Questionable moments of PETA fighting for animal rights

Questionable moments of PETA fighting for animal rights

Who doesn’t appreciate animal rights activists? They fight for the rights of fur babies who can’t do it on their own. But in the case of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), some people are on the fence.

We are a nation of pet lovers, so any form of cruelty to animals sends us to a blood-boiling rage. Some of PETA’s controversial campaigns are known to inspire outrage, but it’s because of the following oddball cases (among countless others) that polarize people and beg the question: "What was PETA thinking?".

Oh, deer

Accidentally hitting animals is one of the most ironic things that can happen to an animal rights activist. Tough luck for the deer that crossed paths with PETA members Dan Shannon and Jay Kelly.

On their return drive from an anti-hunting campaign tour, Dan and Jay’s Honda Civic collided with a deer that leaped in front of their vehicle in Woolwich County, New Jersey. They blamed New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Fish and Wildlife Division’s deer management program, which PETA claimed increases deer population in the area, and sued them for wrecking their car.

In their lawsuit, they accused the state division’s program of encouraging deer-hunting, in a valiant effort to shift the blame for hitting a deer. Actual experts on deer and deer-hunting disproved PETA’s claim.

You have to give credit to PETA for turning what could have been a PR disaster into a mini-campaign against deer-hunting. After all, they’re not one to turn down opportunities to launch shock campaigns.

Still, they hit an innocent deer and had the audacity to sue a government agency for it. Never mind the fact that the PETA driver injured a living being deserving of ethical treatment.

“Depriving a monkey of a copyright from a selfie it took of itself is a form of cruelty”

If a monkey snatched your camera, took selfies of himself with it, and found a way to return it, do you have a right to the photo?

This is a question that had to be asked of the San Francisco court when it heard the case of wildlife photographer named David Slater and a selfie-taking macaque named Naruto, in a suit filed by the esteemed members of PETA.

In a nutshell, PETA wanted Naruto to receive a copyright for the selfie he’s taken that Mr. Slater profited from.

In a copyright lawsuit deemed frivolous by many, PETA may have thought they were fighting for the right of animals to be acknowledged as artistic beings capable of creating art and therefore deserve to own copyrights.

PETA failed in this pursuit but succeeded in troubling Mr. Slater who had to relinquish his right to earn from a photo taken by a monkey, using a camera that he owns and was snatched from him. If you ask us, Mr. Slater deserved credit for properly adjusting his camera’s settings, which allowed Naruto to take a sensational selfie.

Chihuahua meets its maker five days too soon

PETA is known for campaigns that are supposed to benefit animals. For instance, they are against animal testing, and they take in strays that other shelters won’t. But some of their methods and campaigns are problematic, like when they insist that animals without proper homes are better off dead than languishing in shelters.

In 2014, Virginia residents Wilber Zarate and his daughter Cynthia felt the sting of this unexamined stance when PETA mistakenly took teeny tiny Maya, their pet chihuahua, and euthanized her on the day they captured her.

PETA put Maya to sleep five days before the grace period, which was a violation of a Virginia state law. The organization was fined $500 for their mistake, but Mr. Zarate felt that the mistake cost more than a paltry 500 bucks. He sued PETA for $7 million and eventually got a $49,000 settlement.

Dog bites are common incidents — and representing victims is something of a Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams expertise. We've yet to deal with a bizarre animal rights lawsuit, though you can trust that we would handle it as skillfully as we do all of our cases. If you get involved in personal injury cases caused by either a pooch or a person, give our Renton office a call.