Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IMHO: PETA has a point

Two protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were booed and escorted out of the Westminster Kennel Club's dog show last week in New York.

The two women held up signs that read, "Mutts Rule," and "Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs' Chances."

Well ... they're right.

Watch the protest here:

My husband Chris and I love all animals, but are partial to cats.

In the past, we enjoyed attending the Mid-Michigan Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) show. It was fun to see the different breeds of cats, watch demonstrations, and sample new cat products.

As time went on, and we became more involved with the no-kill and rescue movements, we stopped attending the cat show.

Our reasoning was - in a world where there are too many "disposable pets," why support an industry that "manufactures" animals?

As an ecofeminist, I am dedicated to fighting all kinds of oppression that affect both the living and innate world. Is there oppression involved with animal breeding the the purchasing of pets from breeders and pet stores - my answer is yes.

We assign hierarchies to animals -- and people. In the human world, this is known as classism. And classism is a form of oppression.

A friend who purchased a dog at a pet store told me she opted for purchase over adoption of a shelter animal because, with adoptions, we don't know "the history of the animal."

Wake up!

That can be said of 90% of the animals on the planet -- both human and nonhuman.

A pedigree does not guarantee a better pet. Many pedigreed animals are surrendered to shelters also. Papers do not give these animals exemption from the "disposable pet" mentality.

I won't repeat the sad numbers connected with how many unwanted pets are euthanized every day of every week of every month of every year -- those facts are readily available and speak for themselves.

PETA is not considered to be a feminist organization. It takes flak for using naked women in its campaigns against fur.

But could it be that in these advertisements they are linking together exploitation of animals and women and thereby showing the connection between the two oppressions? Think about this -- it makes quite a statement -- whether it's PETA's intention or not.

All oppression is connected.

In her book, "The Creation of Patriarchy," feminist Gerda Lerner links the commercial domestication of animals to oppression of women by making reproduction a commodity.

Does this mean that we -- as feminists -- should not keep animals as pets? Of course not. What we should object to is the institution of breeding solely for profit.

The bottom line: Regardless of public or feminist opinion of PETA -- or the appropriateness of this demonstration -- in the case of Westminister -- PETA is right -- DON'T SHOP -- ADOPT.

Other Points of view regarding PETA and feminism:

The Informed Vegan

Can you be a feminist and support PETA's marketing strategies? by Elana Centor

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