Eat The Whales
You know what was sweet? PETA’s “Eat The Whales” Campaign. For those of you not familiar with it, the concept behind this campaign was to encourage people who just “can’t do without meat” to limit themselves to really, really large animals in order to minimize the number who had to die for their flesh addiction. I always bring that point up when people say “I only eat white meat.” As if eating more chickens were somehow better than eating a combination of chickens and cows.
“Eat The Whales” was launched outside the 2001 International Whaling Convention by PETA activists “distributing ‘Eat the Whales’ leaflets,” as the press release puts it, “displaying a colorful ‘Eat the Whales’ banner, and serving ‘whale meat’ to nonvegetarians, pro- and anti-whalers alike,” and it made (excuse the pun) a really big splash. I’ve always thought of “Eat The Whales” as one of the best things of its kind that PETA has done. The campaign immediately grabs your attention, because, well, why in God’s name would PETA be encouraging people to eat whales? But it also raises some really important questions about the arbitrary lines we draw when it comes to what kind of killing is acceptable to us. Why do some of the same people who get up in arms at the notion of a whaling ship harpooning a whale have no qualms whatsoever about eating a ham sandwich?
I know this one is controversial, and I know that not all animal activists share my enthusiasm for it—but my attitude towards “Eat The Whales” has always been this: I can guarantee you that whether people took it seriously or not (the “whale meat” PETA handed out was vegan after all), there wasn’t a single person who actually ate more whale because of the campaign. But a lot of people who were outraged at the very suggestion that anyone would kill and eat these wonderful creatures were also forced to ask themselves whether, just maybe, they shouldn’t be eating any animals at all.