Hardened hearts. We can say that the affront to the dignity of sentient beings everywhere is the symptom of a hardened heart. Words like ethics and compassion are often thrown around in an attempt to combat a hard heart. However, what happens to the message when an activist begins to blur the waters of ethics, or when an activist turns from a center of compassion?
What happens to your message, PETA, when you pay attractive women to strip their clothes for your “caged tiger” demonstrations and your “I’d rather go naked” campaign? Does dehumanizing women become an expression of your message? And what can I say to you, Stewart David, concerning the incident at Malaprop’s on July 6 [“All Up in Your Grill,” Aug. 8 Xpress]? I wonder if your message is being clearly represented. Clearly people present on that day felt that your demonstration became a spectacle of disrespect and immaturity rather than a call for compassion. Will they then remember the face of that little pig on your banner as it fades into the backdrop? Drop the “cause” of your bruised ego, and help us to remember the pig.
Finally, to the PETA activist whom I admire most: You win me over each day not by boycotting bookstores, picketing the dinner table, or even by leafleting. You win me over when you live your life through a center of compassion and conviction. It is the way you love your companion animals, the way you rescue imprisoned insects, the way you bring home vegan goodies that make me want to read your literature. Because you have not reserved your compassion and ethics to only animals but also to people, you have been able to reach my hard heart. And so I appeal to the reader: Please check out www.mercyforanimals.org for more information.
— Bryan Gillette