Thursday, August 30

Going For Backlash: Humane Society & PETA

As covered by The New York Times, The Humane Society and PETA have taken an interesting position on global warming: Hummers are good; hamburgers are bad.

"Environmentalists are still pointing their fingers at Hummers and S.U.V.’s when they should be pointing at the dinner plate,” said Matt A. Prescott, manager of vegan campaigns for PETA, who said PETA is outfitting a Hummer with a driver in a chicken suit and a vinyl banner proclaiming meat as the top cause of global warming.

While the Humane Society is placing its faith in a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report that claimed the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined, we might point out one obvious flaw — it's not the eaten animals that are contributing to greenhouse gases.

There are others. Disrupting the habitats of animals to drill for oil might qualify as hypocrisy. Alienating increasingly environmentally-conscious consumers by stating they “cannot be a meat-eating environmentalist” seems counterproductive. And promoting the concept of choosing the lesser of two evils seems, well, off the ranch.

While the ad might work in achieving some media buzz for its B-grade shock value, it has no strategic merit. If anything, all it really does is reinforce what critics has been saying for years: they don't care about doing right as much as being right. (In the article, Prescott all but said they are counting on critics to make this ad an issue.)

And that's too bad. Given that 87 percent of those surveyed in one recent study said they are seriously concerned about the environment (though not necessarily ready to give up meat and SUVs), the timing couldn't be worse. Why? Because crackpot creative might get some publicity, but it's often at the expense of credibility.



Alice on 8/30/07, 12:42 PM said...

PETA and the Humane Society are two completely different organizations.

Rich on 8/30/07, 12:53 PM said...

Hi Alice,

That may be true, but both organizations are coordinating their efforts to promote this campaign. I am surprised as you seem to be.

From the story, PETA had written to more than 700 environmental groups, asking them to promote vegetarianism. The Humane Society of the United States took up the issue and produced the ad shown on the blog.

All my best,

Geoff_Livingston on 8/30/07, 1:10 PM said...

Maybe the hired Miss Teen South Carolina to do write the concept.

Rich on 8/30/07, 1:24 PM said...

That's a gem Geoff.

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to reverse global warming caused in part by fuel emissions because some people out there in our nation eat meat, like such as.” — unknown copywriter

Geoff_Livingston on 8/30/07, 2:07 PM said...

It would have been a better gem if I had read it before clicking publish.

Or perhaps it's Britney and Lindsay behind this one. Hope you posted this on Spin Thicket.

Kim on 8/30/07, 2:20 PM said...

Wow....I've donated to the Humane Society several times in the past. But no more. Unfathomable to think that they would use their time and resources (not to mention donations) to pay for silly, unimaginative drivel like this and then pay to run it.

I guess it's more important to them to show how hip and controversial they are than to feed and care for animals in need.

From now on, I'll donate directly to my local shelter instead. At least I know my donation will be used to feed animals, not place useless ads that do nothing to further the Humane Society's mission.

Rich on 8/30/07, 3:43 PM said...

Hey Kim, how do you really feel? ;)

Geoff, how come? Britney and Lindsay don't eat meat? I didn't know that.

Coincidentally, the animals in the shelters are not fed Vegetarian diets, adding to the global warming I imagine. However, I just read today that you can create a Vegetarian diet for pets. Whether this is good idea or propaganda, I cannot say.


Anonymous said...

Wow most of you seem to be really missing the point, livestock production is more than just the cow or pig, it's the ENTIRE chain of events that go into it. You just don't understand because it's indirect maybe. When you factor in all the food that has to be grown for livestock, all the clear-cutting to graze them, all the fuel that goes into farming and transpotation and all the rest. It's amazing how so many people cannot or refuse to see the uncomfortable consequences of the actions whether direct or indirect. Why does it matter to you that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving a hummer anyways?

Rich on 9/1/07, 5:58 PM said...

"Why does it matter to you that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving a hummer anyways?"

Good question. That's another reason the campaign fails.

I'm sorry to disagree with your assessment, but unless you living in a cave, there are always going to be some environmental consequences to existence. Can we live better with the environment. You bet. But does it always have to mean forced deprivation? Nope.

I do understand the point, perhaps more than you think and maybe even more than you. What's more amazing to me is how so many people can accuse and judge others of being responsible for this and that when, in fact, the accusers are equally guilty.

It matters to me because this is blatant fear marketing that employs disingenuous spin on a grand level and polarizes people more than it hopes to bring them together to find workable solutions. And that should matter to you too.

All my best,


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