Friday, June 10, 2011

Sausage Debate

It appears that PETA has struck again and it has decided to hit people where it hurts; meaning, squarely in their manhood. Two PETA activists have made an impromptu appearance at the Formula One racing car event armed with vegetarian sausages, arguing that they are 'better than taking sex drugs' and that meat can cause them to tank in the bedroom.

While this argument makes sense to a certain extent, what with the effects of meat on blood vessels and other arteries, it seems strange that this is PETA's latest argument in their on-going war against meat eaters. Perhaps it's because their moral badgering approach clearly wasn't working. Showing disgusting photos of slaughterhouses and cruel chicken coops had no other effect than simply being disgusting and the use of such graphic images had many meat eaters inclined to think that PETA was simply crazy. The long lectures, holier than thou attitudes and Pamela Anderson campaign didn't really resonate with people.

Perhaps an appeal to the boudoirs of the nation is the better, more practical approach. It's difficult to sell vegetarianism from the point of view of morals and ethics, on the one hand because it's preachy and pushy, and on the other hand, because some people just aren't concerned with morals and ethics. They aint what they used to be. The morals and ethics argument also tends to give way to the free choice debate, with many meat eaters asserting their rights to consume what they want. It's the classic 'don't tell me what I can put into my body' argument and it's hard not to look like a fascist when faced with that argument.

Appealing to the male sex drive may be the way to go if PETA wants to rehabilitate its image from crazed ecoterrorist preacher to a softer, kinder, and sexier reformer. While it is hitting below the belt, so to speak, it does get its message across without doing the one thing that most PETA campaigns ultimately do: offend the audience.

While it is laudable to encourage people to be more aware of issues related to their consumption and to moderate them, PETA could afford a less militant stance. It's good that these two sexy young activists took it upon themselves to have a little fun with their awareness campaign. Caring for animals and the earth doesn't have to be an angry crusade. And people don't react well to them. As an enlightened population, we often roll our eyes when people tell us we're going to hell, as if that's already a well-known fact. Hell just doesn't have the fear factor of days past.

But people always react to sexy ads.

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