Peta Essay, Research Paper
The Social Movement:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Social movements as defined by James M. Henslin, are “large numbers of people who organize to promote or resist social change” (398). Keeping this definition in mind one group is immediately thought of, (PETA) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is an international non-profit organization based in Norfolk, VA that is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.
If it were not for social change, “the alteration of culture and societies over time” (Henslin 388), PETA would have never been formed. Over the past twenty years there has been a vast increase in the number of animal cruelty cases, animals used for testing and fashion purposes, while the newest case being the genetic engineering of animals. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time on factory farms, in laboratories, in the fur trade, and in the entertainment industry. As well as smaller issues including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and the abuse of backyard dogs.
The PETA is a reformative social movement because they seek to reform the way society treats animals. According to their mission statement, “PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” PETA has been responsible for many animal rights historic cases. Two being the closing of the largest horse slaughter house in the United Sates and the winning of the first U.S. Supreme Court victory for animals in laboratories which put a ban on the use of cats or dogs for any testing what so ever. PETA’s other accomplishments include the banning of animal testing for cosmetic purpose, the uncovering and prosecution against individuals who have intentionally harmed animals for enjoyment, bringing the animal rights movement to Hollywood with “The Rock Against Fur” and “The I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign, and they now fight against the Dairy Farmers of America to stop the use of growth hormones in cows.
The PETA has been very successful in accomplishing its goals since it was founded in 1980. Their organization has opened the public’s eyes to issues that they might otherwise think do not affect them. Before the PETA people were unaware the torture animals were put through so a tube of lipstick could be made or that horses were often slaughtered and passed off as beef in many restaurants.
The next major issue the PETA faces is the dairy farmer’s. Recently these farmers have been injecting their cows with a genetically engineered growth hormone that is still waiting to be proven safe for humans and cows. Even without the use of this hormone many PETA members believe that cows are treated like machines because of the unnatural way and schedule’s they are milked on. They prefer alternatives to dairy such as soy and rice milk as well as Tofutti ice cream.
PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events with celebrity involvement, and direct action to extend their knowledge to the general public. For college level students they provide many internship opportunities as well as a web site www.collegeactivists.com where students can find additional information about the PETA to bring to their campuses. However I don t feel as though I would ever be inclined to join the PETA even though I do support ,animal rights. After reading many of the articles on their website I have found the PETA to be an extremeist group where the majority of the members are vegans which means they eat no animal products at all. There is a difference between killing animals cruelly and killing animals to continue the cycle of the food chain.