If you haven't seen PeTA's recent billboard, feast your eyes.
Offensive? Sure. Effective? Maybe. Attention-getting? You bet. And that has been PeTA's strategy from day 1. The billboard has created quite a buzz, which, of course, is PeTA's goal. I found it kind of funny in a satirical way, with a healthy dose of discomfort over their choice to call large people whales. Yes, it stings, for those of us who are heavy or really anyone who's ever struggled with weight or loves someone who does. But it's important to look at the big picture: Will some people identify with it and maybe pass up their burger tonight? Maybe, maybe not. Will they think twice next time they hear something about the cruelty on factory farms? Perhaps. Will they listen up next time they hear about yet another study suggesting that vegetarian diets protect against obesity and chronic disease? Maybe. Advertising experts tell us that we need multiple exposure to an idea before it becomes part of our consciousness. Is PeTA going on that theory? I'm not an advertising expert or psychologist, so I do not know; I'm just putting ideas out there.
What I do know is that the American Dietetic Association's (ADA's) response to it was almost as inappropriate as the ad itself. Watch this video:
I found Zied’s “Vegetarian diets CAN be healthy IF PROPERLY PLANNED” remark (I lost count after 4 times) far more offensive than the whale ad.
Meat-containing diets CAN be healthy IF PROPERLY PLANNED too, but she, as most do, confirms the ideology that eating animals is the norm and that eliminating their consumption is something to be approached “with caution.” The ADA is doing nothing to challenge this ideology, which is literally killing millions of people in the form of preventable chronic diseases.
Furthermore, Zied attempted to contradict the assertion that vegetarians weigh less than their omnivorous counterparts by claiming that the ADA Evidence Analysis Library tells us that there are other effective ways to lose weight besides going vegetarian. That was not the issue, and no one is disputing otherwise. Did she selectively ignore ADA's very own position paper on vegetarian diets, part of the Library, which clearly states that vegetarians have lower BMIs than meat eaters? Who’s selling the distorted messages here?