Not a stitch of credibility.

When the extreme animal rights group PETA complained about President Barack Obama swatting a fly, the penny finally dropped for me.

For a long time I’ve read comments from PETA and thought these people can’t be for real.  Vets and sensible animal welfare organisations regularly work with my office and Department to deliver better labeling for free range eggs, or improving the safety of animals being transported.

But PETA runs a completely different set of campaigns that can only be described as bizarre.  They oppose kids being allowed to keep goldfish.  They oppose horse riding.  And they even oppose guide dogs for the vision impaired.

It gets stranger.  There’s a campaign they’ve been running for while to rename fish.  PETA wants to call them “sea kittens”, arguing if fish sound cute they won’t be as tasty.

Time and again I’ve wondered what planet these people are on.  But when they rushed to the defence of the hapless Obama fly it became clear that maybe there is method in this madness.

Could it be that PETA is actually funded by the other side of the argument to discredit anyone who cares about animals?  It’s brilliant!

When people think about animal welfare campaigns, instead of considering sensible improvements which might make a difference, PETA shifts the focus to issues which lie somewhere between comedy and the utterly ridiculous.  It’s a disaster for the sensible campaigns and moves the debate from animal welfare to outright extremism.

There was a reality TV program called The Mole, with one person pretending to help the team but actually trying to destroy it from within.  It was entertaining in a reality TV sort of way, but not nearly as creative as the sabotage of animal welfare by PETA.

Think of the organisations trying to improve the quality and safety of pet food.  How must they feel when the international news finally turns to animal welfare and it’s about the integrity of a dearly departed fly?

We have lots of flies in Australia.  There’s a good deal of support for the Obama approach when we meet and greet them.  They can also be a significant animal welfare problem for our sheep.

As a public relations campaign for a fly nirvana, I suspect this one is doomed.  But as a strategy to stop any of the real animal welfare campaigns from gaining traction, it is perfect.

This leaves us with two theories.  One: somewhere there is an animal-hating evil genius who provides tactical advice to PETA. Or two: they’re just really silly people.

Most commented


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    • Evil Genius says:

      09:24am | 20/06/09

      When I joined PETA I thought I was joining the People for Eating Tasty Animals but 10 minutes into my first meeting I realized I sent my cheque to the wrong mob.  After that I thought I’d stay around a while and offer some advice to my new found friends.

    • Bobbie says:

      09:30am | 20/06/09

      When will people realise that peta is a vegetarian cult.

    • Jeff from Meroo says:

      09:35am | 20/06/09

      Tony good point but the real questions are “who does PETA fund, which policies do they support, which do they block and why”.  We know the answers to the first three but I don’t even think they themselves can answer the fourth.

    • Evan says:

      10:22am | 20/06/09

      The follow are not my own words but they say exactly what I am thinking….

      “At this point, I honestly have to conclude that PETA are at best garden variety trolls*, and at worst part of a vast, secret conspiracy, underwritten by proponents of animal testing, the goal of which is to completely delegitimize support for animal rights in the eyes of the general public.

      I simply cannot fathom how an organization can consistently do more harm to its stated goals and interests than does PETA, which is why I therefore conclude they are either diabolical geniuses or total f***ing retards.”

      * A troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages-  with the primary intent of provoking others into an emotional response

    • Rowan M says:

      02:33pm | 20/06/09

      i had just assumed the ill-fated fly was a Chinese micro-satellite probe…  but this speaks of an even greater conspiracy!

      while some of the policies of PETA might be strange, i am all in favour of their get-nude-next-to-the-eiffel-tower policy.  works in so many ways…

    • Dallas says:

      11:28pm | 20/06/09

      Who’s funding wacko PETA? The greens, r.s.p.c.a, the girlie girl army and popular culture?

    • Leo says:

      07:12am | 21/06/09

      The PETA people are secret fly eaters. They fry flies and are afraid that if we kill to many flies s there will not be enough left for them.

      Try eating fried fly.

    • Veritas says:

      01:41pm | 21/06/09

      I am retaliating. I am protesting against PETA by increasing my consumption of lamb cutlets. Not chops, French Cutlets. There are only so many cutlets per lamb, so the more I eat, there more lambs that PETA has killed - as if it wasn’t for their idiocy I wouldn’t be doing this. I’ll miss my steaks, but I’d have to eat an awful of of steak to need a new beast to find its way to the abattoir. Not so much with French Cutlets. I’ll eat more chicken too, but only the drumsticks. That makes about three birds per day just to meet my needs. Plus every time I see PETA in the news again, I’ll shout the whole office buckets of chicken drumsticks and French Cutlets.

    • Peter says:

      01:42pm | 21/06/09

      If you think animals have feelings and thoughts than many of the things we do can be considered cruelty.
      ie the goldfish. If as PETA think, a goldfish or any fish have a sence of being then locking them up in a glass bowl to be stared at is a cruel thing to do.
      We as human beings are ignorant to the plight of animals.
      Why does the infered intelect and or size of an animal determine what we think is a cruel thing to do to it?
      But PETA are a bunch of full on looneies for sure and too often take the extreme road.

    • David Davidson says:

      03:01pm | 21/06/09

      God bless you, Tony. You prove that not everyone in Labor is a corrupt moron.

    • Rationalist says:

      06:34pm | 21/06/09

      PETA is not inherently less sane than the Greens to be honest.

    • Claza says:

      10:19pm | 21/06/09

      Or the third theory is that PETA is also funded by someone not from the currently in power political party (whoever is not running the country right now) has vested interests in PETA kicking up a stink about O killing a fly, in order to make him look bad…?

    • Jonathan says:

      09:37am | 22/06/09

      I once saw a poster that stated:
      “There room for all of God’s creatures… right next to the potatos and veg.”

    • Chris Grealy says:

      06:52am | 23/06/09

      It was always just another internet hoax. Looks like a lot of your commenters need to retune their bulls*&^ detectors.

    • Country Kel says:

      09:59am | 05/08/09

      I have just watched three topless fake tanned models on The Australian Morning Show talking about how it takes 40 rabbits to make one fur coat. The models were going to walk through the Sydney CBD topless for a Protest to the fur trade. What the? If these protestors had every bothered to leave Sydney and cross the blue mountains into country Australia they would know that the country is over run by Rabbit and Foxes. Native animals are threaten by these introduced species. Maybe if was had a bigger Fur trade we could control their numbers.

    • alexandra timpau says:

      12:04am | 20/09/10

      look, i don`t work for PETA either volunteer or whatever but i did check their website and if you do, you would notice that their causes are clearly stated and they do not refer to goldfish in bolls or just one fly. it`s about (and this might come as news to you) the ETHICAL treatment of animals: animal testing, farmed animals, animals killed for their fur etc.
      Why does it have to be either black and white with you people? bad/good?
      I`m not saying they`re saints or “loony fools”...they market their causes as any of you would, and do, in your own field!
      I keep seeing these morons commenting that they`re gonna eat more meat to protest against PETA…are you 4? what`s wrong with you?

    • Caesar says:

      07:49am | 18/05/11

      You people? What do you mean YOU people?


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