Once again People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has given the American public little or no reason to take them very seriously. PETA is the militant animal rights group that spends more time seeking publicity than concentrating on its so-called mission to eliminate "meat factories.
The Norfolk, Virginia based group is well known for its over-the-top advertisements. Most notable of these ads features a smug dweeb who is identified as Casey Afleck. He says in the spot, "The conditions for these animals are almost beyond belief." Though the ad can still be seen periodically, it was discovered that the group had staged the images of the stressed animals.
Of course, they tried to use a ploy because of the spokesperson's name. Thinking that the public would associate him with Ben Afleck. The ploy was exposed at the beginning of the ad's run. The young man was not related in any way to the popular actor.
They halted their most recent ad that had compared animal exploitation to the human slave trade. Thinking they could capitalize on the sensitivity of the slave issue, they found that the comparison was not appreciated.
Other campaigns included the use of billboards in attempt to sway public opinion to their view of things. One of those was an attempt to spoof the beef industry with the slogan, "Beef, it's what's rotting in your colon." Another notable billboard ad pictures a crying infant a crying infant sporting a milk moustache above the slogan, "Got sick kids?"
Now the group has begun a "bribe campaign," aimed against Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston. As part of its GoVeg.com Lifestyle Challenge, PETA says it is prepared to buy two vegetarian meals a day for the Mayor to mangia. For every pound he loses, PETA threatens to donate $500 in Veggie burgers to the Boston Public Schools. The Mayor, who is known for his love of pizza, burgers and barbecued ribs has not responded. A spokesperson for the school system, however, said that the challenge could not be taken seriously because there were at least seven schools with a student body in excess of 1500 students. It seems that PETA's "generous" offer wouldn't feed one-third of Boston's students.
That, of course, assumes that were would be enough students who would want to eat the Veggie burgers in the first place. Indeed, a test study by a large maker of frozen Veggie burgers conducted a taste test at a Midwestern School System. They had two groups of 500 students each sample their product. One half were told they would be tasting Veggie burgers, while the other half were not told what they would be tasting.
In the first group only 20 percent of the students liked the Veggie burgers. In the second group, only four students found the burgers tasty. It should be noted that in similar studies in other parts of the country, the results were dramatically different. In Southern California, nearly sixty percent of those in the first group liked the product. But in no one test did the percentage of favorable results exceed ten percent in the second group.
Undaunted by such studies, PETA has maintained a stead-fast stance against meat as a food source.
"I don't know who would turn down two free meals a day, and all the food we offered to the school system, because kids are fat anyway. The obesity rate is astonishing," said Veronica Van Hof of PETA.
Joe Haptas, a special projects head of PETA said, "A vegetarian diet might even help others avoid "Chron's Disease." This remark was a direct affront to Mayor Menino, who is afflicted with the condition.
It is doubtful that Hizzoner will take up PETA's Challenge.