Symbolic Gestures of Nothingness. Save the turtles. Save your career.

I’m a vegetarian. In fact I’m vegan when it comes to me purchasing my own food, I don’t wear leather or fur, but I’ve got a human bone to pick with PETA.

Their latest stunt of vapidity (or an out of work actress who claims to be part of PETA and feels this is probably a good way to get publicity and be part of the new movement of caring and eco-greeniness) was to go into downtown LA’s fashion district to stop illegal animal sales.

What was the point of that?

1. To me there are no legal animal sales, even the donation pay for shots variety of rescues is morally “illegal”.
2. But in regards to community building and educating a more broad reaching community of people does PETA think going in and fighting with an underground business by working class people of color is going to get more people on the side of animal rights? Or even save that many animals.

I’m going to guess no on point two. I’m going to guess PETA comes off like the assholes that harass people for not having “proper” citizenship papers or just not looking like you belong.

Why not antagonize the people who get people’s hands chopped off in the beef industry? There’s a packing plant in Chino (Westland/Hallmark), I’m going to bet lots of animals get hurt in there and probably quite a few people.

I guess that would be a little too scary for an actress type who just wants to jump start a career. That would be hardcore. That would be doing something, but of course messing up a rich white guy’s (who doesn’t has too many vowels in his name) business will get you thrown in jail. Jail time for anything more than a DUI isn’t very fashionable.

Trying to be a person who believes in social justice and at the same time supporting the causes of PETA is very, very difficult.

I used to do Vegan Potlucks, until one of the leaders asked me who I was, in my house and he was a bit snobby and accusatory about it, “So who are you? Are you vegan?”

I don’t know why, but PETA always has come off like a bunch of Nazis to me. I’m not using that in an attempt to get a reaction, I seriously mean they come off like Nazis.

They seem to go out of their way to antagonize working class communities (of color and white) when to me it seems as if they should be reaching out to get those communities support, I mean it’s a pretty large community. How many rich people do you need? I mean don’t you have them, after Alicia Silverstone poses naked in an ad, what more do you need in that demographic?

Remember that football player that went to jail for dog fights, yes it was horrible, but why must PETA always pick the easy target.

Who do you think causes more animal suffering. Fast food joints or a random football guy. Of course it is easy to crucify a random football guy, especially if he’s a random black football guy. That to me was nothing, but a modern day lynching. A large monetary fine, but jail time after he apologized? Dogs died, yes, but if he’s in jail then the owner of McDonald’s should be getting the death penalty.

In downtown LA who do you think causes more animal suffering on a larger scale? The guy selling turtles and a cockatoo or the people walking around Pershing Square with their walking fur status symbols, little pure breed rat dogs.

I joke about these little dogs, but seriously the proliferation of these dogs by the celebrities and the debutantes of the world have probably brought about more animal suffering than any thing some vendor who sells turtles could even dream of doing.

Who has pet turtles anyway, except for weirdo teenage boys who listen to death metal.

If PETA wants to help animals, stop pet ownership.

If animals have the same rights as people, meaning you shouldn’t eat them, wear them or drink their milk, then why should people be allowed to own animals for recreational purposes?

Pet ownership is wrong. It’s more wrong than eating steak, its more wrong than wearing a fur and it’s a very popular wrong thing to do among the “we love animals” set.

I know, I know you got your pet at a pound, but to me getting a pure breed like cutesy dog at the pound does nothing, but encourage the puppy mill people and encourage the idea that animals are to be disrespected.

An animal as a pet is a wasteful, ugly American habit. It is the embodiment of viewing yourself as a god and you being god you have the right to laud over another living being, because you are human and godlike and this animal should be grateful to be in presence of your godlike being.

Maybe that’s an extreme view, but PETA is extreme. Why are they encouraging this mickey mouse behavior by bored entertainment types.

The pet industry is a big, horrible money making industry that should be illegal in all forms.

If PETA were to stop pet ownership and the marketing of pets as accessories that would do more to stop the suffering of animals than starting a street fight with some guy selling turtles.

