Does PETA have a meat wish?

By Mike Barnett

I’m either very confused about PETA and veganism or PETA is confused about veganism and eating meat.

Most of us have seen PETA propaganda where they douse people with blood at one of their anti-meat events. They’re famous for their advertisements of actresses in various stages of undress promoting their latest cause. Most of us have seen their images of Ronald McDonald portrayed as a raving lunatic clown chicken-slayer.

So it makes me wonder why PETA promoted hamburgers and hot dogs and kabobs on their Facebook page on the Fourth of July. Or go to their website and you can get recipes for “Baby Get Back Veggie Ribs,” “Fire-up-the-Grill Fajitas” and other delicacies such as Grilled Vegan Chicken (now that makes me wonder, was the chicken fed a vegan diet and thus okay; or is it chicken tofu?) Of course, these knock-offs are vegan versions of the real thing.

Seriously, I don’t have a problem with vegans, vegetarians or others with dietary preferences different than mine. To each his own. I do have problems with an animal rights activist group that portrays farmers and ranchers as vicious killers and livestock as victims.

Which brings me back to my point. Does PETA have a secret meat wish? That’s the only thing I can figure out. I find it curious they scream animal rights on the one hand, then entice their followers with meat imposters on the other. It seems a bit hypocritical to me to disguise vegetables as meat.

But then I’m not privy to PETA’s inner workings. Maybe it’s their attempt to keep the restless troops settled. Maybe it’s an attempt to soothe the meat beast inside us all.

It’s there, you know. It’s been there ever since man first put meat on a stick and stuck it over a fire. The aroma enticed him. The taste made him come back for more.

Somehow, coating bean curd sticks with margarine, peanut butter and a variety of other stuff, sticking them on the grill and calling it “Baby Get Back Veggie Ribs” doesn’t do it for me.

I’ll take Baby Backs from real pigs—grilled to perfection.


Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

15 Responses to “Does PETA have a meat wish?”

  1. Mike, my hat’s off to you if you can make logical sense of PETA. I think they’re all about ‘feelings’ and ‘good intentions’. Not logic. When they throw buckets of blood, and pull similar shenanigans they only paint themselves as extreme. So you’re ‘meat wish’ theory is as good as any I’ve heard.

  2. Most vegetarians don’t abstain from meat because they don’t *want* to eat it. Most don’t want to support the cruelty in factory farming. Some believe that killing animals at all for food is wrong. Either way, its an ethical decision to avoid something they may want because they believe its wrong. Is that really difficult to understand?

    • Gene Hall says:

      Well Grace, no,it’s not so hard to understand. Except the term for what you describe is not vegetarian, but VEGAN. A vegetarian just doesn’t eat meat. He or she doesn’t have the “attitude.” This post is about PETA and the somewhat amusing, feeble and futile attempts to reproduce meat products without meat. I can understand Grace…but when a extreme and militant group, with shameless stunts and aggressive tactics attempts to force their choice on the rest of us…there will be resistance. I promise. And we will make fun of them.

      • First of all, I am not the same person as “grace jones.” I would never argue that eating meat is inherently unhealthy.

        A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat. A vegan isn’t someone who doesn’t eat or use animal products (when avoidable). Attitude has nothing to do with it.

        Yeah, PETA uses silly stunts and has extreme opinions. However, I’ll support them as long as they keep fighting cruel factory farming practices.

        I’m probably not the only person who feels this way. When videos and reports of abuses in farming surface, this just gives ammunition to organizations like PETA and turns people away from eating meat. If you really want to defeat PETA, rather than making fun of them, you should work for better conditions for farmed animals.

        • Mike Barnett says:

          Thank you Grace, for taking a civil approach to this conversation. My feelings, PETA and other activists take those few reports of abuse and attempt to paint all livestock producers as abusive. They do have an ulterior motive. They want you and I and everyone else to quit eating meat. There are bad actors in any business including livestock, and those individuals should be forced out of the business.

