Bil Browning

Shark Attack: Another Obnoxious PETA Ad

Filed By Bil Browning | September 29, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bad advertising, exploiting tragedy, offensive advertising, PETA, shark attack

I know, shocker. Right?!? Surely PETA wouldn't put out an ad campaign mocking a tragedy and vaguely linking it to animal rights?

The ads, titled "Payback is hell," are supposed to promote veganism and also sensitivity to fish. They're inspired by the recent experiences of Florida fisherman C.J. Wickersham, who was fishing with his friends when a bull shark went and bit him in the thigh, causing a 15-inch gash and exposing his thigh bone. Wickersham deserved to be attacked, because he was attacking the fish. Hopefully he's spent his time in intensive care coming to terms with his behavior and shaking down hospital staff for PETA funds that the organization can use to create more ads making fun of him.

A spokesperson goes on to say that while they hope Wickersham is okay, they would like him to realize that fish are just as scared and in pain as he was during the attack.

Does anyone think that these offensive ad campaigns actually convince anyone to go vegan or vegetarian? Or do they just piss people off, bring their name into the news, and give them free publicity?

See it after the break.


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Are we supposed to take this seriously from a woman whose response to animal testing on rats to find a cure for AIDS is, "Would you be opposed to experiments on your daughter if you knew it would save fifty million people?" Or whose response to a picture of a humorous roasted chicken posed seductively is "It's necrophilia"?

Let's be really clear about this: Some animals you've forced into co-dependence through centuries of domestication may care about you like you care about them. But the majority of the animal kingdom doesn't care about people, nor do they care about any other species around them, unless they someone serve as food, shelter, or a means to acquire food or shelter. At the end of the day, a lion eating a gazelle is about as impersonal as a gazelle is eating some grass, a worm is tunneling through a gazelle, and fungus is growing inside its carcass. Animal, plant, or other kingdom, it's all pretty senseless and uncaring and all about business.

That's life.

So while the ways in which we treat animals and slaughter them needs reform, don't act as though inter-species altruism is a universal quality of the ecosystem. So you're probably acting more to form by sympathizing with this guy whose injury you've exploited for your agenda, than allying with fish in the sea.

The minute PETA decides to inform dolphin pods that the fish they hunt are as scared as they were when they were attacked by a great white shark, we'll have a discussion.

If PETA coupled this with photos or video clips of humans hoisting sharks out of the ocean, chopping just their fins off (so Asian cultures can make shark-fin soup) and then dumping the still-living beasts back to sink helplessly to their deaths - then, I might think this "campaign" has some worth.

Then again, if PETA has anything to do with it, I usually give no credence whatsoever to their message.

At least the text doesn't read, "Payback is a bitch." I wouldn't put that past PETA, so congrats to them for keeping it classy.