Saturday, March 27, 2004

What People Eat, What People Think and What Some People Smoke

If Godwin's Law is to be applied outside the realm of Internet discussions, than PETA suffered its own equivalent of Waterloo with the campaign equating the treatment of animals with Holocaust.

Citizens of Croatia were introduced to this campaign few days ago in Zagreb through expo held on Jelačić Square (Jelacic Square). The campaign didn't create much commotion. Outrage was expressed by prominent members of Croatian Jewish community and human rights activists, while Zagreb city authorities claimed that they hadn't got a slightest idea of what the expo would really look like.

It is very unlikely that PETA would win many hearts and minds with that stunt. At best, they are going to be considered as spoiled rich and immature kids with too much time on their hands and little grasp of other, more important issues. Even their fellow environmentalists would try to disassociate from them, because PETA exhibitionism only distracts public attention from other, more important environmental issues.

More worrisome thing about PETA is their stunts in recent times show more and more of the same fanaticism that bred terrorism in the past. Some animal rights activists have already crossed the line that separates civilised people from cold blooded murderers. Even more worrisome is the fact that the cabal of sensationalist media and spoiled celebrities is only going to promote their cause and give it more importance that they deserve or can claim based on their popularity.

Those very stunts in the long run would, of course, only hurt PETA because they would be perceived as bunch of lunatics. They would hurt even the more sensible and moderate animal rights activists because the public would put them in the same basket with dangerous kooks.

But there is additional danger coming from Holocaust/animal cruelty campaign.

PETA started this campaign thinking that the people would stop eating meat, wearing fur coats and using other animal products because doing so would make them feel guilty and scared of being on the same moral footing with Nazis.

Consider possibility of people actually buying PETA line and seeing no difference between killing of animals and Holocaust.

And consider that killing of animals can be justified for whole variety of cultural, economic, medical and biological reasons.

And that some people as misguided as PETA could come to the frighteningly simple conclusion based on the reasoning above.

In the very city of Zagreb, which is supposed to be Croatia's most cosmopolitan, "progressive" and hip place, spoiled upper-class brats subscribed or likely to adopt vegan ideology are easily outnumbered by masses of angry youths from decaying blue collar suburbs.

Not paying much attention to PETA stunt might be good thing for Croatian media and Croatia in general.


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