That’s So PETArded

It’s been a while since we last checked in with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Appetizers), so let’s see what the old stone-faced chicken-worshippers are up to, shall we? Put down that veal sandwich and leave your walrus-skin pants at the door!

First up: When you think of good, lighthearted fun, you naturally think of PETA. A jollier band of merrymakers you’ve never met! That’s why it’s very exciting to learn that the organization has expressed interest in buying SeaWorld, with the intention of setting the animals free and hosting virtual-reality exhibits instead! Wheee!

Perhaps this is surprising because you didn’t realize SeaWorld was for sale. Well it might be! So start digging for change between your couch cushions, unless “couch cushions” is what you call your butt cheeks, in which case do not. Anheuser-Busch, the beer company, owns the SeaWorlds in San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio, plus seven other theme parks that I have never been to but that I assume are devoted to the wonder and majesty of beer. (Bring the kids!) I don’t know how Anheuser-Busch got the SeaWorlds. Won them in a poker game, probably.

Anyway, Anheuser-Busch is in the process of being purchased by a Belgian company called InBev, and once that’s finished, everyone figures InBev is going to sell off its non-beer-related properties. And when I say “everyone,” I mean “experts,” such as those mentioned but not named in news articles like this one. It must be very exciting to be a financial analyst, always predicting what people who are not you are going to do with money that is not yours. Of course, I don’t understand any of it. I don’t even understand how a company can be “in the process” of being purchased. When I buy a Crunchwrap Supreme at Taco Bell, there’s no “process.” I give the teenager my money, and he gives me a hearty, octagonal treat. I understand that Anheuser-Busch is selling for a lot more than a dubiously ethnic fast-food item, but in my mind, the principle’s the same. Here is $52 billion; may we have our beer company, please? Done and done, here’s your receipt, be sure to feed the Clydesdales.

But that’s not how it works, and I’m an idiot. I know all this. My point is, I like to call the Crunchwrap Supreme the “mexigon.” They should change the name to that. My second point is, the Belgians are probably going to sell off the Anheuser-Busch parks, and PETA — smelling an opportunity so pungent it overpowered the scent of armpits and patchouli that normally pervades PETA’s offices — has stepped forward as a potential buyer.

According to news reports, PETA claims to have an anonymous donor willing to fund the purchase of at least one of the SeaWorlds. (PETA itself doesn’t have any money, of course. They refuse to touch U.S. currency ever since the treasury started making dollar bills out of manatees.) PETA’s plan would be to move the SeaWorld animals to sanctuaries, out of the public eye, and hopefully someday release them back into the wild, where they can be eaten by other animals, as nature intended. And as for SeaWorld? PETA would turn it into a park of virtual-reality tours and pictures of animals, presumably sparing no expense to make the park as lame and unappealing as possible. This is right in line with PETA’s global mission, which is to take the fun out of everything, make people think animals are more important than humans, and eventually fill all political offices with liberated lab monkeys.[1]

Would the Belgians actually sell SeaWorld to PETA? Probably not, but maybe! You never know with the Belgians! The prospect of it has put some SeaWorld employees on edge as they contemplate their job security. For example, read what Shamu wrote on his blog last week:

Whassup homies? It’s your favorite killa whale comin’ atcha from SeaWorld, and lemme tell ya, things is TENSE up in this joint right about now. Errybody who work here be like, “Damn, PETA be takin’ over our jobs? Shoot.” If PETA be buyin’ up SeaWorld and firin’ us, what they think we gon’ do from there? File for unemployment? Ain’t like no damn orca gonna get himself a job at Old Navy. I got skillz, but those skillz is limited to the followin’: jumpin’ up outta the water, eatin’ fishes, and splashin’ fools what be sittin’ in the front rowz. PETA say they all concerned about animals. Well if they so concerned, how they gonna come take away a sea mammal’s job from him? Ain’t no way to show respect to nobody, puttin’ him out in some damn sanctuary, floatin’ around all day, bored as hell. Shoot. Sounds like PETA be watchin’ too much “Free Willy.” Them seals is probably all happy about it — damn seals be kissin’ up to whoever wave a fish at ’em — but us killa whales ain’t gonna stand for it! If I needs to, I be cashin’ in my 401(k) and moving up to Alaska! Holla!

But while attempting to buy and ruin SeaWorld is provocative, it lacks the fundamental illogic and personal offensiveness of a typical PETA publicity stunt. That’s why I was glad to see that the group tried to buy newspaper ads in Canada earlier this month that would have compared the recent decapitation of a Greyhound bus passenger to the standard practice of killing animals for food. That’s the PETA we know and love: crazy, irrational, and eager to ensure that whatever good points they’re making are lost in a sea of sanctimonious grandstanding.

The PETA columns:

9/7/2001: I PETA the Fool
5/24/2002: PETA’s Dragon
9/8/2002: Milking It
5/25/2003: Pet Peeves
8/25/2008: That’s So PETArded
2/16/2009: PETA, PETA, Kitten Eater
3/7/2011: Rooster’s Millions
8/1/2011: For PETA’s Sake
10/16/2012: PETA vs. Pokemon

Surely you heard the gruesome story of the 22-year-old man who was stabbed to death and decapitated by a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Manitoba on July 30. The murderer allegedly tried to eat some of his victim’s flesh, too, which I think you’ll agree is overkill. Murdering Canadians is one thing. We draw the line at eating them.

PETA, like any attention whore worth its salt, immediately sought to capitalize on this tragedy. The group posted the following ad on its website:

Manitoba …

An innocent young victim’s throat is cut …

His struggles and cries are ignored …

The man with the knife shows no emotion …

The victim is slaughtered and his head cut off …

His flesh is eaten.

It’s Still Going On!

Right now, this exact scenario is reality for many. They are sensitive, they value their lives, they see what is happening, they cannot run away, and they often suffer greatly yet are being killed for nothing more than a fleeting taste of their flesh.

Nonviolence can begin at breakfast, with what we eat. For our free “Vegetarian Starter Kit,” visit

If this ad leaves a bad taste in your mouth, please give a thought to what sensitive animals think and feel when they come to the end of their frightening journey and see, hear, and smell the slaughterhouse. Try switching to a healthy vegetarian diet and save lives every day, including your own.

PETA tried to run this ad in a Manitoba newspaper, but the publisher refused to accept it. People were outraged by the ad, of course, and called for PETA to apologize. This is unlikely to happen, however, as no one involved with PETA has ever apologized for anything, except for one instance in 1994 when a PETA member accidentally stepped on a spider and spent the next six months making restitution to the spider community before finally taking his own life.

It’s easy to agree with PETA’s tactics if you agree with the group’s central philosophy, which is that even the lowliest animal’s life is just as valuable as a human’s. (Plant life doesn’t count for jack. You can eat all the plants you want.) Most people don’t agree with that position, though. Most people believe that humans are more important than animals — of course, they only believe that because they’re humans. Maybe chickens think that chickens are the most important species. If so, they should figure out a way to convince us of that, because right now all they are is delicious.

[1]This might actually be an improvement over the Bush administration, as at least the lab monkeys would be familiar with science.


[ My first thought on Shamu’s blog was to have him write in a very scholarly, erudite fashion, with a large vocabulary and advanced sentence structure. But that turned out not to be very funny; plus, it’s hard to write that way. (Maybe I can’t write characters who are smarter than I am.) So then I thought that since killer whales are black and white, maybe Shamu would sound like one of those white suburban kids who try to talk black. Sadly, I had no trouble writing in that voice. ]