humanising animals = dehumanising humans?

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One of the biggest trends in todays society is ‘veganism’. With the rising concerns and awareness in regards to the treatment of animals, consumerism and wellbeing, going vegetarian and vegan has become an increasingly popular concept.  Along with this there is now seemingly contagious need to know where and how we get our food especially meat.

Organisations often find it difficult in encouraging a change in lifestyle, while few can go through with hunting and butchering their own meat, they often distance themselves from the reality of slaughter houses and the fact that it IS being done by someone.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one of the largest animal rights organisations in the world, and is known for their work in educating the public on animal cruelty.

Their website provides countless articles and information regarding issues such as animal testing, animals used for clothing and of course animal slaughter. Although PETA does aim to educate people on these issues they at times use other means to attract attention in hope of bringing about change.

Although going outside the box when marketing is often encouraged, a company like PETA that is pro animal rights and fair treatment often forgets to apply the same demands to people, more specifically women. Surprisingly PETA has a long history of selling their beliefs through the hyper-sexualization of women.

The organization has constantly used women as a selling point of their ideals. In a time where people, especially women are so obsessed with the way they look and achieving ‘perfection’ while striving for equality, we must ask ‘is PETA taking two steps back?’

As PETA’s aim in using people in their ads is to give animals human characteristics to the fullest extent by placing ourselves in their position, it often loses focus by the sheer shock the ads themselves provide.

“Using a woman’s body to show that animals are made of flesh and blood and bones, just like you, is a very serious point that we are trying to put out, so that people can think of animals as sentient human beings, not just pieces of meat on supermarket shelves. The results we are getting for the animals is part of our main aim, which is to alleviate their suffering.”

Though humanising animals has been done countless times especially in media, PETA seems unable to do so without the sacrifice of others, and in the process dehumanise women, reverting them back to being objects or ‘a piece of meat’.

Their campaigns have shown women in various negative dispositions, depicting them as objects of sex and unrealistic ideals. Even going as far as to show them as objects of abuse, willing abuse non-the-less. The “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom Out of Me.” campaign showed a young women stripped of most of her clothes, in a neck brace her face contorted in an image image of pain, performing domestic chores for her boyfriend. This is all due to her boyfriend going vegan and as a result having heightened stamina.

The women in the ad received none of the benefits from the health impacts implied as the campaign itself is directed at men, funnily enough most of these ads seem to be directed at men and even boast that they are a “great health message…

Unfortunately the style of these ads does nothing but suggest that the only way for them to get attention is through the exploitation of women. For a company who preaches the wellbeing of animals so much its almost as if they don’t truly believe in what that seek to accomplish. Personally these ads do little to convince me to make any for of lifestyle change if anything they deter me from doing so. This in return leads to wonder if what they are doing is actually alienating those whom they wish to convert do to their actions and choice in promotion.


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