PETA’s messaging too extreme for children?

What would you do if someone handed this to your child?  (Photo: PETA)

What would you do if someone handed this to your child? (Photo: PETA)

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?”

Learn more about the intelligence of fish and the cruelty involved in catching them for sport or food. Also, learn how PETA saves animals.

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?

From a PETA pamphlet entitled, "Your Mommy Kills Animals!"

From a PETA pamphlet entitled, “Your Mommy Kills Animals!”

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Derek R. October 21, 2014, 9:46 pm

    As a gun-carrying, pet-owning, omnivore human being with a strong anti-cruelty stance, I find it difficult to eat a cruelty-free (as opposed to meatless/byproducts-free one, which goes against my natural diet of meat-and-other-substances; cruelty-free means I buy free-range and do NOT buy any product that supports animal testing, nor do I date women who do…if a woman can’t buy cosmetics that aren’t tested on helpless animals or wear a leather jacket that wasn’t harvested off an animal that lived in a mill, then she can go to hell – I hold myself to the same standard) diet and buy cruelty-free products. But I manage it. I am disgusted by companies that think that injecting rats (I love domestic rats, and my poor ratties are almost all rescue cases from pet stores that were irresponsible in how they treated them) with chemicals somehow teaches us anything that they couldn’t guess at with a little bit of brains and a knowledge of the makeup of a substance. So I don’t buy *anything* that promotes cruelty.
    That said, hunting is one of the least cruel ways to procure meat (as evidenced by the fact that the animals are mature and in the wild – they’re lucky, compared to animals who live penned up and fed shitty diets), as is fishing. Anyone who suggests differently gets a salary from either PETA or a meat farm. Fucking scumbags. And I guarantee that people who got more in touch with nature by hunting their own food (and maybe even growing some of it as well, huh? How about that thought!). Responsibility, accountability, all those abilities come from having to interact with your food and having a conscience that demands as little cruelty as possible in obtaining it. What a thought (again). Having to maintain the land you hunt on…whoa, shit! Bro, like, you mean I’d have to like own more than the efficiency that I like share with three other lazy hippies. Whoa, that would mean work…which I’d have to learn something in order to do, and be responsible in order to keep that job and…
    And by the time that hippy-dippy moron actually did all those things (doubtful – people are where they are for a damn good reason), he’d probably be a liberatarian and eat a different diet…what do you want to bet that would be true? Sorry, I only have hundreds, so I can’t match your $3.58 bet, slick.

  • Shawn October 20, 2014, 5:11 pm

    PETA has always been once of my favorite groups… to ridicule. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Pun intended. Dan actually surprised me with his cogent, thought out responses. Usually PETA members put their feet in their mouths very early in a discussion and end up making emotional tirades to cover their ability to intelligently debate the subject. If you have not seen the Penn and Teller episode of Bullsh*t, that addresses animal rights groups, it is well worth the time. You get the facts and some laughs to go along with your education. What more could you ask for?

    Oh,and the ALF has been definitively connected to PETA in ways that are irrefutable. Penn and Teller cover that better than I could in this short space.

  • frank noce October 20, 2014, 3:40 pm

    After all that said & done we are the only animal in the world that kills mutilate & tortures all other living things for fun ,profit & entertainment. Even the apex predators only kill for their immediate need for food. We are Gods favorite creation, yea!

  • frank noce October 20, 2014, 3:39 pm

    After all that said & done we are the only animal in the world that kills mutilate & tortures all other living things for fun ,profit & entertainment. Even the apex predators only kill for their immediate need for food. We are Gods favorite creation, yea!

  • dink winkerson October 20, 2014, 3:18 pm

    My grand children would say yes, and their delicious.

  • Truth Hurts October 20, 2014, 11:26 am

    This is no different than the christofascists handing out brainwashing pamphlets to children. At least PETA’s message is based in fact and not mythology.

    • Gilbert October 20, 2014, 12:21 pm

      Facts? Here some some real facts!
      http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2979220

      • Tom Owen October 20, 2014, 1:02 pm

        Want to know the real problem with PETA? They’re generally leftists or strongly left leaning in their thinking. This means that the majority are anti-gun, pro abortion, etc. Now, that is their right and I would defend it IF they gave us conservatives the right to our way of life and opinions without getting “in our faces”. Maybe it’s time we set up pro-hunting, pro-fishing, etc. booths at the same venues PETA claims a right to. Wonder how that would go over with them? Better yet, maybe we should print a pro-hunting, pro-fishing leaflet and hand them out in front of PETA offices. One last thought: PETA = People For Eating Tasty animals!

