July 29, 2015; WCCO
What do our readers think about PETA’s rhetorical excesses?
NPQ has written often about the public education strategies of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who tend to use plenty of shock value to get the attention of those who might otherwise fail to note the plight of animals. So it should come as no surprise that the group has called for the Minnesota hunter—who first wounded Cecil, the lion who was much beloved locally, with a bow and arrow, and then tracked and killed him 40 hours later—“extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.”
Considering how many nuts have relatively free access to guns (including the dentist/hunter in question), it is a dangerous rhetorical tack to take. But again, it is hardly PETA’s first foray into shock-value statements. Remember, for instance, the recent Pamela Anderson/Sherriff Arpaio event, where Anderson was photographed dishing out meatless meals to inmates next to a beaming Arpaio (who has, of course, repeatedly been accused of human rights violations against immigrants) while PETA offered to pay the water bills of impoverished Detroit residents if they would agree to go vegetarian.
PETA is calling Walter Palmer and others like him “overblown, over-privileged” men who “lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures.” “The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world,” the group’s statement said.
The Humane Society of the United States commented in a less notable way, calling Palmer “a morally deadened human being.”
“Sadly, Cecil’s story is not unique—American hunters kill hundreds of African lions each year and are contributing to the steady decline of the species,” reads a Humane Society blog post, which ended with a pledge to ask U.S. officials to consider upgrading the legal status of lions and disallowing travel to Africa to bring back trophies.
What do our readers think about PETA’s rhetorical excesses? Do they—have they—served a purpose in their extremity?—Ruth McCambridge