Why does PETA use controversial tactics?
PETA’s mission is to get the animal rights message out to as many people as possible. Unlike our opposition—which is mostly composed of wealthy industries and corporations—PETA must rely largely on free “advertising” through media coverage. We will do extraordinary things to get the word out about animal cruelty because we have learned from experience that the media, sadly, do not consider the terrible facts about animal suffering alone interesting enough to cover. It is sometimes necessary to shake people up in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and, of course, action.
Thus, we try to make our actions colorful and controversial, thereby grabbing headlines around the world and spreading the message of kindness to animals to thousands—sometimes millions—of people. This approach has proved amazingly successful: In the three decades since PETA was founded, it has grown into the largest animal rights group in the country, with more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide. We have also had major groundbreaking successes, such as bringing about the first-ever cruelty conviction against an animal experimenter in the case of the now-famous Silver Spring Monkeys; orchestrating the first-ever raid on an agricultural facility (a factory farm in upstate New York that raised ducks for foie gras under horribly cruel conditions); and convincing more than 200 cosmetics companies to permanently abandon animal tests.