NEVER HAVING BEEN an organisation to shy away from controversy, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently announced its latest campaign to highlight abuses against animals: pornography.
PETA confirmed that it had filed papers to launch a triple-X website ahead of this December – when the domain becomes available – in order to bring “important animal protection issues to a larger audience”.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, spokesperson for PETA Sandra Smiley said the website would help to raise awareness about animal rights by making the message “impossible to forget”.
The organisation says it aims to showcase pornographic images alongside videos highlighting the realities of animal cruelty.
“Launching a website with an .xxx domain name will help (PETA) achieve that goal by reaching a whole new audience of people, some of whom will be shocked by graphic imagery that isn’t necessarily going to be of the variety that they expect,” she said.
When asked how extreme the website’s imagery was likely to be, Smiley said the content of PETA.xxx “will be graphic in more ways than one”.
Not everyone is enamoured with the idea, however, with some critics decrying the concept as demeaning to women.
Jennifer Pozner, executive director of the New York-based advocacy group Women In Media & News, told the Telegraph that PETA “consistently used active sexism as their marketing strategy to garner attention”. She added: ” Their use of sexism has gotten more extreme and more degrading”.
The organisation does appear to have developed a habit for using unclad (usually female) models as a method of driving home its message about animal rights. The trend started in the 1980s with the famous “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign.
Some PETA campaigns have proved more controversial than others, particularly of late. Recently, a Facebook page, called Real Women Against PETA, was set up after the group released an advert showing an overweight woman in a bikini alongside the message: “Save the wales – lose the blubber, go vegetarian”.
Another Facebook page created recently, Vegans and Vegetarians Against PETA, has been joined by those who believe in the cause of animal rights but not with PETA’s methods.
However, the organisation has brushed off criticisms that the new website may be offensive to women. Smiley said: “Years ago, women were told that it was ‘disgraceful’ to show their knees, an idea that we all find laughable today. Our bodies are our own, not someone else’s – neither the state nor any other human being should be able to tell us to cover our bodies up. All of those featured on PETA.xxx are willing adults dedicated to helping animals”.
She added that the site would include a ‘Not Safe for Work’ feature, which will show “off-limits videos that you might not expect because it will show that animals are not willing participants in a lot of human pursuits”.