Monday, October 6, 2008

Hey, PETA!

This poster is in response to PETA's "Got Autism" campaign. For background, see the message below from Ari Ne'eman of ASAN.

Hello all,

Recently, the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a new ad campaign entitled, "Got Autism?", misleadingly implying that the consumption of milk is associated with the cause of the autism spectrum. PETA is misinforming the public about autism and thus joining a long line of unscrupulous groups that have sought to try and spread fear about autism as a means of pushing their particular agendas.

Attempts such as these treat individuals with disabilities as pawns in the efforts of other constituencies. By refusing to acknowledge the right of the autistic community to be referred to with respect instead of as the focus of public hysteria, PETA contributes to a state of affairs which marginalizes the disability community. People with disabilities, our families and our supporters deserve better than the exploitation and fear-mongering that comes about when disability is used as a means of scaring the general populace. For millions across the globe, the answer to PETA's "Got Autism?" question is an unequivocal yes. That should not spell the end of our lives or prevent us from being fully included throughout society. By exploiting us, PETA becomes a culprit in the social forces that marginalize people with disabilities and lead to the discrimination and prejudice that truly disable us.

Let PETA know how you feel about its choice to exploit autistic people by writing to them at or call them at 757-622-7382 and dial 0. In addition, we encourage you to express your support for these ads' swift withdrawal by signing this online petition.

Ari Ne'eman
PresidentThe Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036


  1. Our 4 cats say: "PETA don't speak for us!"

  2. I sent them an email. I can't believe how irresponsible that ad is! :(

  3. Nice, Ari. Thank you.

    I love milk so much. So, so much.

  4. I really find it hard to fathom the fact that PETA wasn't paying ethical attention to the responses to things like Ransom Notes, Big Brother R-word, and the backlash against Autizm Erry Day. Someone has too much time and money on their hands to be doing this kind of craptastic campaigning. I look forward to the day (not really) when we have a really big organization that will take them to suit, or perhaps some class action lawyers, but then it wouldn't be necessary if people would just get their head out into the open air, instead of into the crevice thay seem to have chosen to stick it in.


  5. I fickin love it! I am going to post it on my last post of the ad being pulled and link to you.

  6. If PETA truly believed in the strength of their ethical arguments against the consumption of dairy products, they wouldn't need to bring spurious nonsense about autism into the equation.

    By the way, welcome back to the blogosphere.

  7. While I disagree with PETA's approach by simplifying their message to such a degree as to sound blunt and dismissive - I also disagree with the way this message was brought to my attention...

    I recieved an email with the following title - "FWD:Time to shoot PETA down. With a very big gun."

    I'm not blaming your blog, but I find that to be confrontational and violent and won't support this cause because of it.

    I think you can find worse enemies in life if you continue looking...

  8. How can you possibly be surprised that PETA didn't take the feelings of autistic people into account? What about those displays they have comparing the slaughter of animals to the Holocaust? Back in August, a Canadian man named Tim McLean was decapitated while on board a Greyhound bus and PETA tried to make an ad out of that. ( is a newspaper article; note that while the ad might not have run, they still dedicate a portion of their web site to it and they don't seem apologetic about it) They certainly didn't take the feelings of Holocaust survivors or McLean's family into account. This is hardly an isolated incident since PETA thrives on outrage. I'm not saying that it's not worth speaking up about, but it is part of a bigger picture that's really worth seeing. Just because PETA's past campaigns didn't concern you doesn't make them any less worth speaking out about. The disability community doesn't live in a bubble.

    I really apologize if I come off as abrasive. PETA's just kind of a hot button with me and I just see this as another nail in the coffin, I guess.

  9. Anonymous,
    You make an excellent point, and this is something I think about (the bubble, the bigger picture). I mostly write about autism because it's what I know best; that doesn't mean I don't have concerns and responsibilities in other areas. I just don't have time to cover it all (I haven't even had time to do this blog for a month!) Leaving something out doesn't mean I don't think it matters. Thank you for adding your comment.

  10. Welcome back, Bev. Ari is so articulate -- I'm so grateful that he shares his gift with us.


  11. Jarrett: That was me with the big gun. It had nothing to do with this blog. Since I presume you're aware of my other "issues" with PETA, I thought you'd find it . . . uhh, funny? :>

  12. Well, I think it was funny. Which probably means it wasn't.

  13. Aahhh, PETA.... d'you think they know that a large proportion of people are Jewish, or autistic, or, actually, female?

    I mean, once they've insulted almost every demographic, the 3 supporters they have left are gonna have to come up with a lot of money...

    Have just realised! They did a transphobic ad too! So I personally now have four reasons to hate PETA, based solely on the physical, racial and neurological characteristics I was born with.

    Impressive, I guess.

  14. I wasn't aware they did sexist ads, too.

  15. Hey, these are the asshats who tried to bully Ben and Jerry's into using breast milk for all their ice creams.

    PETA, go hug some trees. I will drink my milk and love it.


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