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Column: PETA uses shock tactics? Of course we do. We have to.

Animal rights group PETA are to launch an .xxx website that will juxtapose pornographic sexual images with pics of animal cruelty. PETA’s manager explains that they have to be provocative to get their arguments noticed.

Mimi Bekhechi

IN PREPARATION FOR the new .xxx web domain that will launch later this year, businesses are rushing to pre-register their websites to prevent cybersquatters from creating X-rated rip-offs of their brands. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) US affiliate is also signing up.

They’re launching a graphic “not safe for work” (NSFW) website that will open people’s eyes to the hideous cruelty being inflicted daily upon billions of animals exploited in the meat, fur and circus industries. Some of the most graphic videos not allowed on TV will be debuted on the site: cruelty to animals laid bare.

Yes, a PETA US triple-X site is a provocative idea – but that’s the point! PETA and our affiliates worldwide have gained a reputation for bold actions because we are willing to go where few organisations dare, as long as we remain true to our mission: making people aware of issues affecting animals.

Nude models, male and female, have paraded through the streets proclaiming, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur!” They have gone out in nothing more than a dab of body paint to protest the cruelty of the fur industry and lain nearly nude inside Styrofoam containers labelled “meat”.

It’s our racier actions that get people to pay attention

Compassionate US adult-film stars Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson have posed in our ads promoting spaying and neutering companion animals – reminding the public that “too much sex can be a bad thing” and showing that you can be interested in extreme sex and still care about animals.

While it would be comfier to hold a news conference in our office attire and have animal-related issues widely covered, in a world of nonstop multi-platform media, it’s our racier actions that get people to pay attention to the plight of animals. And getting the word out can mean the difference between life and death. In the UK alone, approximately 900 million land animals are bred every year for the sole purpose of having their bodies chopped up, stamped with a label and stuck into cellophane packages on supermarket shelves.

Like us, every one of those animals has a unique personality and feelings, and they form families and friendships if given the chance. But filthy factory farms deny animals everything that is natural and important to them, condemning them to living in their own waste in cramped cages, stalls or sheds until, terrified, they are loaded onto lorries bound for the abattoir.

People shouldn’t be shocked to learn of PETA US plans to register the PETA.xxx website. It’s as important to reach people who visit triple-X sites as it is to reach sports aficionados or music fans. And while many people are opposed to pornography, judging from the massive popularity of X-rated sites, a great many more enjoy taking a peek at what’s getting everyone so hot and bothered in the first place. The job of PETA and our affiliates is to show as many people as possible why stopping the truly obscene abuse of animals is something worth
bothering about.

So we hope that people who gravitate toward NSFW sites will have a look at PETA.xxx, while those who might find it objectionable are invited, as always, to visit PETA.org.uk. Whether through titillation, offense or something in between, PETA and our international affiliates will continue to do whatever we can to draw attention to animal suffering and create a kinder world for animals.

Mimi Bekhechi is manager of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

PETA to launch pornography website>

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Mimi Bekhechi

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