Today my attention was drawn to an article on the BBC website concerning a billboard created by PETA.
(image taken from the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-17665260)
The poster was displayed in Gloucester near to where a mortuary has recently been built to accommodate obese bodies. Many vegetarians and vegans that I know have a conflicted attitude toward PETA, appreciating in some ways their dedication to animal rights but in many other ways despairing at their militancy. In short, they give us a bad name. But perhaps it’s unavoidable.
The poster has been criticised for its insensitive and irrelevant placement (Gloucester is one of the less obese counties in England), but reading through some of the readers responses on various news websites there also appears to be other criticisms. Some have suggested that the billboard proves that not eating meat makes you stupid; others have expressed their opinion that the poster is simply inaccurate (they followed a vegetarian diet and gained weight).
So what is it that is so controversial about this poster aside from its location? This blogger thinks that the controversy lies somewhere between the suggestion that if one follows a vegan diet one will not be obese, and the confusion as to why someone should GO VEGAN. As one commenter aptly stated, a vegan diet does necessarily equate to a healthy diet, and equally a meat diet does not necessarily equate to an unhealthy diet. So the PETA’s demand ‘FIGHT OBESITY. GO VEGAN’ is already a misleading and misguided one. What the group is also guilty of is alienating the act of going vegan from the reasoning behind it. This is not to suggest that one person should not go vegan simply for health reasons, but rather that PETA, an animal rights organisation, should not be confusing the issues in this way. Please try and keep animal rights and healthy eating separate, PETA.