“Why is PETA always doing crazy stunts and demonstrations?” As a PETA Foundation employee, this is probably the number-one question I get asked. So, if you are one of those curious folks—or even if you just don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “wacky PETA stunts”—you’re in for a treat, because I’m about to give you the rundown of the wackiest of the wacky things that PETA and its affiliates have pulled off over the years.
- Wienermobile Takeover
Long before the Wienermobile nearly brought about its own demise by crashing into a suburban home, we trailed it around the country as it conducted a talent search for children to sing the Oscar Mayer theme song. At one stop, our “pig” even managed to clamber aboard the Wienermobile, and he was poised to take the fiberglass frank for a spin when he was apprehended by the authorities.
- Grim Fairy Tale
Mother Goose doesn’t take it too kindly when her feathered brethren are force-fed so that their grotesquely enlarged livers can be sliced up and served on toast points. When she took her case to a foie gras convention in NYC, bemused police officers felt obliged to arrest her and insisted that she keep her head on during booking so that everybody in the precinct could get a “gander” at their unusual collar.
- Cannibal Comparison
Way back in 1991, when newspapers were abuzz with stories about Jeffrey Dahmer, we ran what is arguably our most controversial ad ever. In it, we made the point that people who are creeped out by a cannibalistic serial killer should also be creeped out by the serial killings of thousands of animals in slaughterhouses every day. Strangely, some folks found this inconvenient truth a little hard to, er, swallow.
- KKKrazy About Dogs
Ever notice the eerie similarities between the AKC and the KKK? No? Well, our fiendishly funny “Wrong Meeting?” TV ad, in which a Klansman shows up at an AKC meeting, spells it all out.
- Milk Gone Wild
When PETA’s “Milk Gone Wild” spoof was rejected by Super Bowl censors, so many people flocked to MilkGoneWild.com to see what could possibly be racier than Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction that they temporarily crashed our servers.
- Unhappy Mother’s Day
How do you spend Mother’s Day if you are eight months pregnant? How about by baring it all in London to protest the filthy, cramped gestation crates that pregnant sows are forced to live in?
- The M-Word
After celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey served horse meat on his U.K. show The F-Word, PETA Europe made sure that everyone knew Ramsey was “full of it” when they dumped a ton of manure at his restaurant’s doorstep.
- Rest in Pieces
PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk gave people food for thought when she released the contents of her will, which stipulates, among other things, that her feet be made into umbrella stands and that her pointing finger (no, not that finger) be mounted and sent to Ringling chief Kenneth Feld as a reminder of who’s to blame for the deaths of 26 elephants (and counting).
- Putting the ‘Ma’ in ‘Vermont’
When we told Ben and Jerry’s that “breast is best” and asked them to start making their ice cream with (human) mother’s milk, it turned into a breast-milk brouhaha.
- Faux Father Furor
PETA V.P. Dan Mathews was a man (of the cloth) on a mission when he talked his way into furry designer Gianfranco Ferré’s 2004 Milan fashion show and leaped onto the catwalk. As security guards tackled him and tried to drag him off, they were attacked by outraged Italians who swatted them with their programs while shouting, “Leave the priest alone!”
If all this has left you wondering, “Why pick on cranky chefs and giant hot dogs, PETA?” you should check out The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. The book explains why our passion for animal rights drives us to push the envelope—and push compassion into the public consciousness.
So which is your favorite PETA stunt? Spill it below.
Written by Alisa Mullins