        • Dan October 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

          As a very conservative Democrat, I am both pro-animal and pro-gun. These are not mutually exclusive positions. A vegan lifestyle is my choice, with the majority of humans choosing to kill animals for food, either directly through hunting, or indirectly through the slaughter house, being their choice. Killing is a choice. I choose not to, excepting for self preservation from personal attack. Hence, the pro-gun position. You are correct, that a majority of animal rights people are fairly liberal thinkers, but there are plenty of conservatives out there who are animal rights advocates. So labels can be misleading. The NRA does a good job of promoting hunting so you have nothing to fear in that regard.

      • Dan October 20, 2014, 1:19 pm

        This is old news. That being said, PETA is not an animal shelter and routinely euthanizes animals which come to their facility; a policy which I personally oppose. There are other options. Unfortunately the animal overpopulation problem can overwhelm the resources of organizations who don’t concentrate on rescue or welfare. My membership in PETA allows me to stay informed about animal issues that interest me around the world. There are many things that I like about PETA as an organization, and unfortunately there are a number of things about PETA that are unsettling and that I don’t support. Same with the NRA.
        I volunteer at one of the largest no-kill shelters in the US, for which we save about 10,000 lives every year for the past 14 years. No-kill is not an absolute. Some animals must be euthanized for humane reasons. But every other animal that has passed through our doors has found a permanent home and we continue to rescue and rehome about 175 animal every week on a yearly budget of about 2 million dollars. We take animals from high kill shelters every day within the limits of our capacity. We would love to be able to accept thousands of animals daily from kill shelters, but that is not the real world. Animals that fail to reach us or similar no-kill shelters will unfortunately be euthanized, some humanely and some not.

  • BLH557 October 20, 2014, 10:38 am

    What do you expect from people who want (the State) to erect a monument to 55,000 chickens who died in an 18-wheeler accident…

  • jukk0u October 20, 2014, 10:23 am

    So a fish can use a rock to break a clam open to eat it, but NOPE, not us.
    My elders always taught that taking the life of an animal for food was a grim, necessary act and not to be taken lightly. Not everyone has the means to be vegan; back to “necessary”…

  • Dan October 20, 2014, 9:03 am

    As a vegan and member of PETA I can appreciate the issue of how we treat animals. I also possess several CCW’s and carry a Sig Sauer P239 for personal protection, having been personally threatened by sportsmen, anti-animal rights people, and others in years past. PETA tactics can sometimes be “in your face” in order to get attention. And the debate is always about the wisdom of such measures. I prefer a softer approach personally, but some people can’t or won’t see reality for what it is until it is pointed out in shocking detail. PETA, like the NRA, has a full spectrum of individual members who fall somewhere on the bell shaped curve of participation; from far left, to far right, and everything in between. I never liked hunting since childhood, and I stopped fishing when I became vegan 25 years ago. I prefer to change minds by example and with education that is measured and reasonable. However, there is something to be said about shocking people out of a mindset that tends to accept something that seems normal, which probably shouldn’t be accepted as such. I understand the desire to hunt for food, but find the need for such activity to be counter to my desire to live and let live. As for the graphic comic book, I’m not too concerned about its use. Kids who are taught to safely handle firearms in a normal family environment, can probably handle the issue of life and death from a comic book in a similar manner. The author of this article did a good job of bringing the issue forward for discussion. Other opinions?

    • Frank Staples October 20, 2014, 10:43 am

      Yes, as a matter of fact, I believe that if someone handed that flyer to my kid I would hunt him down and beat the living crap out of him. It is not up to you or anyone else to tell my kids anything about anything. Where do you think you get the responsibility or permission to assault my kids with this kind of drivel?? If you want to be a vegan, an animal lover, or whatever, that is totally up to you but you do NOT have the right to tell someone else’s children ANYTHING. And I find it appalling that PETA has the gall to talk about animals when they kill the majority of the animals they claim they are trying to save. What hypocrisy for you or anyone else!!

      • Dan October 20, 2014, 12:38 pm

        Have you heard the filth coming out of the mouths of a lot of children today. Where do you think that stuff comes from? Education comes from many sources and kids have the option to either listen or not. What about the crap that kids officially learn in public school? Tabling at veg and animal events is an educational opportunity. Ignore those of us who attempt to provide that education if you wish, that is your option. PETA members are predominantly vegetarian or vegan, almost exclusively animal friendly folks. I’m sure their membership harbors a few hypocrites, but the vast majority of their members walk the talk. “Kill the majority of the animals” is a fear tactic perpetuated by the uninformed.

