“All Animals Matter.”
A group of protestors from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have staged a mock-barbecuing of a dog in the middle of a bustling Sydney street.
According to Mirror, passersby — including a group of school children — were “terrified” by the sight of the prop dog being grilled.
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The vegan shock-display took place on Saturday, during the festivities of Australia Day. It had a member of PETA dressed up as a chef grinningly cooking the gruesomely displayed canine, next to a banner that read, “If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a lamb?” Paraphrasing a line from American politics, one PETA member held a sign stating, “All Animals Matter.”
@peta stopping to new lows with their stunt in Martin Place today – terrifying children on school holiday outings by barbecuing a (very lifelike) dog. I saw some visibly upset kids #Disgraceful #stunt #PETA pic.twitter.com/iaRpDXrCDc
— Cøckrøach (@cockroachBLUE) January 23, 2019
In a statement, PETA explained the performance as meant to expose the hypocritical “speciesism” of humans — that is, the moral permissibility of killing and eating one species while being repulsed at the idea of hurting another. According to PETA:
Anyone who’s repulsed by the prospect of chowing down on dog meat should question the incongruity of their compassion towards other animals. This is called speciesism – a form of discrimination based on nothing more than species – and like all forms of discrimination, it cannot be justified. As humans, we instinctively feel compassion and empathy for animals, but we’re taught that it’s OK to enslave and eat some of them, without a second thought as to who they are as individuals.
Onlookers weren’t convinced that PETA’s tactics served a high moral end and criticized the stunt as self-righteous cruelty.
That supposed protest in Sydney is more inhumane than any slaughtering of animals. Keep them out of public places. It should be classed as public nuisance! Kids around? That is further reason to stop this! Exposing them to this??? Cruel.
— Jkscal (@jkscal) January 24, 2019
Putting aside the health risks that have been associated with extreme veganism, there is a real debate on the ethics of animal treatment. PETA-supporters see animal rights as the inevitable next step for the moral growth of humanity. Its opponents argue not only that a meatless existence is a life not worth living, but that humans, being carnivores, biologically rely on consuming other creatures. And then, of course, there are those who say eating meat gives you superpowers.
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- PETA members display a prop dog getting barbecued in Sydney on Jan. 19, 2019.: PETA/Pexels