Define "Ethical" 

It's that time of year again. You know - that special Sunday when you get all your snacks together and get all comfortable in front of the television so you can not watch the annual banned PETA ad.

You are probably familiar with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). That's the organization that uses back door tactics to push its radical agenda that includes the banning of pet ownership; the group who sees a puppy snoozing comfortably on your bed and thinks the "ethical" thing to do would be to kill him rather than have him "exploited" so cruelly.

Every year the organization initiates this farce wherein it submits a deliberately provocative advertisement to be run during the Super Bowl and, when it is rejected, announces its outrage to the media who just love any story with the word "BANNED" in it. Good little puppets that they are, the media runs with it, usually ending with the fact that the BANNED AD can be viewed on PETA's website.

You're supposed to be shocked. So shocked that you go out of your way to visit their website and view their propaganda and creative statistics with all the attention you may not have given it had it run when they supposedly wanted it to run.

You can't buy that kind of advertising. And, since 30 seconds of Super Bowl ad time is running at around $3 million, PETA is certainly getting their money's worth.

While ads in the past have featured graphic depictions of animal slaughter, more recently PETA has been leaning toward soft porn (primarily naked women) to encourage Americans to turn to vegetarianism - because they are not quite as concerned with exploiting humans as they are, about animals.

Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against vegetarians. I've got a sufficient arsenal of vegetarian recipes that if someone of that persuasion comes to dinner, they won't leave hungry. But I have this sneaking suspicion that vegetarians don't love food like a food lover loves food - otherwise they would have to acknowledge their diet, in terms of enjoyment - Just. Doesn't . Cut. It.

Well, that's neither here nor there. Like it or not, PETA has used far-fetched statistics and sometimes post hoc fallacies to connect meat eating or milk drinking with some wacky consequences like child abuse, autism, gender change and cancer.

I suppose the most ironic of their ads connects the consumption of meat with impotency, ignoring 400,000 years of population growth and evolutionary development. No point in letting solid facts get in the way of a really explosive ad campaign.

I'm sure no intelligent adult is fooled by PETA's manipulation of the media. But what about those who are defenseless in the face of mindless propaganda; those who are unable to think for themselves or are not smart enough to research phony statistics for themselves?

No, I'm not talking about children. I'm talking about Hollywood actors. There they are, poor things, looking all serious and clever about their dietary choice, some of them flinging off their clothes, claiming vegetarianism, not genetics and luck, landed them where they are today. They're too smug and stupid naive to realize the noble organization for which they are speaking also would like to take their pink designer-dyed Chihuahua-poo that goes so well with their pink Prada bag and kill it in the back of a van - for its own good, you understand.

By way of disclaimer, Dirtman and I breed Australian Shepherds - purebred dog breeding being yet another of PETA's targets. And I will admit that not all breeders follow the code of ethics put forth by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and I grant that the AKC could be more diligent in backing up that code.

Every organization has its radical fringe. PETA is nothing but radical fringe. Even the lackadaisical AKC takes action when undeniable infractions take place on the part of its members

For PETA, though, the ends always justify the means, even if that means defending the criminal actions of one of their "activists," whether it's impounding dogs who are not strays or obtaining dogs under false pretenses and euthanizing them immediately. PETA has a 90 percent kill rate, in spite of their status in Virginia as a "pet releasing" agency. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), when in problem areas, considers anything over 25 percent as too high.

So you've got to wonder: Perhaps PETA misunderstands the meaning of the word "ethical."

Copyright (c) 2007, SteelWill, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Spot On is a trademark of SteelWill, Inc.

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