PETA to launch its own porn site: Does exploiting women promote animal rights?

Porn star Sasha Grey in a PETA advertisement. (Photo: PETA.com)Porn star Sasha Grey in a PETA advertisement. (Photo: PETA.com)People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal-rights group known for its controversial ads featuring nearly naked starlets, is taking their "I'd rather be naked than wear fur" idea to a new level by launching their own XXX porn site.

That's right: The same organization that fights to protect animals plans to do so via a medium that often exploits and denigrates women.

"We're hoping to reach a whole new audience of people, some of whom will be shocked by graphic images that maybe they didn't anticipate seeing when they went to the PETA triple-X site," Lindsay Rajt, PETA's associate director of campaigns, told Reuters

The X-rated site will show pornographic content and images from PETA's more risque ads, Rajt said. Those images will be interspersed with pictures and videos showing animals being mistreated-and (we're not making this up) links to vegan and vegetarian "starter kits" and recipes.

"When people first visit the site, it will be very enticing and once they go just a little bit deeper, that's when they'll be confronted with images that we hope will make them stop and think and get them talking and hopefully encourage them to make a lifestyle change to a plant-based diet," Rajt said.

Yes, they expect it to be "enticing." But to whom? People who like crush films, porn that shows women killing small animals by stomping them to death?

It seems unlikely that people who are drawn to both pornography and violent video about abused animals would be looking for a way to convert to vegetarianism. But that's PETA's plan.

Other animal rights activists are skeptical about the idea.

"It's like promoting robberies as an alternative to assaults," said Brian M. Messenheimer, an Army veteran who does animal rescue work in the Boston area.

Adult film stars Sahsa Grey, Ron Jeremy, and Jenna Jamison have all appeared in PETA's ads and have had very successful careers in porn, and PETA insists that the women they'll feature on their port site are willing participants as well, so exploitation doesn't enter into the equation.

"Our demonstrators, the models, all chose to participate in our campaigns," Rajt pointed out, before invoking the "F" word: "It's not a very feminist thing to do to turn to women and tell them whether or not they can use their voices, their bodies to express their voice."

But for countless other women who were forced into the porn industry or are stuck in sexually violent relationships, being a "willing participant" doesn't mean they aren't also victims of abuse. Messenheimer looks at it in terms of animals. "Does it lessen the fact that dogs trained to fight are willing participants?" he asks.

Pornography and feminism aside, PETA has also been criticized for its treatment of the animals it claims to have rescued. According to their own data, filed with the Department of Agriculture in Virginia, in 2010 PETA took in 2,345 homeless dogs and cats-and euthanized 2,301 of them.

What do you think? Is pornography a valid way to promote animal rights?




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