Written by PETA
Originally posted by Forbes.com
Tobias (MT) What is the most pressing problem that animal rights groups like
PETA face today?
Newkirk: (IN) That’s a bit like asking which shoes pinch the most. It’s got to be what
people eat, simply because, while not everyone wears fur or experiments on
animals, everyone eats. That means a mind-boggling number of animals suffer for
the palate. And the cruelty isn’t just in daft and cruel killings. It’s the
casual cruelty of the lunchtime sandwich or the evening meal. This is not to
say that dietary habits aren’t changing. Putting aside the New Jersey woman who
is vying to be the fattest person on the planet, we see cookbooks like Alicia
Silverstone’s The Kind Diet and
programs like Dr. Neal Barnard’s
21- Day Weight Loss Kick Start become bestsellers right out of the gate.
But, in America alone, human beings breed, raise, transport, and then slaughter
more than 16 billion land animals every 365 days. That doesn’t even count fish
and crabs, who aren’t inanimate objects, no matter how hard it may be for us to
relate to them.
MT: What one
thing would you ban?
IN: Supremacism! That’s like
racism and sexism―the idea that others are less than you in intellect or table
manners or looks and that therefore that gives you carte blanche to manipulate,
use, abuse, and slaughter them as you like. It’s self-serving, ignorant
Animal stories are constantly in the news. Which ones do you think have been
helpful to PETA, if any?
IN: You’d have to live in a
cave to have missed the Michael
Vick trial―that has at least put dogfighting, the silent blood sport, on
the map in this country. And the story about the chimpanzee who tore a woman’s
face off has made some legislators think about a ban on wild animals, who get
so frustrated in captivity that they go berserk. When newspapers ran the whistleblower
photos of how the circus trains baby elephants with beatings and tie-downs,
that woke a lot of people up―so much so that almost 1,000 people showed up in
Los Angeles to protest when the beast wagons rolled into town. PETA’s
“silly” stunts get ink and air time. Like our beating Michelle Bachmann to the
punch by bringing back two dollar a gallon gas first. We paid the extra pump
cost and served up Tofurkey sandwiches to motorists, and it allowed us to make
the point that you can do more to reduce
your carbon footprint by going vegan than you can by driving a hybrid car.
Our “sexy” ads get a lot of play, and while people might laugh at them, they
also look at them, and they come to PETA.org
to watch the sexy videos but
go away the wiser for it.
must ask you “Aren’t there more important causes?”
IN: That’s a sort of “As
long as I’m all right, Jack” attitude. When Martin Luther King Jr. protested
U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, his followers admonished him and said that
he should stay out of it, that it didn’t directly involve civil rights. Dr.
King replied, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I don’t
subscribe to the idea that we must look after men or whites or Americans or
whomever we most closely identify with first, and then and only then can we
help others. Our compassion is big enough to let us look beyond the identity of
the victim to the injustice and object to that. To me, it is one world, and the
non-human animals bear the brunt of oppression and suffering.
Read the rest of the interview at Forbes.com
Michael Tobias is the President and CEO of the Dancing Star Foundation, a global
ecologist, anthropologist, historian, explorer, author and filmmaker.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.