It took months before public pressure forced People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to end its “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign, but less than a month after the debut of its “Are Animals the New Slaves?” campaign the animal rights group suspended the traveling exhibit.
PETA’s Dawn Carr told the Associated Press,
We’re not continuing right now while we evaluate. We’re reviewing feedback we’ve received — most of it overwhelmingly positive and some of it quite negative.
The NAACP and other civil rights groups vehemently objected to the comparison. NAACP spokesman John White told the Associated Press,
PETA operates by getting publicity any way they can. They’re comparing chickens to black people?
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, put it best when he told the Associated Press,
Black people in America have had quite enough of being compared to animals without PETA joining in.
PETA, of course, sees nothing at all amiss about the comparison. According to its web site,
Africans captured and forced into slavery were often compared to animals so as to somehow justify their treatment. They were called “brutes” and “beasts” because of the color of their skin. Their lives were considered expendable, and many died at the hands of their oppressors. The same oppressive mentality behind those actions leads to the slaughter of animals today.
Beatings, lynchings, burnings: These cruel acts happen today just as in the past, only the victims have changed. Cattle and horses are branded with hot irons to mark them as property; elephants used in circuses are captured from their homelands, then beaten with metal “bullhooks” and baseball bats. Cows, chickens, and pigs are strung upside-down before their throats are slit. Many animals are beaten, kicked, and spat upon by farm and slaughterhouse workers who view them as objects of scorn, not as frightened individuals.
Of course the most obvious implication of this nonsense is that African slaves who were being oppressed by the system of slavery were in turn themselves oppressors when it came to the animals they ate. Some slaves, for example, hunted to supplement their meager diet. In PETA’s view, these slaves were no better than those who laid legal claim on them as mere property.
PETA suspends controversial exhibit. Dionne Walker, Associated Press, August 17, 2005.