Maybe it's just me but I have a thing about celebs who go out on a limb to prove they're animal-friendly by shacking up with the likes of PETA.

Drives me crazy. Because if I was a media-whoring starlet, I'd want nothing to do with an organization that venomously abhors the exploitation of animals … yet perceives no contradiction in the exploitation humans —  women, mostly — in so doing.

Consistency has always been a problem for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) when it comes to its own ethical treatment of humans. And no, I'm not talking about the violence it has resorted to in the past. This time it’s to do with the way it begs attention for itself via its advertising campaigns. Consider these recent examples of PETA  behavior:
 

  • "Veggie Love," PETA's 2010 SuperBowl ad. It displays a set of bikini-clad "twins" miming fellatio on either end of a carrot. Classy. NBC thought not. The ad was declined by NBC last year, and again this year, when PETA submitted it in the rehashed form of the various women auditioning for the commercial. It is doubtless why NBC declined PETA's $3 Million offer. (If you have a prurient interest in seeing this ad, it can be found by Google search.)
  • The "I'd rather go bare than abuse bunnies campaign," in which PETA begs you not to abuse bunnies but exploits human "bunnies" in the process. These are mostly D-list starlets; women who, we assume, feel it necessary to take it all off for anything that gets any media attention whatsoever. I'd wager none has any idea how many dogs and cats PETA killed last year.
  • Naked, body-painted human "fish" protesting the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) effective endorsement of the Seattle "fish toss" at the 2009 AVMA conference.
  • Pamela Sue Anderson as spokesperson. 'Nuff said.

There are countless examples of this kind of PETA-in-the-media outrageousness. It's gotten so that I have to assume that's where most of their money goes.

PETA's message is purportedly simple: Animals should not be used by humans. Animals are equally deserving of all the rights we humans lay claim to — even more so, by virtue of the cognitive limitations that render them necessarily subservient to our Homo-centric ways. Hence, we're bound by the moral imperative that requires humans to act as stewards of our non-human animal brethren.

Makes sense to me. The trouble, however, comes in when the organization that styles itself as the ultimate champion of the most downtrodden members of our society finds it expedient to stand on the shoulders of another put-upon demographic — women — to help disseminate a message of enlightenment.

It's sad, really, that an organization with humanitarian and egalitarian concepts to advance would actively partake in the objectification of women as an integral part of its campaign to improve conditions for animals. Indeed, PETA's chronic use of highly sexualized images of women smacks of the same kind of corporate hypocrisy it so loudly enjoys condemning.

But then, I guess that says it all: PETA's always been much more of a media-whoring blowhard than the smart-ass whistle-blower it wants to be.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: PETA - Flesh by Arturo de Albornoz