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My PETA Pet Peeve


This blog post was originally published on Modestly Yours:

As an Orthodox Jew, I have to be against animal cruelty. There is a concept in the Torah called tzar ba’alei chayim which prohibits causing pain to a living creature. However, just because I’m against torturing animals doesn’t mean that I am pro-PETA.

Here’s the question of the day: How can an organization that fights so adamantly against the exploitation of animals turn around and exploit women in the name of anti-animal exploitation? See for yourself. (Or don’t–WARNING: scantily clad women in the link.)

It’s not just the nudity that has me all worked up here. It’s portraying women as sex kittens (pun intended) – using their sexuality to make the sale – that I find so disturbing. Interestingly enough, the one naked man that they feature on their site, as you’ll see, is not portrayed in a sexy way, but in a silly, over-the-top, humorous way. So is that the message they want us to take home? Men are marketable for their sense of humor, but women only for their sex appeal?

PETA, if you’re reading this, I have two things to say to you: One – just because public nudity is appropriate for animals doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for humans. And two – using a woman’s sexuality to advance your agenda is not exactly ethical.




  1. i am a vegetarian (almost vegan) and an ardent supporter of most pro-animal groups (including PeTA) but i have also found some of the groups’ (like PeTA) agendas to be a little bit suspect… that isn’t to say that i don’t think they should raise eyebrows and make people think!
    However, there are much better ways to be subtle (and tsnius!) to make the point about animal cruelty ring home!
    Yet, i think it’s pretty obvious that PeTA is trying to reach out in titillating fashion because it knows that in the U.S. with its “puritanical views” it can get exposure (literally and figuratively) and as well, PeTA sees that sex sells. It’s an unfortunate part of our world today.

  2. R. Klempner : May 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the blog…I just discovered it last night and I had to visit again today!
    I think PETA and many similar groups are nicer to animals (or the environment, or people they’ll never meet in far off, poverty-stricken locations…) because it’s a lot easier to be nice to something or someone that doesn’t annoy you ever and doesn’t make any demands on you. The same person who is so careful not to hurt an animal or who sends money to take care of orphans in Africa (which are truly two worthwhile causes) is no less likely to yell at their spouse for forgetting to take the trash out. Or less likely to get mad at their kid when they complain about a dinner that you spent 1/2 an hour cooking them. That’s why we are told to “love your fellow as yourself”, with the #1 fellow being the people in your own house. That’s actually much more rigorous than being nice to puppies, minks, and whales.

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Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.