On the PETA front, I sent the following letter to Ingrid Newkirk, their president, on Wednesday:
I was disgusted to see PETA's latest campaign - Spay or Neuter your Pet and Win a Free Vasectomy - not because I'm against controlling the pet population (on the contrary, every pet I've ever owned has been fixed) or even because I'm against controlling the human population. A man wants a vasectomy? More power to him. A free one? All the better!
No, I'm disgusted because of your attempt to pass this campaign off as an HONOR to National Infertility Awareness Week. I searched your website (and racked my brain) for some logical link between vasectomies and infertility, but alas, I found none. Consequently, I came to my own conclusion - that PETA has no intention of honoring NIAW at all, but instead intends to ridicule it.
I won't attempt to educate you about the purpose NIAW, or how painful infertility is to those who experience it, or how utterly insulting this campaign is to anyone who's struggled for years to conceive a child. I will only say that from my perspective, and that of most reasonable people, PETA's mission is nothing more than to gain attention and notoriety.
Please remove the link and reference to National Infertility Awareness Week from your campaign page, and if you must insult a cause, find another cause to insult.
In response, I received this email yesterday:
Thank you for contacting PETA about your objections to our contest offering a free vasectomy. We are sorry to have offended you, and we have removed the phrase “in honor of” National Infertility Awareness Week from our website. We understand that this was not a wise choice of words.
Our goal was to focus attention on the tragic suffering and death of homeless dogs and cats. Since the best way to prevent animal companions from having unwanted litters is to spay and neuter them, a kind PETA member offered to cover the cost of a vasectomy for one compassionate man who wants to get himself “snipped” just like his furry friend. Having one’s own child may be a compelling urge for some, but nobody should condemn those who choose to avoid causing pregnancy or any organization that provides them with a means to do so. Many who choose to have a vasectomy consider it a moral conundrum for some of us to be spending thousands of dollars trying to reproduce ourselves when there are homeless children, including some with disabilities, who want for homes, and when the environment is being ravaged as human population increases.
PETA works very hard to prevent the births of puppies and kittens who will end up abandoned in animal shelters or struggling to survive on the streets. Breeding, both purposeful and accidental, is responsible for the euthanasia of millions of these loving companions each year. Sterilization is both the easiest and the most effective means available of ensuring animals’ happiness and safety. Male animals who have been neutered are far less likely to roam far from home or fight. Neutering greatly diminishes and possibly eliminates reproductive urges (which are not the same in dogs as they are in humans). In addition, these animals will never get testicular cancer and run less risk of contracting prostate disease. Female animals who have been spayed avoid the trauma of giving birth and will no longer go into heat.
Consider the fate of the millions of unwanted animals whose parents were never spayed and neutered. Born into a hostile world, they are caged among strangers at animal shelters or, worse, abandoned on the sides of roads. They are run over by cars and attacked by other animals. They are infected with painful, contagious, and deadly diseases. Those unlucky enough to run into cruel humans are often drowned, beaten with baseball bats, suffocated in plastic bags, stabbed, shot, starved, set on fire, used as bait, and tortured in countless other ways. And the saddest tragedy of all is that before they meet some gruesome death, they reproduce, and the cycle of animal suffering continues.
A national organization, SPAY/USA, helps guardians of animal companions who need assistance with the cost of spaying and neutering. You can contact SPAY/USA at the following website and toll-free number:
Well I must have misconstrued their email yesterday (and I didn't bother to revisit their website to see exactly what was changed) because I thought they meant the removed the reference to NIAW. Nope, this morning I see that the only thing that has been changed is they removed "in honor of" and replaced it with "during." Sigh... *Facepalm*
If you haven't been keeping up with Keiko at http://www.hannahweptsarahlaughed.blogspot.com/, you can follow along there as this fiasco unfolds.
It seems to be common knowledge that PETA is out for exactly one "cause" and one cause only: themselves. My vegan friends do not support them due to their unethical practices, and I was turned off by them years ago when I saw a particularly tasteless video on their website. In the past they've made a mockery of the Holocaust, so why wouldn't they consider infertility to be fair game? But the infertile community is a vociferous one, and it's encouraging that PETA has done anything in response to our objections. So let's keep it up!
If you haven't signed the petition yet I encourage you to do so.
And if you haven't emailed your thoughts to Ingrid Newkirk, please do: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have many, many thoughts and objections to their email back to me, and I will most likely respond, as fruitless as that may prove to be. One friend suggested to me that we just ignore them because we're giving them the press that they're after, and they'll never change. That may be, but I guarantee they'll never change if we ignore them. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and if we want change, it's our responsibility to demand it.