No, I’m not promoting the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). On the contrary, I think it’s an inappropriate, irrelevant, and a misplaced advocacy in a third world country such as the Philippines.
Last Friday, three women, an American, Canadian, and a Filipino, with only lettuce leaves covering their private parts, demonstrated outside the Quiapo Church at noon, carrying placards which said “SAVE THE PLANET, GO VEGETARIAN.”; “ILIGTAS ANG MUNDO, MAGING VEGETARIAN”. Of course, they attracted the noonday crowd who were ready to eat the lettuce, and more…. These women and their support group should have been hauled right into the prison cell. Why, choose Quiapo church of all places? Whom were they trying to convince to become vegetarians, the masses in Plaza Miranda? Many are in fact going hungry and wouldn’t mind eating “animals” or “plants”, whichever would be available at affordable prices.
PETA is a first world invention, an advocacy which is being exported to third world countries and unfortunately, since it is a well-funded campaign, there are willing partners even here in the Philippines.
I’m not sure if I’m being the odd man out here, but I read their campaign statements and found them weird and inappropriate where there are many food-poor people.
Take this one, “PETA believes that animals ... are capable of suffering and have an interest in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use — for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, or any other reason.”
Then they have this campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken. PETA claims that “more than 850 million chickens are killed every year for KFC. They are crammed into sheds, mutilated, suffer from broken wings and legs, and are often still completely conscious when their throats are slit and they are dunked into tanks of scalding-hot water. We need your help to persuade KFC to implement real animal welfare standards and stop this hideous cruelty.”
Well, our partner NGO in Gingoog provides micro-financing to women’s groups that raise chicken which they sell to Sr. Pedro, a popular chicken-barbecue stand (similar to Andoks) with several branches in Cagayan de Oro City. I don’t think Sr. Pedro puts the chicken to sleep before slaughtering them! And I don’t think the women feel that they are violating the chicken’s rights!
There is nothing wrong with promoting vegetarianism but to compare pigs in livestock farms to the “Jews in concentration camps during the Holocaust” is absurd. There are more important advocacies than this. Rather than focusing on the animals, put the people’s rights first! People have the right not to go hungry. If they want to promote vegetarianism, then promote crop and vegetable production. Start with the advocacy for a more equitable access to the land, prohibition against the conversion of prime agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses. Or promote various recipes using malunggay, talbos kamote, and tokwa that can provide cheap but nutritious food to the majority of the people.
I wonder what the local PETA partners are getting?