I've Always Said PETA Should Be Called "Pornographers for the Ethical Treatment of Animals"

The conceptual art project known as PETA says it's planning to launch its own porn site. PETA has gotten a lot of attention for degrading women in order to stress that you shouldn't degrade animals. So, it's a natural progression for the organization, even though porn is less reliably degrading to women than PETA:

Animal rights group PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) has always managed to grab attention with its racy and bold campaigns featuring nude celebrities as well as its risque advertisements.

Now the organization has gone a step further and announced that it will be launching its own porn Web site. The aim of launching the Web site is to raise awareness of veganism by offering pornographic material alongside graphic footage of animal mistreatment.

PETA plans to register itself to operate the www.peta.xxx Web site.

"We are preparing to launch our own peta.xxx site, but instead of just showing people our iconic ads we then show them how animals suffer for entertainment," said spokeswoman Ashley Byrne, according to the Herald Sun. [International Business Times]

You're probably assuming this is satire. However, Tara Kelly of the Huffington Post called PETA and got confirmation of the xxx project straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. Who knows whether the group is actually going to follow through on this plan. PETA has always been more interested in grabbing headlines than in protecting animals. So, it wouldn't surprise me if this turns out to be yet another empty bid for attention.

Update: PETA says it plans to mix images of animal suffering in with the pornography. Amongst other things, PETA is being unfair to porn. They're the ones drawing disturbing analogies between pornography, misogyny, and animal cruelty.

With this campaign, PETA has more or less dropped their initial pretense that they're simply cashing in on the sex appeal of attractive spokesmodels to draw attention to the cause of animal rights. The old "I'd rather be naked than wear fur" campaigns that I remember from my childhood were cute and harmless.

PETA has since graduated to ads and PR stunts depicting women as corpses, or animal carcasses with the names of cuts of meat written on their bodies as if they're waiting to be butchered. In one charming and frequently recycled campaign, PETA recruited naked pregnant women to pose as pigs in cages.

Using sex appeal to sell social justice is as old as social justice movements, and not something to get upset about, per se. PETA has gotten into the business of selling degradation.

[Image credit: An ad from a PETA campaign featuring Twin Peaks star Sheryl Lee from the flickr stream of smiteme.]

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