Friday, February 3, 2012

PETA* Takes Union Square -- Day 27

Walk: R/T Mindful Body to give class, 3 Jackson to downtown walk, 2 Sutter to Neighborhood walk home.
Distance: 30 blocks (so far) in this glorious, ever-amazing city

This man isn't going to need his coffee to open his eyes when the people behind his right should move in front of him.

After 40 years of being here, I'm pretty unshockable about the streets of San Francisco, but even I was surprised. I saw people starting to gather and when the man above moved a little farther ahead, this was the sight on this crisp day:

Turns out these women were handing out vegan food on behalf of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)*. Quite a crowd gathered; mostly stunned men one of whom gave me his camera and asked me to take his picture even while saying "This will be my mother's least favorite of my San Francisco pictures."

Looks like PETA got the publicity they were (un)dressed for. When the crowd thinned, the press was still there finishing some radio and TV interviews, taking notes:


About PETA

Our Mission Statement

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters.

PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other "pests" as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.

PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.

Why does PETA sometimes use nudity in its campaigns?

Our mission is to get the animal rights message to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task. Unlike our opposition, which is mostly composed of wealthy industries and corporations, PETA must rely on getting free "advertising" through media coverage. This can be especially difficult with our fur campaign, since newspapers are often reluctant to cover our activities for fear of losing furriers' advertising dollars. But, not surprisingly, colorful and "controversial" demonstrations and campaigns like activists stripping to "go naked instead of wearing fur" consistently grab headlines.

The "Naked" Campaign began several years ago when demonstrators—both male and female—marched behind a huge banner proclaiming that they would "rather go naked than wear fur." More "naked" demonstrations were held all over the world, the idea caught on, and we started receiving offers from celebrities, including Christy Turlington, Marcus Schenkenberg, Kim Basinger, designer Todd Oldham, and Pamela Anderson to participate. Interestingly, we began receiving complaints about this campaign only after professional models and actors joined it, which we conclude to mean, among other things, that celebrity participation helps us reach more people.

The campaign has been hugely successful. It has been featured in nearly every major newspaper, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post. And major magazines and television shows such as Us, People, and Entertainment Tonight have been inspired by the campaign to do stories about the anti-fur movement.

History does not look back unkindly on Lady Godiva. It is our hope that people will come to see that our modern-day "Godivas" have motives that are just as honorable.

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