Thursday, October 20, 2011

Critical Analysis of PETA Website

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January 8, 00


Critical Analysis of PETA Web Site


The mission statement of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is “We are an animal rights organization and our mission statement is that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” (PETA Mission). From viewing the web site, I find the organization’s principle mission is to make sure that all animals are treated justly, fairly, and respectfully. That is, that they are not abused, mistreated, or in danger of any cruelty. According to PETA, animals have rights, too, just as humans do. It is my objective to find out if the PETA web site is a helpful site to use for research and analysis material on animal rights.


The name, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, certainly demonstrates they are concerned for animals rights. It is clear the mission of the organization is to prevent animal cruelty in every aspect, from raising animals for food, to how these animals are slaughtered and processed for human consumption, to helping animals suffering and dying in laboratories, on factory farms, in the fur industry, in circuses, and in other forms of entertainment. They live by The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which is the federal law that governs the humane care, handling, treatment, and transportation of animals used in laboratories. (PETA The Animal). The organization searches to see if neglect or cruelty is present.


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The name of the organization does not imply that it is a government agency, nor does the web site address, www.peta.org. However, it does seem to receive a lot of support from celebrities. They use many high profile celebrity names, such as Sir Paul McCartney, Bea Arthur, and Sally Struthers.


As a result of searching the PETA web site, I observed some methods the organization uses to gain the trust of its visitors, which include guilt, compassion, and sympathy. The organization attempts to reach people who have a strong feeling in their hearts to help stop cruelty to animals. The web site targets people that want to help a good cause. These people are primarily animal lovers.


The home page flashes numerous ads about vegetarianism, pig farm cruelty, and animal testing. The ads can certainly make the average consumer think twice about the products he or she uses and consumes on a daily basis. They seem to place blame on many restaurants, especially fast food types, for the inhumane ways animals are treated. Pictures are posted of healthy animals throughout the web site, but numerous pictures of unhealthy and abused animals are posted as well. Many of the pictures are very graphic.


Unfortunately, the front page does not accurately describe the organization’s mission. It is covered in ads about animals, and they offer many links to other PETA sites, but the home page does not state the mission of the group. Nevertheless, the premise of the business is definitely not hidden as you travel deeper into the web site. The objectives of the organization are certainly made known to all visitors


No one particular source of funding was observed, although they do ask for donations. Memorial donations can be made, as well as gift memberships and property donations. There is even a wish list where people can donate items or services needed to help various PETA programs.


It appears as though PETA tries to reach as many people as possible with links to a wide variety of charities and organizations. There are many links provided on the home page and throughout the web site. One link sent me to a second PETA site, called PETA.org, along with sending me to web sites where I can purchase animal rights clothing, or if I want to, I can make a donation of money or old furs. A majority of the links are run by PETA, so they supply a wealth of information about PETA. The linked sites are related to animals in some form, be it how to become a vegetarian, to how to stop cruelty to animals, to information on how animals are treated in other parts of the world.


There are many sections of the site to go to for a wealth of information. There are tabs that take you to Action Alerts, Campaigns, PETA Kids, PETA Mall, and Donate Now. There is a guide on how to become an activist. There is an area that assists visitors in writing letters to newspaper or television stations by offering a guide to letter writing. (PETA Guide). They do their best to make it easy for everyone to get involved.


In using the search engine google.com, I tried various keywords to search for the PETA web site. The first keywords I tried were “animal lovers.” I did not see the PETA web site on the first two pages. I then proceeded to try the keywords “save the animals.” I did notice the PETA catalog site on the second page of the list of results. The third set of keywords I used was “cruelty to animals.” I still had no luck in reaching the PETA web site from the first two pages of results. The fourth group of keywords I used was “animal rights.” I found PETA’s link on the first page of results, third item down. I searched “animals” as my final keyword and found PETA on the top of the list. It appears they are trying to link people to their site the easiest way possible by using the word animal(s). Since protecting animals is their mission, I would say that searching the term “animals” in a search engine is the best way to find their web site.


One fallacy I recognized is the way the site tries to make me feel I should be a vegetarian, and if I am not one already, how to become one. They offer free vegetarian starter kits to persuade me to convert to vegetarianism. The organization appears to push the vegetarian issue on just about every page visited. I am not a vegetarian and do not want to become one. However, a lot of the information makes sense to me since I consider myself an animal lover. I believe animals should be treated decently and with care. In addition, I did not notice opposing points of view on the web site. It is all information related to PETA, by PETA.


The web site is very much one sided, in that it only gives PETA’s points of view. The site would be a good source to use to gather information needed on the numerous ways animals are treated in today’s society. It clearly states how animals are used for food, clothing, sport, or entertainment. The web site truly shows the compassion people have for all living creatures. PETA has done extensive research to show how badly some animals are mistreated by a vast majority of people. However, I would not accept this web site as a valid source of information because it plays to the emotions of the public. “The renowned humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who accomplished so much for both humans and animals in his lifetime, would take time to stoop and move a worm from hot pavement to cool earth. Aware of the problems and responsibilities an expanded ethic brings with it, he said we each must live daily from judgment to judgment, deciding each case as it arises, as wisely and mercifully as we can. “We can’t stop all suffering, but that does not mean we shouldn’t stop any. In today’s world of virtually unlimited choices, there are usually kinder, gentler ways for most of us to need, clothe, entertain, and educate ourselves than by killing animals.” (PETA Frequently). As human beings, this is something we all need to remember.


Works Cited


PETA Guide to Letter Writing. 7 January 00. http//www.peta.org/alert/tkit.html.


PETA The Animal Welfare Act. 7 January 00. http//www.peta.org/mc/facts/ fsm1.html.


PETA Frequently Asked Questions. 7 January 00. http//www.peta.org/fp/ faq.html.


PETA Mission Statement. 7 January 00. http//www.peta.org/fp/faq.html.


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