PETA stands for "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals"... or so they say. Historically, however, many of their ads and campaigns show more controversially bad things about PETA than good. While they may try to fight for animal rights, and they sometimes succeed, the way they do it, and how they spend their time and money often just emboldens why PETA sucks at their mission. They're well known, sure, but not for the good they do. More often, it's for PR nightmares, skewed ethical decisions, and more wasted finances than you would believe.
If you're wondering if there are any legitimate reasons why you shouldn't support PETA, this list only brushes the surface. From encouraging Ben and Jerry's to use human breast milk to pretending to grill a naked woman at a BBQ festival, this organization is baffling. Not to mention, these guys kill a whole lot more animals than most shelters do!
This may seem like it's being pretty hard on a group that really does aggressively fight for animal rights, but there are just too many reasons PETA is actually bad to overlook. Perhaps support your local no-kill shelter or wildlife rescue hospital instead?
#SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats. https://t.co/9JfJiBhGLw— PETA (@peta) February 22, 2019
Google celebrated famed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin's 57th birthday in February 2019 with a Google doodle. Steve Irwin was the host of The Crocodile Hunter, a show in which he used his wildlife expertise to relocate dangerous animals who wandered too close to populated areas. He lost his life during a snorkeling expedition in 2006 when a sting ray pierced his heart. The doodle featured Irwin holding a crocodile as it chewed on the letter 'L.'
In response, PETA - who is actively against using animals for entertainment - tweeted that Irwin was "harassing a ray" when he passed and that the doodle "sends a dangerous, fawning message." They further stated that, "A real wildlife expert and someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes."
PETA received backlash for their accusations with people calling them an "embarrassment to animal rights" and withdrawing their support. The organization told USA Today, "People should examine Steve Irwin’s record of wildlife [harassment]."
Yale ornithologist Dr. Christine Lattin said she received threats from PETA after she published some papers on her work with endangered birds. Lattin - who studies the effects of climate change and environmental disasters on animals - said PETA and its supporters sent her death threats and claimed she was "torturing and killing" birds.
In addition to this, some people even protested outside her house.
Before this goes further, let's address one of the biggest rumors surrounding PETA throughout their existence: that PETA steals pets. Formally, PETA does not encourage members to kidnap pets that are in in the yards and homes of others. They have even come out to discourage such acts, though they say those who steal pets may mean no ill will. All that being said, some members of the organization have stolen pets before.
In October of 2014, a van with two workers from PETA came to a trailer park area in order to round up stray animals. One animal they picked up was a Chihuahua by the name of Maya, who was certainly not a stray. PETA then euthanized the animals they had rounded up, something they viewed as an act of mercy, including Maya. The two PETA workers were arrested, but later let off because Maya was not wearing a collar, and they claimed grabbing her was an honest mistake. In 2007, a PETA worker was also arrested for kidnapping a sheriff's dog. The charges were, again, later dismissed, because the PETA worker thought she was rescuing the hunting dog off the roadside.
PETA, in general, hates the idea of keeping animals as pets. At all. First of all, they are against even the word "pet" because it's "speciest language." Instead, they use the term "Companion Animals," but even then, they talk about the fact that their eventual aim is to phase out keeping animals as pets over time. They say the best way to do this is to neuter and spay all animals in captivity so that they cannot breed, and then we will only be left with wild creatures again, that we view from a distance.
They have actively spoken about this and campaigned against keeping pets for a long while, aiming specifically at breeders, even those who breed animals outside of puppy mills (which are admittedly terrible places). As John Bryant, a representative of PETA, put it:
"The cat, like the dog, must disappear… We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist."