Farm Press Blog

PETA and the death of sanity

  • Whether leveling ridiculous accusations against ranchers, or making outrageous charges against farmers, or even assaulting the sensibilities of U.S. pet owners, publicity-hungry PETA ups the ante each year with increasingly desperate litigation.

It’s unfair to label People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as an extremist organization. Giving PETA that tag is an unjust, terrible insult to true extremists, radicals and nuts across America. PETA is well off of any “extremist” chart or scale.

Whether leveling ridiculous accusations against ranchers, or making outrageous charges against farmers, or even assaulting the sensibilities of U.S. pet owners, publicity-hungry PETA has become a caricature of itself as it ups the ante each year with increasingly desperate litigation.

PETA’s latest bizarre gags and rantings seem to have been taken directly from a lost Monty Python skit. In protest of North Carolina’s annual “Brasstown Opossum Drop,” PETA marched into court and got a state judge to block the coming New Year’s possum party. Every Dec. 31 for the past 20 years, Brasstown residents have lowered a caged possum (plexiglass container) onto a stage to mark the coming year — and then let it go in the woods.

According to the News & Observer, Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. (with the acumen of Lance Ito) issued the following: “Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for: Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Morrison’s jaw-dropping decision to end the possum drop was an absolute stunner — the possum is not even injured in the slow descent.

An American judge placing Patrick Henry on the same level with a possum has got to be virgin judicial territory.

But even the possum case pales beside PETA’s actions in October 2012, over the mass death of some aquatic beings — fish. In Irvine, Wash., an unlucky trucker accidently spilled 1,600 pounds of bass onto the city streets. Writing to the Public Works Department, PETA asked that a roadside sign be erected as a memorial to the fallen fish.

“Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you’ll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case, in order to remind drivers that all animals — whether they’re humans, basset hounds or bass — value their lives and feel their pain,” wrote PETA’s Dina Kourda.

Basset hounds? Where did that come from? Basset hounds?

Not to be outdone by Kourda, PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne further amplified the tragedy: "Hundreds of fish perished in this accident, suffocating slowly on the roadway."

At last report, PETA was still banging away, trying in vain to get Irvine to build a fish monument.

Think the possum and the fish are just exceptions or fringe portrayals? In January 2010, PETA said Punxsutawney Phil was being abused by crowd noise and camera flashes at the annual Pennsylvania Groundhog Day festival. PETA unsuccessfully demanded the festival replace Phil with a robot groundhog.

And just days ago, PETA stepped up to the Thanksgiving plate and took a swing at the annual White House "turkey pardon." PETA President Ingrid Newkirk asked President Obama to administer the coup de grace to the event: "You understand so well that African-Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community have been poorly served throughout history, and now I am asking you to consider other living beings who are ridiculed, belittled, and treated as if their sentience, feelings, and very natures count for nothing."

Only PETA could get away with using gay rights to springboard a campaign for turkey liberation. Any other organization lumping African-Americans, women, gays and turkeys into a natural civil rights conglomerate would be vilified as "Bigots of the Year."

With 2013 just around the bend, you can be sure PETA will be looking to extend its umbrella of protection beyond Patrick Henry, fish, turkeys, and basset hounds. Cockroaches and fire ants next? We shall see…

Discuss this Blog Entry 6

ZeroSum2 (not verified)
on Nov 19, 2012

PETA is just a good idea that has gone crazy. This story is a glaring example of them "going way too far." Who pays these people? Thanks for pointing out just how ridiculous PETA's stances are.

lisa clark-kahn (not verified)
on Nov 19, 2012

Your articule suggests that you make money off of people not evolving their views on animals is my guess right.Hey you live once im on petas side with compassion and evolved thinking toward ALL sentient beings.All the things you mentioned about peta are totally correct .Think about fish how silly,no not really they feel pain ,being upset that a wild animal is trapped in a cage with loud music and lights kinda mean actually.Fur kinda sucks actually,putting a hook through a sentient beings face kinda crappy,leather and factory farms mean.Animal experiments yep mean to.Puppy mills they suck to.Circuses that have tigers jumping through fire hoops and living on the backs of trucks kinda mean and sucky. Hey im on petas side on all those things and proud of it.

Buck6 (not verified)
on Apr 15, 2013

Death is not acceptable. Not even for a blade of grass. If PETA really knew what it was doing. It would advocate that we all become members of the religous group known as "JAINS " in India. Go Figure....

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 21, 2012

What is the point of this rant? PETA do both good and bad. Shame you only look at the bad or what average stupid people consider crazy to make a pointless article.

ylisabet2 (not verified)
on Mar 12, 2013

While I am not an advocate for using wildlife (stuffed or otherwise) for these types of events, I would like to commend the event organizers at the Tallapoosa, Ga ‘Possum Drop’ for not using a live opossum at their annual NYE event! Unfortunately, my home state of North Carolina is not nearly as progressive as our neighboring state! Our NC legislators and event organizers for the Brasstown, NC event are clearly not ‘up to speed’ regarding animal rights …. totally disregarding them as ‘sentient beings.’ Just because you do not understand a species does not make it ‘dumb’….it merely reflects our inability to fully understand it! That reflects our ignorance…not theirs!!! Empathy, Compassion, Respect for Wildlife …this is the message we should be sending our young people. What’s the point of saving our planet for future generations if they don’t understand the other creatures they co-exist with?
Please STOP the use of a 'live' opossum at this event! Go to .. Sign & Share the "Say NO to the Possum Drop in NC" petition! Thank you for making a positive difference!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 4, 2013

This article is very eye opening! I new PETA was a corrupt and ill-informed organization, but I had no idea they would go as far as to attack a tradition such as the "Possum Drop." I believe that evryone who supports PETA should see articles such as this. Maybe they will realize how twisted their precious organization truly is! Thank you for writing this!

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