Even rescue operations encourage irresponsible pet ownership.

Also PETA has some problems in regards to relating to people outside of the upper middle class echelon of the English-speaking world.

Education is the key, not punitive and antagonizing measures for people who truly don’t see the world or understand it from your perspective.

Why not put some ads out in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cantonese? Get some Latino spokespeople. How about getting some African-American spokespeople? How about some Asian-American spokespeople? How about people of different ethnic groups from different countries (outside of Europe.) Not the one or two people that you trot out just so you can say, “see we are open minded,” but as many as you can.

Why not reach out to everyone? This preaching to the choir does nothing, but encourage the insular circle jerk the green, vegan movement has become of the buying your way to green with your eco-mansion, electric car and $1,000 dollar bicycle.

PETA needs to get off of its elitist high horse and start relating to the working class demographic, not antagonizing them with symbolic gestures of nothingness.

by Browne Molyneux

This entry was posted in Analysis, Food, Greater Los Angeles, Media, Politica, The Ethnics and tagged , , , by Browne Molyneux. Bookmark the permalink.

About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

14 thoughts on “Symbolic Gestures of Nothingness. Save the turtles. Save your career.

  1. okay, I agree, but isn’t PETA kind of like…an easy target, too? and the yuppies with their accessory dogs…same thing.

  2. I don’t think you can ever say criticizing the rich can be something you can do excessively. I know their marketing department says something to the contrary, but in my opinion no.

    PETA started this with a working class guy and I’m going to call out bs when I see it.

    The reason I talked about this issue was because this little shit story in the downtown news has been talked about in the LA Times, LA Observed with no opposing opinion, I mean how easy is it look at this crap story and go: “yeah guy with turtles in a cage is wrong.”

    To the mainstream media (which includes portions of the blogosphere) apparently the bs of this whole situation isn’t that easy of a target since all of them seem to be too scared to call this bs what it is, bs.

    Local LA media is filled with stepford wives and the blogosphere are their bastard children, too afraid to call out the online status quo, because maybe they’ll get a chance at the golden ring of a paid gig.

    And to me it’s not just little dogs that I’m talking about in regards to pets, but all pets. My boyfriend who is cat lover would probably have issues with this, since he loves cats and has had many as pets, but for people who are so hardcore they are going to start fights with people in the street and that’s supposed to be hardcore?

    Taking a way middle class America’s most favorite fashion accessory would be a hardcore thing to to. Pet ownership being against the law would be hardcore. Going down to Chino and shutting down the plant that gave little school children from LAUSD bad meat
    that would be hardcore, this little bit of nothingness, not so hardcore.

    I love hardcore, but this isn’t it.


  3. I just typed a bunch of stuff that my computer ate. Fuck.

    I’m with Kualyque, I mean really? As much as I dislike PETA, I’m really tired of the railing against PETA. They do what they do and alot of it is stupid, but that’s their pregrogative. If every one who ranted about PETA and what they are doing wrong, started their own group or their own person movement for doing what is right, we would have some seriously radical shit going on here, shit that would spill out of the animal rights arena and into so many other worlds.

    So they didn’t shut down Hallmark, but HSUS did. Is HSUS hardcore? Bitching about PETA is like giving that pain in the ass attention whore kid that seems to be in every third grade class, all the attention they are asking for–rewarding them for being a jerk. Let’s talk about the good stuff that HSUS and other orgs are doing (Not that HSUS is flawless, I mean really, who is? Being the vegan police ain’t easy…I know I had to hand over my badge!) PETA is about as hardcore as “XTreme” sports, and its been over a decade now that they’ve even tried to be hardcore.

    PETA does want to end pet ownership though. It’s a subtle agenda though because they know it will never come to pass. We’ll be a vegetarian country before being a country without pets. Ingrid Newkirk has spoken extensively about this and has no pets herself. As an organization they kill many animals instead of finding them homes and they are unapologetic about it.

    If you find rescues and adopting from the shelter problematic, what’s the solution? Not the theoretical one but the real one, what to do with these dogs that ain’t got no where to go (thanks to the assholes that bred them)? Were should they go?

