Wednesday, August 20, 2008

PETA is completely clueless...

I have been a vegetarian for over ten years now, but I have nothing but hatred for PETA. Have they done anything worthwhile in their almost 30 year history? Maybe, but most of their campaigns seem counterproductive and give those of us who are somewhat sympathetic with their aims a bad name. 

As if I needed another reason to loathe this group, PETA has decided they want to buy ad space on the border fence between Mexico and the U.S. to encourage border crossers to beware of the unhealthy diet in the U.S. and to go vegan. Sounds effective.... I agree with Feministing that the proposed ads are misoygnist and racist in the way they depict Mexicans. Way to go PETA, and thanks for giving your support to the construction of the border fence!!

I have another problem with PETA's strategy as well, they should do some research on the Mexican diet:

"The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan."

"We think that Mexicans and other immigrants should be warned if they cross into the U.S. they are putting their health at risk by leaving behind a healthier, staple diet of corn tortillas, beans, rice, fruits and vegetables," said Lindsay Rajt, assistant manager of PETA's vegan campaigns."

First of all, they assume Mexicans have a healthier diet than Americans. While traditionally, the Mexican diet is healthy, so are many traditional diets. The problem is that the reality is far different. The increase of greasy junk food and soda in the Mexican diet since NAFTA has been astronomical, to the point where the rate of obesity in Mexico is on par, if not greater, than that in the U.S. (sorry the link is old, but things haven't changed much in three years). While there is a difference between rural and urban areas in Mexico, its not accurate to characterize the Mexican diet as mainly tortillas, beans, rice, fruits and vegetables unless we are talking about some mythical past.

Second, if PETA actually cared about the diets of Mexican immigrants in this country, maybe they would try and do community work in areas where immigrants live and try to educate people on how to eat healthy on a limited budget. But, since they don't really bother to do this with Americans either, this seems unlikely. Like most interest groups, they prefer the flashy and controversial methods of getting their message out, rather than effective ones.

(Thanks to MJ for telling me about this story!)