better than to be able to show the media videos of factory farms, fur farms and animals in laboratories and have them find it newsworthy enough to cover. But they don’t. However, when PETA use a more publicly-visible approach, that very same animal abuse ends up in newspapers and on televisions nationwide. Experience has shown that provocative and controversial campaigns make the difference between keeping important yet depressing subjects invisible and having them widely seen. The alternative is to be ignored in the torrent of tabloid-style stories that dominate the popular press.

The fact of the matter is the plea to Paris Hilton showed millions of people that KFC tortures animals, and thousands of people visited the Kentucky Fried Cruelty Web site to learn more as a result of that media coverage. Those who are interested in learning more about PETA’s tactics and goals should visit www.peta2.com to request free stickers and a DVD.

Laura Tsai

M.A., Class of 2005