Sunday, September 11, 2005

PETA Campaigns Anger Religious Groups

This PETA ad has angered the Catholic League.

By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is known for its provocative ad campaigns. Once again, the Arlington, Va.-based organization’s recent flyers have caused anger, Religion News Service reported Sept. 7. This time, religious groups are protesting.

In the items considered objectionable, the following images have been used:

-- Lab monkeys are compared victims of Nazi experimentation.
-- A picture of a concentration camp’s sleeping quarters, filled with prisoners, is juxtaposed with a chicken coop. The slogan says: “To animals, all people are Nazis.”
--The Virgin Mary is shown with a dead chicken. The slogan says: “Go Vegetarian. It’s an Immaculate Conception.”

The Catholic League and the Anti-Defamation League have condemned the flyers. Earlier in the year, PETA had agreed to stop using holocaust imagery after complaints from Jewish groups.

Last year, PETA stirred controversy by secretly videotaping kosher slaughter practices at an Iowa plant. The extremely graphic and disturbing video may still be viewed on the PETA Web site. Jewish authorities maintain the slaughterhouse adhered to kosher practices, which demand that an animal’s throat be slit by a very sharp knife. The process should inflict the least suffering possible. (Islamic dietary laws require similar slaughter processes.) As a result of the video, changes were made at the plant.

In the past, images of kosher slaughter have been used for sinister purposes. The 1940 notorious Nazi propaganda film “The Eternal Jew” (“Der Ewige Jude”) used similar images to whip up hatred of Jews. During the kosher slaughter scene, the narration states, in part: “Jewish law has no love and regard for animals in the Germanic sense. Jews refuse to put a suffering animal out of misery. … These pictures prove the cruelty of this form of slaughter. It reveals the character of a race which conceals the brutality beneath a cloak of pious religious practices.”

Note: The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception holds that the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, was conceived without original sin. It is considered an infallible teaching of the church. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians venerate Mary as the Mother of God.

PETA's kosher slaughterhouse video. WARNING: EXTREMELY DISTURBING CONTENT.
Jewish response to PETA view of kosher slaughter practice, Jewish response
Orthodox Union response to Iowa slaughterhouse procedures, Orthodox Union
Stills and text from “The Eternal Jew” (including kosher slaughter scene),

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Jan Fredericks said...

While PETA gets attention from their media attempts, billboards such as Mary holding a dead chicken with the words "Go Vegetarian. It's an Immaculate conception" only gives PETA another black mark in their promotional tactics and turns many Catholics off to their message of compassion for animals.

Animals should be shown compassion by all who call themselves children of God since God has compassion on all He has made. We have been given the task of caring for them which we have generally neglected. Hopefully, Churches will rise to the task and not neglect the plight of God's creatures because of some illogical, degrading and immoral media tactics.

We should care, preach, teach and act because we are made in God's image and are responsible to care for them.

Richard Schwartz said...

As author of Judaism and Vegetarianism and a long time advocate of better treatment of animals, I agree that PETA’s methods are often insensitive and counterproductive.

However, while its methods sometimes deserve criticism, PETA does put a necessary spotlight on animal-based diets and the horrors of factory farming, and these are issues that religious communities should address. The widespread production and consumption of animal products contradict religious mandates to protect our health, treat animals compassionately, preserve the environment, conserve resources, and help feed the hungry. Also, the raising of over 50 billion farmed animals annually worldwide on factory farms contributes significantly to global climate change, water shortages, and many environmental problems that threaten humanity. Hence, our diets and the ways we treat animals should be put squarely on religious agendas, not as a concession or favor to PETA, but because our religious teachings demand it and global sustainability requires it

MyManMisterC said...

I've got to say that this is a pretty offensive image, the Virgin Mary holding a chicken as if it were Christ. I am not a fan of PETA nor a vegetarian, but I can say that some of their ads work, like Cows are Cool, and some are just vile, like the Got Prostate Cancer? pic of Rudy Guliani.