In this day of financial misdealings and fallen heroes, a time when nothing seems certain and the Game Show Network is changing its programming schedule on almost a weekly basis, it is good to know that some things remain constant: PETA is still crazy. I believe this is due to undernourishment.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is re-launching its anti-dairy “Got Beer?” campaign, and according to a PETA press release, the group was hoping to hit Brigham Young University with the ads.
“Even one glass of milk supports animal abuse and harms your health, both of which are anathema to Mormon teachings,” said PETA Director of Vegan Outreach Bruce Friedrich in the press release. “If they are taking Mormon teachings seriously, drinking milk should be even less acceptable to BYU administrators than drinking beer.”
Yes, that’s what he said. He actually used the word “anathema.”
Oh, and he also implied that BYU administrators weren’t serious enough about Mormon teachings, else they would be opposed to dairy, too.
I called Friedrich to get clarification on this matter. He said: “Mormons care about compassion for animals and their own health. But LDS virtues related to health and compassion are tossed in the toilet by anyone who’s drinking dairy products. BYU administrators should be just as anti-dairy as they are anti-alcohol.”
It is true that Mormons have compassion for animals, insofar as we try to shoot them in the head and kill them quickly before cooking and devouring their flesh. But is it a stretch to say that, therefore, we shouldn’t drink milk?
(PETA’s opposition to milk-drinking, by the way, has to do with the conditions in which dairy cows are kept, and how the milkers’ hands are often cold, and how the cows’ teat regions are always tender and sore after a vigorous milking. Also, I guess probably a lot of cows get killed at some point. The press release says, “Many male calves are crammed into tiny veal crates,” and then I can’t read the rest because I started drooling on the paper because I was thinking about veal parmigiana at Macaroni Grill.)
Anyway, I wanted to know how BYU administrators felt about the suggestion that their tacit approval of milk indicates a lack of devotion to the teachings of Mormonism. BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins gave this statement: “While drinking alcohol is something that is prohibited by our religious principles, the drinking of milk is a personal choice.” Asked whether she, as a BYU administrator, takes Mormon teachings seriously, she said, “I do, and I also drink milk.” Surely such a profound contradiction will cause PETA representatives’ heads to explode, pelting bystanders with tofu-based shrapnel.
Then there is the issue of running “Got Beer?” ads in BYU’s student paper, The Daily Universe (motto: “Snider-Free Since 1999”). Friedrich told me, “We’ve never been turned down, even with our most controversial ads, by a student paper. I can’t imagine they would turn down the ad.”
Well, one thing BYU specializes in is doing things you can’t imagine anyone doing. The Universe has rejected the ad, citing university policy not to promote or endorse things (such as alcohol) that are contrary to LDS Church doctrine.
The PETA press release says, “Unlike beer drinking, dairy consumption … hurts animals.” I suppose alcohol consumption doesn’t hurt animals, unless you get drunk and kick your dog, or if you’re playing a drinking game where every time someone takes a drink, you have to break a swan’s neck. So animals are mostly safe from beer. But I believe I have heard stories, unsubtantiated though they may be, that occasionally PEOPLE are harmed by the effects of alcohol. It sounds crazy, I know, and I realize our priority should be animals, not humans. But it’s something to think about this morning as you drink your ill-gotten milk, poured over your oat-murdering cereal.
The lead to this column sat in my file for a few weeks before I found a good way to use it. The PETA thing fell into my lap, and it seemed like a thing that could be accurately described as remaining constant in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours.
My last column before Sept. 11 last year was about PETA, too.
A friend of mine told me a story in which beer did result in animals being harmed, contrary to what PETA said. Her dad was driving drunk when he ran into a truck carrying some cows, which escaped from the smashed truck and were subsequently shot by a state trooper who couldn't figure out any other way of controlling them. But the story seemed more shocking than funny, so I didn't use it.
Bruce Friedrich was very nice on the phone, and he had a sense of humor, too. He was trying to send me some information but couldn't get his fax machine to work properly. I said, "Try hitting it. You're not opposed to cruelty to fax machines, are you?" And he chuckled and said, "Oh, no, I'm gonna beat the crap out of it." His only mistake in regards to PETA and BYU was trying to come into this closed environment unprepared, and in choosing his words poorly. And you know how I am about not letting people get by with poorly chosen words.