PE-TA!!!  »

(Read that title in the same kind of bellow that Fred Flinstone uses to summon Wilma. Huh? Huh?)

So (sigh!) PETA is at it again. Not content with being the most annoying animal advocacy group on the planet, they’re now turning their attention towards politics (well, sort of). Introducing, Bin Laden Bites! Honestly, I don’t know what to make of these. Are they being funny? Is this supposed to be a “can’t we all just get along” gesture for the holidays - rallying all of humanity against its common enemy? Is it a cash grab (as in, they’re hoping that the Glenn Beck fans who want these won’t pay much attention to who’s selling them)? Is this a supposed to reach out (or around…) to the Real Americans PETA has heretofore been unable to attract? A demonstration of that sense of humor none of us animal-rights types are supposed to have? *shrug*

The real mystery, though, is what possible connection these “savory” (I know - huh? But that’s how they’re described on PETA’s site) treats have with animal advocacy. Yes, they are vegan, which is a good thing, but vegan activism/outreach in the form of boring-ass dark chocolate squares with Osama Bin Laden on them? YAWN! Really, this seems to be just another example of PETA’s “Any Publicity Is Good Publicity” policy in action, and again, YAWN! Boring chocolate + boring scandal = boringness x infinity. Oh, and it’s expensive ass boringness! $15 gets you five (no kidding - five) squares of dark chocolate.

I guess that’s the really crappy thing about this whole deal - it’s just so fucking condescending. Assuming PETA really is concerned about the troops over in Afghanistan, is this really the best thing they can think of? Do the PETA staffers sitting in their offices honestly think that biting into a little square of dark chocolate bearing the image of Osama Bin Laden is going to make the men and women who are sweating it out over there feel any better? Do they really think that plain dark chocolate is a good way to let non-vegans know that, hey, veganism can be fun too? Maybe instead of plain dark chocolate squares with a terrorist figurehead on them, they could try, well, sending the troops vegan chocolate that is actually awesome?! How stoked would most soldiers be to get a frozen crate of Go Max Go bars? I think the satisfaction of biting into chocolate that isn’t described as “savory” (again, huh?) and actually is awesome is way better for both the animals (because then more people get to know that veganism is delicious and fattening not joyless and lame) and the soldiers (because they get real satisfaction and good chocolate instead of just pretending that biting a piece of chocolate with Bin Laden’s image on it is somehow satisfying - “ha ha - take that, you bastard! I’m sure showing you!”).

Given that PETA spends more than $8 million annually on public outreach and education and over $1 million specifically on its cruelty-free merchandise program, I’m pretty disappointed that this is the best they could do on their big support-the-troops/support-animals crossover special. I like the idea of PETA finally connecting animal issues with human issues in a way that makes sense to people (or at least in a way that doesn’t make at least some segment of the population hate PETA, and by extension all animal activists, even more than they already do), but this little tidbit is just confusing and off target. I would love to see PETA introducing some kind of vegan item that people could buy and send to the troops in Afghanistan, the proceeds of which could maybe go toward animal rescue in places affected by conflict (like, say, Afghanistan), but I guess that’s too much to ask this year.

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