PeTA and Oppression on the Border

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published at Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

People who know me know that few things on this planet irk to the extent that PETA does. The tactics that PETA deploy to get their point across are dubious at best and some are downright deplorable. I wrote off PETA after a campaign they ran called “Animal Liberation” where they juxtaposed images of animals in captivity and images of the racial terror that people of African decent in this country faced including chattel slavery and lynching.

A few years prior they ran a series of ads that they had to publicly apologize for that juxtaposed farm animals and Holocaust victims. People of color and Jews have fought to be recognized as humans with dignity after centuries of being compared to animals and PETA has repeatedly disregarded those efforts. PETA has continuously trivialized the effects of racism on people of color and Jews by comparing it to the experience of farm animals.

Instead of talking about the ways that the food processing industry exploits and dehumanizes the people of color and im/migrants who work in plants, PETA chose instead to go the media publicity route and ask the US Border Patrol if they can advertise on the Wall.


According to the PETA blog this is how they rationalize their decision:

No matter what your stance is on the highly controversial U.S.-Mexican border fence project, everyone can agree that those who decide to come to the U.S. should be warned about the downside of our nation’s meat and milk consumption habits. PETA is warning immigrants that there’s much more to worry about than proper documentation. We’ve written a letter to the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking to buy space at each of the nine southwest border sectors for our new ad. Those considering entry will then read this message: “If the border patrol doesn’t get you, the chicken and burgers will. Go vegan” (or, in Spanish, “Si no te agarra la migra, te atraparan el pollo y las hamburguesas. Sé vegano”). By leaving behind a far healthier staple diet of vegetables and grains—like rice, beans, corn, peppers, and tortillas—Mexicans and other immigrants will likely find themselves fattening up on the fiberless, fatty, cholesterol-laden U.S. diet, which is linked to heart disease, various types of cancer, and strokes (our nation’s three biggest killers) as well as impotence (internationally recognized killer of the mood). PETA’s placement of these colorful ads would certainly offset some of the tax dollars that fund the fence. It’s a winning solution for the folks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants, and farmed animals alike!

After a stunt like this I don’t know how anyone can still say that PETA is a social justice organization. How can they actually offer to help fund the construction of a border wall that is the epitome of American racism and hypocrisy? Obviously, PETA cares more about what im/migrants are eating than their safety or ability to cross in order to alleviate economic conditions in their home country. The fence is a sign of oppression and should not be treated as an advertising and marketing opportunity. Maybe next we can have Coors target the Latino/a im/migrant market with a billboard that proclaims “el cuerpo te la pide!”

I need to stop before I start foaming at the mouth. What do you all think?


Related Discussion: Vegans of Color – WTF, Seriously. In the comments, Noemi provides a link to the PETA blog and advises people to look at what is being said. – LDP

Edited: If you are coming over here to represent PeTA and you do not critically engage with the issues of racism and sexism, your comment will not be approved. Ditto if you violate our comment moderation policy.

Bonus points – I will happily post a screed from a PeTA representative or supporter on my site, exactly as you present it IF, and only IF, you are able to explain why you continue to present these ideas in a way that can be interpreted as racist/sexist. A good place to start your deconstruction would be with Johanna and Royce’s essays over at VoC – Johanna wrote “Must Accessibility Mean Partaking in Other -Isms?,” Amalgamated wrote “Mutt, Mulatto, Mule” and Royce wrote on “Rights or Liberation” in reference to animals.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

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