    There is alot of racism and classism in the animal rights movement, no doubt. Too much. That’s why I remain largely unaffliated in what I do. To me the real radicals in the animal welfare/rights community are the church ladies starting vegan soul food restaurants in their kitchens and the one-man or woman rescue operations who live and work and educate and save lives in their own not-so-glamourous neighborhoods with no judgement and no martyrdom but a here, let me help you take care of your sick dog and I’ll show how to walk him on a leash if you want to and oh here’s a free spay-neuter voucher if you’re so inclined. They work from their porches, not mad-dogging you at some adoption event at Petco. There are more of them than most people know becuase they aren’t out making a name for themselves, they’re just out there doing it because they couldn’t NOT do it, you know?

    There are groups, especially in the pit bull world,that are making great strides in this respect too. Sorry, but pet ownership is not just a white middle class thing, that’s PETA take of course, but luckily there are alot of smaller groups who don’t disregard working class and people of color’s love for animals. BadRap, Villalobos, and others are doing this work and its fucking great but that’s another post, perhaps for the blog that I never update.

    I got lots more to say on this but I have to go walk my 70lbs fashion accessories. They’re grubby, scarred, and smell like farts. I’m so hot.

  4. Most people bitch about PETA, because they think they are too extreme that’s not my problem.

    I think people should stop owning pets. If you have a pet now, fine, but now it needs to stop. What’s pet ownership doing for dogs or cats or birds? How is it helping. Now if you’re not for animal rights this question is not for you, but if you’re vegan and you care about animals, what’s the deal with the pet ownership thing and not finding an issue with that.

    And having a pet is a middle class thing (or actually a rich thing) from a world perspective, if you’ve got enough money to feed an animal so they can be your friend, you’re a pretty fortunate human being.

  5. I never said I didn’t have an issue with pet ownership. I get theory and know the whole animals as property issue, etc. But I’m all simple, so the practical always wins out for me. In my ideal fulltime vegan world, there would be no pet ownership. But I live in this world and I’ve seen the euth piles and the bags full of dogs on their way to become filler in lipstick and soap and that are only here because some asshole thought he owned them and wanted to make some money of breeding them (they start as commodities when they are whole and alive and end up commodities again on the other end). I still want to know, what do you think should happen to the dogs in the shelter here, for real, now?

    I appreciate your opinion, I agree with you on more than it probably looks like I do. Is this just a rant though or is this–the prohibition of pet ownership– something you’re working on? I ask because its not my area of activism but I’ve heard vaguely of some legislation trying to knock out the legal definition of pets as property via the lawsuit fallout from the tainted pet food thing last year. We’ve got a long way to go though considering that it’s still socially acceptable in most circles to buy an animal from a breeder or pet store.

  6. browne has a point about working class people being targeted by PETA. People should be educated on humane animal treatment. I have first hand experience with this topic because I work near the fashion district and I see what she’s writing about. To see a mother selling baby bunnies on the corner with her kids next to her selling turtles and birds in carts is one of the most conflicting things I have ever encountered in my life. I want to blow up in their faces and yell at them about how cruel and evil it is to sell animals and having them out in the scorching sun all day long. These BABY animals have to endure the heat and the majority of them die from heat exhaustion later on. At the same time I have compassion for them because I know all they’re trying to do is make ends meat. At the end of the day, animal vendors are breaking some law like cd and dvd vendors and the city is going to come down on them not because it’s wrong, but because they make the place look tacky and that’s what they need to do in order to please “the people.”

  7. As for the whole pet ownership question, it can’t be helped. Some people have the habit of buying a pet because it is a status quo. People want pit-bulls to protect their valuable possessions and to show the neighbors that they’re so rich they can afford to spend $1,000 on a dog that will get stolen a few days later. Again educating the public is the only way change can ever take place. You have to be an example to others, then and only then will they actually pay attention. I’ve done it first hand because people ask me how I’m able to walk with my 100 lb. black lab around Evergreen cemetery every other night. It amazes them that my dog isn’t out of control lunging at them and so calm and peaceful. I agree that pet ownership has to stop and as much as i would love to have more dogs, chickens like EL CHAVO, goats, turtles, parrots and cats I know I shouldn’t own them because they deserve more respect than that. Shelter animals are always an exception because they have been removed from the homes of irresponsible care takers.

