PETA's Smoking Campaign

In late September, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ended up hooking up with the advertising agency that came up with the absurd “Truth” anti-smoking campaign. Miami-based Crispin Porter and Bogusky helped PETA continue its habit of misrepresenting the truth while, ironically, helping it promote smoking to very young children.

PETA’s wanted to convey the message that some tobacco companies do animal research, and so smoking subsidizes this sort of animal “cruelty.”

But they picked on odd method to make this point. Crispin Porter and Bogusky crafted several stickers that parody popular cigarette brands. Marlboro becomes “Murderboro” while Kool becomes “Krool.” On the back of the stickers are pictures of animals being forced to breathe cigarette smoke.

On the one hand, the stickers misrepresented the research done by the tobacco companies targeted. The stickers showed monkeys, dogs and rabbits being forced to inhale smoke, but in fact the companies targeted by PETA only do research on rodents.

Like the tobacco companies did for so many years, PETA seems to think that deception is okay as long as it encourages people to buy what they’re selling.

On the other hand, for once I agreed with a Philip Morris USA representative who said that, “PETA is acting irresponsibly by handing out tobacco logos to children.”

In fact, The New York Times reported that PETA representatives had handed out the stickers to children as young as age 6. That’s just appalling — I know the reaction of my almost-6 year old daughter would likely be a sudden interest in all things tobacco. Not that PETA cares. As Dan Mathews told The New York Times, “If kids stop smoking as a result, we’re delighted, but that’s not our focus. Our focus is to get kids to voice their outrage [about animal research].”

And I’m still waiting for an explanation of how activities like this jibe with Ingrid Newkirk’s claim during a March appearance on Crossfire that PETA doesn’t target children “because everything we do is based at adults.”


An anti-tobacco campaign aims not at smoking but at the use of animals in tests. Nat Ives, The New York Times, September 27, 2002.

Traci Bingham in PETA Ad and Dan Mathews' Short Attention Span

Baywatch star Traci Bingham appeared nude in an ad produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Appearing in the July issue of Gear magazine, the ad featured Bingham’s body marked up into different sections like a livestock animal.

The Ottawa Citizen quoted an unnamed PETA spokesperson as saying, “The ad mimics how butchers see cows as nothing but parts for human consumption.”

The Citizen also quoted Dan Mathews defending these sorts of ads saying,

It would be great if people would watch scenes of animals being killed in slaughterhouses, pigs being castrated without anesthesia. That’s the real issue we want to get across.

Of course it would also be great if Mathews didn’t openly admire a serial killer and welcome the murder of human beings. But that, of course, would be asking too much of someone working for PETA (see PETA spokesman admires serial killer.)


Baywatch babe bares all for PETA: New ad targets butcher trade. The Ottawa Citizen, David Serviette, July 13, 2002.

Britney Spears Wants to Work with an Animal Rights Group that Does Not "Distort the Truth" (Good Luck!)

The on again, off again relationship between Britney Spears and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is once again off as the entertainer’s spokeswoman accused PETA of falsely claiming that Spears would pose nude for a PETA promotional effort.

This whole episode began when PETA threatened to protest Spears over her use of live animals onstage. Spears agreed to stop using the live animals in her act and also agreed to lend her image to a PETA poster.

Then media reports surfaced claiming that Spears would pose naked for PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur Campaign.” Spears’ publicist Lisa Kasteler told the BBC that the singer only agreed to provide a photograph of herself, fully clothed, for a PETA poster at a New York night club that excludes people who wear fur.

Kasteler accused PETA of falsely spreading the rumor that Spears would appear in the nude, and told the BBC, “Notwithstanding the meaningful work that PETA does, we cannot be involved with an organization that would distort the truth.”

Kasteler said Spears is still very interested in animal rights, but I suspect she’ll likely run through her 15 minutes of fame long before she is able to find an animal rights group that doesn’t distort the truth.

The best part of the controversy, though, was seeing PETA’s Dan Mathews (the same Mathews who admires serial killer Andrew Cunanan) telling the BBC that, “We’ve never distorted anything. We simply confirmed that we planned on doing a poster with her — we never said anything about nudity.”

PETA? Distort something? How could the press even think such a thing, given PETA’s track record? Oh yeah, right. Scratch that.


Fur flies over Britney posters. The BBC, December 14, 2001.

PETA spokesman admires serial killer

Several years ago People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals created an enormous controversy with newspaper advertisements comparing meat eaters to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Today, however, PETA seems ready to claim a more recent serial killer as one of its own.

In the December/January issue of Genre, PETA’s point man in the war against fur, Dan Mathews, is featured as one of the “100 Men We Love of the Century.” At the end of its profile of Mathews, the activist lists a serial killer
as one of his favorite men of the century:

When asked who is among the most important men he loves of the century, he replied, “Andrew Cunanan, because he got Versace to stop doing fur.”

When the New York Daily News contacted Mathews about his
comments, the anti-fur activist was unrepentant, telling columnists Rush
and Molloy,

I would be surprised if the Versace’s are really upset. Have
you ever been to a Versace fashion show? They’re like trashy funerals.

The comments did, however, bring a rebuke from former PETA spokes-model Naomi Campbell who said she was “sickened” when she read Mathews’ comments, saying she was “doubly thrilled to no longer be associated with” PETA.

At least the animal rights movement will continue to features its endless compassion in the next millennium.

(Thanks to the folks at Carnivores United,, for bringing this story to our attention)


“100 men we love of the century,” Genre Magazine,
December/January 2000