It is a noble and worthwhile endeavor to fight against abuse of animals, and making people aware of such abuse through media attention makes sense. However, Ingrid Newkirk, president of People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), made her organization appear foolish once again by picking the wrong battle to fight in the quest for public awareness.
A video of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie smashing a spider on his desk prompted Newkirk to take a stand on behalf of PETA by chastising Christie for such a thoughtless act. Spiders are feared, loathed, and not considered animals by most people. Saving them from abuse, death, or even extinction will never be a priority for many. It is highly doubtful that PETA gained respect, or donations, by championing spiders.
PETA has always taken the approach that any press is good press and has gone over-the-top many times in its thirst for publicity. Appearing foolish not only does not faze PETA, it often seems to be a goal. Nudity, always an attention-getter, has been a staple in PETA’s publicity campaigns, but it hasn’t given PETA the mature image that such an organization needs to be taken seriously.
If it’s just attention PETA wants, why stop at Christie’s killing of a spider or Obama’s swatting (“executing”) a fly? Head lice are being massacred daily; fleas are routinely eradicated; and ticks get no respect whatsoever – and shouldn’t PETA be preparing a massive publicity campaign on behalf of the billion cicadas soon to make an appearance?
David J. Hentosh