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PETA president sends trivial message to Arafat

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have officially lost all credibility. I have been thinking this for a long time (ever since I first heard of them), but there is no longer any denying it. I’m saying this because of a letter, signed by PETA president Ingrid Newkirk and mailed to Yassir Arafat.

On Feb. 3, Newkirk asked Arafat to urge those who listen to him to stop using animals for terrorism. This stems from a Jan. 26 bombing during which a donkey packed with explosives blew up in Jerusalem. Feel free to add your own “explosive ass” joke here.

The letter says, “We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing in Jerusalem on January 26 in which a donkey, laden with explosives, was intentionally blown up … ” The thing that amuses me about this is the fact that PETA is mad that they used a donkey. I’ve never heard the organization complain about people blowing themselves up; they seem more concerned with ruining the circus.

Newkirk goes on, “Animals claim no nation. They are in perpetual involuntary servitude to all humankind, and although they pose no threat and own no weapons, human beings always win in the undeclared war against them. For animals, there is no Geneva Convention and no peace treaty — just our mercy.”

Yes, animals claim no nation because they lack the intelligence to do so. There is no Geneva Convention for animals because it would be a waste of time to have one. As for an undeclared war on animals, there isn’t one. Yes, animals get caught in the crossfire, and that’s sad.

In Israel, Palestinian groups have been using people to transport bombs into public areas, and PETA remained silent. As long as I live, I’ll never understand that. PETA finally opened its mouth when a group couldn’t find a person stupid enough to sacrifice himself and used an animal instead.

The offensive act was the bombing itself, not how it was carried out. Whichever group it was that perpetrated the bombing, they wanted to murder people. That’s what should anger people. But no, they used a donkey and that’s what angers Newkirk and her associates. I really am amazed that the letter, viewable on PETA’s Web site, is void of references to dead people but contains several references to animal war casualties.

My favorite paragraph is “If you have the opportunity, will you please add to your burdens my request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the animals out of this conflict?” I think we’ll all agree that Arafat has bigger problems right now than animals being used as bomb conveyances. If it had been me writing this letter, I would have asked him to leave people out of the conflict. Maybe Newkirk was hoping to get Arafat to take baby steps. First, he gets his followers to stop killing animals, and then eventually they’ll stop killing people. That, of course, is assuming Arafat read that far. He was probably laughing too hard to finish it.

I agree that it’s sad when animals are killed for no reason. But PETA needs to realize that people are more important. Writing a letter to stop animal terrorism without mentioning the fact that people are dying is stupid. I agree that animals are living things, but they do not deserve to be treated better than people. Let’s get people treating each other ethically before we start worrying about the animals.

Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in