  8. “and the city is going to come down on them not because it’s wrong, but because they make the place look tacky a” el random hero

    That’s what I’m talking about the hypocrisy of the whole thing, the inauthenticity of the matter. It’s not about animals it’s about class.

    It’s about “you people make our city look bad” and I think that was the main point of the article in the downtown news, but yet no one calls out anna scott on that little detail.

    Why is it ok for this person to own a little dog, but it’s wrong for this person to own a chicken. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? If one is wrong the other is wrong. How dare some humans think their ownership of another living being is superior to someone else. A leash is a leash.

    It’s odd how certain people are always wrong and horrible and others are ok, because they call what they do “rescue” or they have a “permit.”

    For instance little brown kids do graffiti and they do jail time ala chaka a little rich white kid does graffiti you’re an artist, you’re shepard fairey.

    I’m sick of people using working class people to prove a point, because it’s fucking easy. It’s not about animals and it’s not doing anything, but giving corporate assholes what they want.

    Us and people like us to go away.

    And regards to me starting a movement to stop pet ownership, no, that’s not what I’m doing. If someone writes an editorial type article about something they are part of without stating it that would be called not having integrity. I have integrity.

    I’m not part of anything, but this blog (and mine.)

    I’m not a pr/marketing blogger, I’m an observe the city and talk about it blogger.


  9. you guys have got to be kidding with this “end pet ownership now” shit. that is perhaps the stupidest thing ive heard in years

    you do realize that these pets have been domesticated (look it up) for TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS, correct? Dogs, for example, were domesticated about 20,000 years ago. It’s not like we can just release them back into the wild at this point.

    So what do you geniuses propose we do with them all?

  10. Browne, you still haven’t answered my question. Since you find rescue so wrong, what do we do with unwanted pets?

    I don’t have pit bulls to show how rich I am or to protect my shit. They just happen to be the dogs that get thrown away the most and make up the greatest percentage of dogs killed in shelters. I didn’t buy them from an ad in the Pennysaver when they were puppies, I got them on the other end when they were on their way to the kill room.

    And I’ve met people before who have the belief that all rescue and keeping of animals is bad and that my dogs would be better off dead than living with me or anyone else who would take them in. And they were all white lady PETA supporters from Santa Monica and the leafier parts of Pasadena. A few of them were part-time vegans too!

    Luckily, where I live I don’t have to deal with that ivory tower I’m (theoretically, of course) veganer than you are bullshit. So while I appreciate how “hardcore” (as much as ranting on a blog can be considered hardcore)your beliefs are, just realize they aren’t all that original. PETA shares your opinion that all pet ownership is wrong. Sure, they go out and target some dude selling turtles in the street and send open letters to Paris Hilton (yes! yes! rich people with little dogs is wrong! thank you!) and you admittedly do nothing except repeat it over and over again a blog, but the core belief is the same.

    Bait taken. That was fun! I’m done though because I’m having flashbacks to the time some kid at a vegan restaurant tried to pull me into a Peter Singer circle jerk and anyway I have a tiny get-together to plan because it has been a year since Bootsy, a dog I’m oppressing by letting live with me, was pulled out of North Central on the very day he was due to get shot up with Fatal Plus. We celebrate life (and beer and soyrizo).

  11. “that is perhaps the stupidest thing ive heard in years” omg

    Now I think that is a bit of an exaggeration (your statement in regards to my assertion that pet ownership is bad,) but I like the spirit in which you state it.