    • grace jones says:

      Hey ‘Gene Hall,’ you can make fun of us vegetarians and vegans all you want – but OUR type of food is now readily available in ALL supermarkets, selling great, the market for fake meats, etc is WELL-ESTABLISHED…so go enjoy your meat-induced heart attack, colon cancer, stroke, etc; this country, because of people purveyors like you, ranks 14th!!! in health stats. Other countries using flesh sparingly far better than us – enjoy the cardiac unit at the hospital, babe.

      • Gene Hall says:

        Actually, Grace, if you read my comment again, I said we’d be ctricizing PETA, Not vegans and certainly not vegetarians. I have yet to meet the first livestock producer who would force someone who does not eat meat to do so. Sadly, the opposite is not true. According to recent Googling, some folks have health troubles on vegan diets. There’s some pretty good documentation. I appreciate your concern for my health. Are you telling me NO vegan has ever had heart disease? Now that would be interesting. My meat eating grandfather indeed died of a heart attack. He was 101, but I guess it caught up with him. Seriously now, it’s well established that lean meat can be part of a healthy diet. I eat lots of fruits and veggies, too Grace. I have no problem with your diet choices. I have a problem that you have a problem with mine. This is about all I have to say. The last word is yours…on topic please.

  3. April Reeves says:

    PETA is just swinging the pendulum at the opposite end to wake people up on BOTH sides. Humans don’t get anything until they get hit with an extreme example. While not everyone agrees with PETA, they have their place, and you know as well as anyone that not all farms that contain mass amounts of confined livestock are “happy and healthy”…. I think you likely do understand it, and if you don’t then maybe you need to police the “bad dogs” at your end of the pendulum, because they do exist.

  4. Mike Barnett says:

    April, there are a few bad apples in any barrel. We do not condone mistreatment of livestock in any form or fashion. Those convicted of animal cruelty should be put be out of the business entirely.

    • April Reeves says:

      Good! Then it seems that the only issue with PETA is their interpretation with what they consider to be “mistreatment”. Sows in tiny gestation crates is one. Chickens in battery cages with beaks cut off is another. What is the Texas Farm Bureau’s position on those? That is where the two of you could come together. All too often I watch 2 opposing views fight each other, but if you look closely, they are fighting for the same thing – just have different means of going about it. I appreciate all you do Mike. Thank you.

      • Gene Hall says:

        The day that Texas Farm Bureau opens negotiations with a group whose stated goal is the elimination of animal agriculture you can take a snow ski vacation in Hawaii. There could be negotiations on these things, but it’s difficult and it won’t be with PETA. First, it’s hard to negotiate with folks who are completely ignorant of production practices. I have personal experience with gestation crates almost 40 years ago on our farm. When they are eliminated, and I believe they will be due to pop culture influence and the lack of regard for farmers by some corporate executives, you will see a rise in pig mortality due to sows “turning around” and crushing them. This will be unintentional. Some sows will kill and devour their pigs quite intentionally. Sows will be much more stressed due to the hierarchy of the herd. If it were really people, we’d call it bullying and blog about it. Since PETA, HSUS and apparently you, insist on apply human characteristics to animals, these negotiations will be difficult. I don’t have direct experience with battery cages. But chickens don’t think much beyond, food, water, the hierarchy of the pecking order and whether or not they are safe from predators. All of which are accomplished by the cages. Again, pop culture will likely rule and they will eventually go away. Eggs will cost more, but poor folks really don’t need to eat them anyway, right? Sows and chickens don’t react to their environment in the same way people do. They are not doing needlepoint in front of the TV or studying for an algebra test. It’s all about food, water, the pecking order or predators. It’s not up to me, but I’m personally willing to discuss these things. But not with PETA. Even the best scenario for negotiating these issues will have people with absolutely no idea about livestock production making decisions about the future of animal farming.

