I would be extremely shocked if I found a person (over the age of 18) who didn’t know what P.E.T.A. was. I would be equally shocked if I didn’t hear said person speak negatively about P.E.T.A…not that I can necessarily blame them. The organization of P.E.T.A. has developed an interesting reputation for themselves…as well as all who are involved, no questions asked.
What are the first three words that come to you mind when you hear or see “P.E.T.A.”? Psychotic. Drastic. Obnoxious. Those (among other, less civil words…) seem to be most common along with other variations with the same meanings. For the most part, I almost agree simply because of some of the measures P.E.T.A. protestors have resorted to in the past. For example: dumping gallons of red paint, mock blood, on models at shows modeling fur coats, vests, etc. Everyone understands that particular message, but going that far makes people less likely to side with you, hm? Even more likely, it will make people angry and resistant to your current cause which also hurts future efforts of yourself as well as anyone else associated with you organization.
It’s reasons like those that I never make it known that I, myself, am a member of P.E.T.A. I’m a vegetarian, an animal lover, and an animal activist. I’ve written about my choice to be vegetarian before…as well as my choice to not force that choice on others. I don’t eat meat because I’m disgusted by the fact that I’m eating an animal, and I’d rather not do it. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t mean eating meat bothers other people, and if I try to force someone to become vegetarian simply because I think it’s wrong to eat meat, of course they’re going to resist. And be angry, natrually.
I joined P.E.T.A. because I believe and support what they stand for: ethical treatment of animals. That’s not to say I necessarily support every single thing they do…because I can’t always say I’m 100% behind all the actions they take. However, I do participate. I write letters, I help with the organization of some public displays and (peaceful) protests, I respond to blogs, newsletters, and other entries of what ever sort. There are plenty of other things within this organization that I stay away from.
Basically, the only reason I’m writing this is because I feel sort of guilty never owning up to the fact that I’m a member of this organization. Of course, I have very valid and understandable reasons, don’t I? I have told people about my association before…and can you take a wild guess at the assumptions and accusations I faced afterwards? It sucks. What can I say though? P.E.T.A. has created a certain reputation for itself…that I can’t change. People will always associate that particular acronym with a certain brand of behavior and actions.
Sucks for me and the many other members I’ve met that are in my boat. We know what we signed up for, though, by joining such a group. I can’t help what people will assume when hearing I am associated with P.E.T.A. no matter how many times I swear up and down that not every member conducts themselves in the same way. On the other hand, I’d rather the fact that I belong to something with such a message (which, when you look through all the “crazy”, is honestly a good message…) than hide from it.
So, I’m a member of P.E.T.A. I have been for almost 8 years. Judge away.