        • eb in oregon October 20, 2014, 1:13 pm

          Being a Vegan is a personal choice, and in my opinion a choice that isn’t realistic in our world. Humans are omnivores, and have been for several million years. That’s how nature designed our body’s. So, for several million years we have eaten animals of all kinds and prospered. Because of the consumption of meat, we as a species have grown larger than the original humans, protein does that over generations. However to decide to eat plant products is a choice made by that individual, and should not be forced on others by the manipulation of another’s feelings. Unfortunately that is PETA’s approach, especially with a graphic publication that was specifically designed for the eyes and minds of children. I find such behaviour despicable. We humans have done much to change our environment, and unfortunately we cannot much to return our planet to its original splendour without totally removing our presence, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon. So, we have to live here and eat animals, because if we don’t those populations will grow and compete with humanity. To be a Vegan doesn’t make sense to me, it is a purely emotional choice attempting to refute ones heritage and physical existence. The other day I had a conversation with several people who were upset that someone had damaged a tree by vandalism and was told that “trees have feelings too.” Do you see whereI’m going with this? Make your own choices Dan and leave others children out of it. PETA does not have that right, nor should they. The first time one of those little buggers screams at my wife for wearing a 50 year old fur coat inherited from grandmother, or attempts anything else, I’m going to rub their face on the sidewalk until I get tired. The members of PETA are entitled to their narrow and unrealistic view of the animal kingdom, they are not entitled to interfere with anyone else’s life style.

          • Dan October 20, 2014, 2:39 pm

            Thanks for your opinion eb. I disagree with your characterization of both humanity and PETA but can understand your choice to reject veganism. Appealing to emotions is an acceptable form of education. So what PETA members do to promote a pro-animal agenda is rather normal for any organization. The NRA uses the same techniques to promote pro-hunting and pro-gun positions. I agree with you that humans have transformed the face of the planet; and arguably not necessarily for the better. Is the population sustainable? I’m not so sure that the majority of humankind will survive into the next century. Trees are not sentient, which proves that there are wackos in every corner of society. Assault, either verbally or physically is not appropriate and I would come to anyone’s defense if I observed such behavior; and I have in the past. Shoving something into your face would be an assault. Making something available to view and ponder, is not.

  • DrThunder88 October 20, 2014, 7:29 am

    I’m surprised PETA had the gall to put “Ask your daddy why he’s hooked on killing.” Do they assume anglers are incapable or unwilling to have conversations with their kids? Either that or they’re confident their Count Chocula typeface will hold more sway with kids than their opinions of their parents. Teenagers, maybe.

    I do like how they try to evoke sympathy with furbearing livestock by using pets. PETA opposes pet ownership.

  • SPOON October 20, 2014, 3:47 am

    Hilariously ignorant! That’s about all I can come up with that doesn’t stoop to PETA’s level. Lest we forget, they buy all their meat from stores where no animals were hurt in obtaining those precious, tasty proteins.

    • Truth Hurts October 20, 2014, 11:25 am

      Ignorance? Pot meet kettle. Most, if not all, PETA members are going to be vegetarians/vegans, meaning they don’t eat meat.

      • Tom Owen October 20, 2014, 12:54 pm

        Speaking of ignorance; when I opened Wyoming Fur & Leather in Jackson, Wyoming, I was picketed by PETA. ALL WEAR WEARING LEATHER BELTS, ONE WAS A SHORT ORDER COOK AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT THAT SERVED BEEF, PORK, CHICKEN AND FISH, AND SEVERAL HAD ON EITHER LEATHER OR LEATHER-TRIMMED JACKETS!!! It ain’t just what you eat that makes you one of the “faithful followers” of that terrorist organization (the Animal Liberation Front has been recognized by the FBI as a domestic terrorist organization operating in the USA for years and is a subsidiary of PETA) but I suppose leather doesn’t come from animals either!

        • Tom Owen October 20, 2014, 2:05 pm

          Just some information to back up the above statement: Taken from http://terrorism.about.com/od/groupsleader1/p/ALF.htm
          Name: Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
          Founded In: There is no established date of origin for the group. It was either in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
          Backing & Affiliation: ALF maintains an association with PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
          Taken directly from ALF “Tactics & Organization:

          According to the ALF, “Because ALF actions may be against the law, activists work anonymously, either in small groups or individually, and do not have any centralized organization or coordination.” Individuals or small groups take the initiative to act in the name of the ALF then report their act to one of its national press offices. The organization has no leaders, nor can it truly be considered a network, since its various members / participants do not know each other, or even of each other. It calls itself a model of ‘leaderless resistance.'”
          So it’s ok to destroy property and kill people? What a great organization and, note, it is affiliated with PETA.

        • Dan October 20, 2014, 2:10 pm

          Good point. Saying you are vegan, and actually embracing the vegan lifestyle are two different things. President Clinton claims to be vegan, but I doubt that he embraces animal rights and welfare into his lifestyle. Or the protection of the environment as a key thought process. Veganism is a journey, and people are taking the path that is most comfortable for them at any point in their life. Using or wearing animal products may not be something that an aspiring vegan has come to terms with as yet. Nothing is 100%, excepting maybe death.
          The ALF is pretty radical and if that is the path these folks choose, then they must face the consequences. I often agree with their motives, but can’t agree with their methods, which can be more hurtful than helpful. ALF has no affiliation with PETA; they only share a common goal.

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