A friend passed me along a link to a few comic book-style leaflets that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) circulated in an attempt to raise awareness about the killing of animals.
I was quite surprised by the graphic nature of the leaflets, one of which depicted an angry looking man gutting a fish, large bowie knife in hand, with the caption “Your Daddy Kills Animals!” Clearly it’s meant to shock children into questioning one of America’s favorite father-son pastimes, angling.
Listed on the group’s website was the following description:
Most people wouldn’t expect PETA activists to visit the local fishing hole or hang out in front of tackle shops at fishing tournaments, but activists who care about fish have taken to the water with their sights on dads who are teaching their kids to abuse animals.
PETA’s pro-fish leaflet reminds fishers and their families that fish feel pain and fear when they are impaled in the mouth and ripped from their underwater homes and that they deserve to be treated with kindness, just like all animals.
PETA aims to help kids see in no uncertain terms the violent truth behind their fathers’ outdoor pastime before they become desensitized to the suffering of animals.
The leaflet’s message to children? “Imagine that a man dangles a piece of candy in front of you. As you grab the candy, a huge metal hook stabs through your hand and you’re ripped off the ground. You fight to get away, but it doesn’t do any good. That would be an awful trick to play on someone, wouldn’t it?”
The leaflet appeared to be dated 03′ in the corner so I was curious to know if it was still being used by advocates. I also wanted to know what PETA thought about critics who would argue that these images go too far and may be traumatic to children.
I received an answer, in part.
“The leaflets are currently out of circulation, but they were well -received and we may use them again in the future,” said PETA spokesperson Jordan Uhl. “However, we are constantly updating and changing and our ads and literature.”
This messaging seems to go beyond the pale, even by PETA’s standards. What are your thoughts about the leaflets? And how would you respond to someone handing this to your child?