PETA prances out playmates, but is anyone influenced to go vegetarian?
Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals surely have their hearts in the right place, but do their sexy stunts really influence people like me, a proud carnivore? Not in the slightest.
As a single, meat-eating man, I am probably their target audience when they strut sexy models and celebrities in lettuce-wrap bikinis to attract attention to their vegetarian causes. But here's the problem: Most men like me see absolutely no relation between sex and eating. They are simply two things that rank high in things we like to think about and do. And until the sex stops in our lives because of the food we ingest, we will continue to patronize fast food drive-thrus and have barbecues and eat all-beef hot dogs at sporting events.
Likewise, when PETA recruits models like 2008's Playboy Cyber Girl of the Year Jo Garcia and 2008's Playboy Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole, I will accept their free veggie dogs, like the ones they handed out on Capitol Hill this week, but will I resist the desire to wrap them in bacon? Probably not. In fact, I'd go a step further and secretly hope that vegetarianism never fully takes off so that PETA will be forced to continue to use such male-friendly marketing approaches.
Here's what PETA should realize: Men can change their ways, and yes, women could be the impetus that could lead us toward healthier diet, which in turn could also lead to a better world. But attractive, mostly naked women, in public places, doing weird and wild things, are feeding into male fantasies, as opposed to repulsing our animalistic impulses.
If anything, these women are making us salivate while making us think about food. How on earth is that supposed to prevent us from wanting a Double-Double at In-N-Out?
The German women to the right have an approach that I can get behind. Although this banner says "Wash your conscience clean -- become vegetarian," a different sign from the same demonstration in Frankfurt this week claimed that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of ground beef. While studies vary as to exactly how much water is needed for cattle, a regularly quoted Newsweek line claims that "the water that goes into a 1,000-pound steer would float a destroyer."
At the risk of alienating myself from the rest of my bachelor brotherhood, I have to say that this sort of logic actually speaks to me: "Before you order that chili burger from Tommy's or that steak at Ruth's Chris, think about what it took to create that delicious dish, and in the case of beef, it took lots and lots and lots of water. Water that could be used for more important things than the red meat that will please your palate but will rot your intestines."
Meanwhile, do I think KFC tortures chickens? Do I think about most of the food that ends up in my TV dinner? Do I spend any time whatsoever concerning myself with ideas about animals having souls or what their place is in the social ladder of life on Earth?
Of course not. If I did I wouldn't eat veal at my favorite Los Feliz Italian restaurant, nor would I dine on raw fish at my favorite secret sushi haunt in Westchester. PETA is clearly targeting men with their nudish stunts, but as a man I can tell you that we don't think when we eat, which is one reason why you can find sizes larger than XXL at Wal-Mart.
Although their demonstrations are fascinating, and their posters and protests are somewhat titilating, PETA should ask itself "what made us become vegan and vegetarian?" Odds are it wasn't some stunt held in the middle of a town square as photographers clicked away. Something tells me that their eating habits were either formed at a young age or changed after something traumatic happened.
Babes in lettuce bikinis are traumatic to no one and only influence creative fashion designers, not carnivores.
-- Tony Pierce
Photos, from top: Playmates Jayde Nicole and Jo Garcia hand out
vegetarian hot dogs at PETA's Annual Capitol Hill Veggie-Dog Lunch in
Washington; two women shower behind a banner reading "Wash your
conscience clean -- become vegetarian" in Frankfurt, Germany; a
PETA demonstration outside the American Veterinary Medical Assn.
conference this month in Seattle; another angle on the veggie-dog
giveaway on Capitol Hill.
Photo credits, from top: Kris Connor / Getty Images; Mario Vedder / AFP/Getty Images; Kevin P. Casey / Associated Press; Kris Connor / Getty Images
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