Ethics under fire

Leave it to the animal rights activists to dehumanize actual people to get their point across.
PETA, or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has just begun running a new ad campaign aimed at the overweight portion of our population.
The message is simple: “Don’t pay for two seats. Go vegetarian.”
The ad’s message is then struck home with a graphic of a large gut hanging out of a man’s shirt while the rest of his body sits uncomfortably wedged in a woefully undersized airline seat.
Another ad linked to the PETA site has an agitated woman shrieking, “I hate men’s guts!” Needless to say, most of the ad’s emphasis was devoted to the last word of that slogan.
PETA wants all overweight people to know that they don’t have to be fat, obtrusive, discriminated against and ugly because they can easily lose weight on a vegetarian diet. Isn’t that just a special and heartwarming message?
“If you happen to be a part of the 60 percent of Americans who happen to be overweight – your troubles as a big, undesirable and, above all, space-consuming victim of social ostracism with no sex life to speak of – are over if you stop eating meat and lose weight! That’s right, friends, you don’t have to be pigs forever! Amazing, but true!” According to PETA, at least.
This is downright appalling. Does PETA really think it is drawing positive attention to an otherwise worthy cause by preying upon the insecurities of fat men and women?
These ads only attempt to associate being overweight with being inferior, which is fundamentally wrong to do to any group. Racist groups and religious fundamentalists use similar ideology, except they substitute the words “black” and “unbeliever” for “fat person.”
PETA’s ads only serve to reinforce the notion that fat people are unattractive slobs with little or no social skills. This should be an outrage to every stout person out there, but even if you are not quite up on the scales, you should be wary.
Anyone who doesn’t fit into the waif standard of beauty, imposed on us by society, might be next. If you’re not thin enough for the vegetarians, then your social life might suffer and maybe people will look at you differently, negatively even.
PETA might have meant well, but there is a thing called tact that should bridle foolishly honest people. Telling a fat person to his or her face that they are fat and that they could stand to lose some weight by changing what they eat is not only extremely heartless, but an imprudent thing to say to someone you want support from.
Are there no fat people in PETA? Maybe their vegan (and subsequently thin, according to the data on PETA’s Web site) bias led them to overlook how fat people would react, which is a shame, because they do fight for a decent cause and should not be shooting their own campaign in the foot.
But the damage has already been done. The best PETA can hope for to regain the support of the overweight community is a quick recall of their anti-fat ads and a sincere apology, which, I have no doubt, they are capable of.
But while they are fighting for the rights of animals, perhaps it would do them well to remember that people are animals, too.