    “Since you find rescue so wrong, what do we do with unwanted pets?” pitbullgirl

    Ok now the point of what I was saying was I think the story of the poor little animals wasn’t about poor little animals, but since I brought up the pet ownership thing, fine I’ll entertain that, since it bothers me when people avoid my obvious concerns and keep in mind I care…

    I think the idea of rescue in it’s current form is misguided. I think that the first thing rescues should stop doing is giving pure breed dogs branding. They shouldn’t have pitbull rescues, but big dog rescues, take the glamour and status out of owning a particular breed of animal.

    If you love an animal don’t describe it like a freakin purse.

    If you adopt a kid you don’t call it your little ethiopian baby, you call a baby, a baby, not trying to compare people with animals, but people who are into animal rights do think people are like animals, so what’s up with the inconsistency?

    The second thing they should do is actively make laws to stop the breeding of pure breed dogs (“reputable” rich people breeders included), which is not something animals do naturally. Wild dogs don’t discriminate in regards to breeds, maybe size, but the purebreed thing, that’s strictly a human thing.

    There should be no pure breed dogs walking around and when you talk about your dog like “my collie” “my poodle” “my beagle” you encourage the very thing that encourages puppy mills, unwanted pets and bad situations.

    The idea that you can adopt out every dog is crazy, but you can stop the breeding of dogs if you make breeding of dogs in all forms illegal.

    The organizations that has those dog contests, that should be dismantled.

    The organization that decides what breed is pedigree and what breed is defective, that should be dismantled.

    That’s what bringing about unwanted dogs, the marketing of them as things. The marketing of them as cool things.

    Of course making laws about the guy that ties up his dog in the backyard (and does lots of other annoying things to the newly gentrified residents) is alot easier, even if it’s doing way less than taking the above measures would do.

    And cats…I don’t think cats want to live with human beings. I don’t think cats like being with humans. I don’t think cats are all that domesticated and I think cats would be happy if they could live in some kind of reserve without intervention from human beings.

    If you have a dog now, I guess you’ll just have to keep them, but in 20 years we could end the marketing of pets as things.


  12. I won’t get into the debate above as I got that out of my system some time ago. But I would like to contribute something to the discussion, for whatever it’s worth.

    The class blinders of most of the veg movement (especially groups like PETA) is quite unfortunate, considering they could have many more allies if they weren’t so stuck in their middle class ways. And their shriek method of trying to convince people against eating animals; that guilt shit just doesn’t work in the long run. And it’s not gonna work in convincing others not to have pets either.

    I could live without my current cat, but man am I looking forward to having chickens again! And eating they’re eggs! Yeah, maybe that’s messed up but its true. One thing I’ve learned to accept are contradictions: you can strive for an ideal but it’s useful to also make room for the compromise. The slow introduction to an idea tends to go over better than the abrupt challenge.

    But I’ll shut up now.

  13. I think when you’re involved in a cause, you have to continue to think. When you stop thinking, people can use you. People can take what you’re doing, that you think is good and turn it into something bad.

    I’m a big proponent of the reevaluating of your causes and questioning why people want you to do certain things.

    I think you always have to think in a universal long-term way (if you have the luxury to do so.)

    I think many people have become very short sighted in regards to their causes, if you can’t discuss your beliefs and be critical of yourself then how are you going to do anything? How are you going to change anything?

    I think the average person is willing to try and listen as much as the person who is trying to tell them something would listen to them if the situation was reverse.

    I think that most people are more than decent. I think that most people are good. I think that in general there are very few assholes out there, but those few have a lot of power and they love for people who are at the bottom (cashing a check, making less than 100 k a year, because in the bigger picture there isn’t that much difference between 20k and 70k, a bigger house, a bigger car, but not that much of a difference) fight. They love for us to be suspicious of one another. They love for us to spend time on mickey mouse issues when it’s the few very rich which is causing all of the misery on the rest of us.

    I would never tell an individual person on a personal level to do anything. It’s not my place, but institutions and very rich people I will never stop trying to annoy the crap out of them, because while it may be a totally pointless exercise at least I am aiming at the correct target.


  14. Pingback: A Few Links: Black Veg*ns; PETA’s Race Problem (Again) « Vegans of Color

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