Other campus: Wrong tactics (Ohio U.)

By The Post

(U-WIRE) ATHENS, Ohio – Earlier this week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals came to Ohio University’s campus seeking to raise awareness about the conditions in which animals are treated in our society. Although PETA’s message has noble and legitimate merits, the shock tactics the group chose to broadcast its message are shameful at best, and more likely can be described as despicable.

You may have seen the display as you began your daily journey to and from classes. Across from Baker Center at the Howard Hall site PETA erected displays that sought to show the average citizen that animals are often locked in cages, slaughtered for food, and forced to produce eggs, milk and other goods, solely for consumption by humans. Although those claims are factually based, the flaw in the campaign is the parallel that PETA made to drive home their agenda. Banners displayed images of the great injustices in human history – The Trail of Tears, The Holocaust, slavery and lynchings – alongside images of cattle drives, milking of cows, and the slaughter of a bull. No matter how noble the message, no matter how passionate the advocate, there is simply no rational justification for comparing the suffering of animals to some of the greatest atrocities in mankind’s history.

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It is an injustice for members of PETA to compare the treatment – and killing – of animals to the systematic genocide of human beings. Explain to Holocaust survivors or African-Americans that the terror that dictated their lives is the same as the fate of animals that are born and bred for domestication. Tell them that the death of their loved ones – their brothers and sisters – only matter as much as a rancher’s cattle on which he makes his livelihood. The ethical treatment of animals is an admirable, noble cause, but ethical treatment is not the same as equal treatment. Cosmetic testing or inhumane business practices on animals should be avoided, but it is not realistic to expect a society to change its traditional dietary habits. Advocating ethical treatment is fine, but when an organization engages in a “Shock and Awe” campaign as PETA has done, the group not only incurs society’s wrath, but it undermines the message.

The PETA public relations campaign that graced the grounds of OU is appalling – not because of its message, but because of its tactics. No matter an individual’s personal leanings about proper animal treatment, the fact remains that comparing the plight of animals to that of humans is wrong and foolish. PETA is entitled to express its viewpoint, but as long as the group sees fit to make ludicrous comparisons between human tragedy and animal suffering, then the passersby have the right to ignore these hyperbolic images.

And the random passersby would be wise to do just that.

Staff Editorial

The Post (Ohio U.)