        • April Reeves says:

          Those groups do not wish for the end of agriculture, just changes, so take that ski vacation. You also need to visit my neighbor who raises pigs without any crates. He’s laughing right now about your comment that pigs crush their babies, and that the herd hierarchy is dangerous. Yes, there are issues, but far less than the problems you face with crates that need endless drug protection for survival. How would you know though Gene, all you’ve ever experienced were massive confinement of animals…
          Thankfully someone has put some value, be it human characteristics or what ever!
          And thus, you apply your human views of what you think chickens feel and experience. Ditto…
          There are many highly experienced farmers who wish to see changes to confinement farming, and are real and worthy examples of how changes can be made and done. You need to get out of your crate one day and visit some of them.
          The Ice Age is coming for the old dinosaurs who continue to fight for beliefs that no longer serve them…

          • Gene Hall says:

            I know I said I was done, but since your friend (and you) have basically called me a liar, I will say only that I’ve seen it. I am responsible for this blog and there’s never been a word of it I’ve allow to be published that I did not believe to be true.
            I wish your friend well and I’m glad his system works for him. We can all use a good laugh, even a rude one. “Endless drug use” is hyperbole and a myth. I’ve been doing this for more than 34 years and I’ve seen all kinds of practices and condemn none of them. I know however, and if you start doing the math, you’ll understand there is not enough land on the planet to raise the animals required to meet the demand without high efficiency operations. As for your statements about chicken feelings…Huh? Applying human characteristics to animals leads you to the wrong place and the wrong conclusions…every single time.

            You need to do more research on PETA…their goal of eliminating ALL human directed use of animals is very clear. HSUS is better at obfuscation, but they are in the same ballpark. PETA with better retirement plans.

            You are pretty clever at rearranging words, but my statement remains true. This organization is NEVER going to negotiate with PETA. The reason for that is also true…as PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said…”A pig is a rat is a dog is a boy.” All the same…one should not be eating the other. They’ll take stopgap measures via negotiation and then start working on unconditional surrender the next day.

            I’ve really said the last I intend to on this subject. I have to get back to making sense of the lack of understanding of agriculture that you so clearly demonstrate. I hope you enjoy the blog. gh

  5. Sue Baumgardt says:

    Can I pick up what the article was complaining about – why does PETA promote fake meat. Well, I’m a vegan who grew up in a meat eating family and I loved meat. It was so delicious that I’d even eat some meat raw. But I reached a point in my life when I couldn’t square the fact that I loved animals yet was causing their deaths by eating their flesh. So I went veggie and it was a struggle. That was in the 1970s when “substitutes” were thin on the ground and not very tasty. Meat is an ingrained part of our food culture. Children are fed it long before they know where it comes from and by the time they realise, they’re hooked. So I often make “meat” style meals for people just to show them that you can still have traditional roasts and grills, but no animal has died to produce it. Many of these products are selling really well here in the UK.
    As for your comment about there not being enough land to raise the animals free range…… have you ever wondered if there’s enough land to grow the crops to feed all those animals? Right now we’re using the equivalent of the whole of Europe to grow feed for livestock – and that’s not counting all the fish we grind into fishmeal to feed farmed fish and other animals. Livestock farming is not only, according to the UN Food & Agriculture Committee, the biggest cause of global warming, it’s also taking food from the mouths of the poorest by using land to grow feed and helping to push up the price of grains and the dairy industry is a huge user of water, an ever more precious resource. So, sorry livestock farmers and all you meat eaters, your days are numbered as far as meat eating on a grand scale goes. Just for starters we need a return to meat being a respected luxury rather than a cheap snack. And as we regain our respect for other living creatures we may decide that we just don’t want to eat them anymore. I live in hope.

    • Gene Hall says:

      Thanks for posting Sue – I’ll only address one thing here, your comment about the land required and it is true. What cattle eat mostly is grass and hay…even those finished on grain. They eat mostly grass for the first part of their lives. Animals are the only way we have to harvest these grasslands for human consumption. In some of these places, grass is about the only thing we can grow. Our agricultural practices are not uniform.

      It’s the world’s desire to eat more meat, not less. Many of the world’s developing countries, China, Brazil and India among others, are upgrading their diets to include more animal protein. In a world that runs on fossil fuels, the contention that livestock contributes more to climate change is laughable. I don’t know how old you are, but for these reasons and others, neither of us is likely to see the end of meat consumption. Obviously, we are not ever going to agree on this, and I think some of your assumptions are not correct, but I like the way you do an argument. Best wishes

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