Penn and Teller attack PETA
- This is to alert you to turn on your TV Thursday at 10 P.M. EST
for the Penn and Teller show. They will go after PETA.
Let all your friends know, especially non-dog friends.
Taking the bull by the ... horns? Tom Jicha
March 28, 2004
America has a reputation for cynicism that is undeserved:
It's amazing how much nonsense we accept unquestioningly.
The wildly inventive Penn & Teller prefer a more vulgar term
for nonsense. They call it Bull----! They've made it the
title of their Showtime series, which on Thursday launches
its second season of debunking ... nonsense.
Some of the episodes are fairly frivolous, such as upcoming shows
on people's unreasonable fears -- you'll never be freaked out by
a public toilet again -- and the ridiculous lengths singles go to
in pursuit of a mate.
But the first target of the new season is a serious one:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The touchy-feely name is only the start of the organization's ...
nonsense, Penn & Teller argue. Of course, Penn does all the talking.
Teller is the Harpo Marx of this act.
PETA's mission statement is that it doesn't want animals to be killed,
hurt, exploited or embarrassed. These are laudable goals within reason,
which PETA rarely is. If PETA had its way, Penn notes, everyone would
have to become vegans; shoes would be made of something other than leather;
rodeos and circuses would be eliminated, as would horse and dog racing.
Fishing wouldn't be allowed, zoos would be closed and harvesting honey
would end, because this is an exploitation of bees.
Any medical research involving animals, even if it meant cures for
AIDS and cancer, would cease. PETA would not even approve of guide dogs
for the blind, again an exploitation of animals in its warped thinking.
Despite the first three letters of its name, there would be no pets,
because this amounts to slavery, according to Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's
founder and president.
The latter contention is one of the reasons for the program, Penn explains.
Many pet owners are donors to PETA, unaware of its extremist agenda.
They are also oblivious to the fact that the money they think they are
donating toward the welfare of animals goes to support arson and bombing of
buildings and other terrorist acts, according to Penn. These allegations are
documented through tax returns and admissions from PETA officials and a
confessed felon whose activities have been underwritten by the group.
Penn displays PETA ads that show emaciated Holocaust victims and
mass graves next to similar images of animals. PETA officials vehemently
argue there is no difference.
Rocker Ted Nugent, an outspoken advocate of hunting and an avowed opponent
of PETA, says his children's lives have been threatened by people who say
they are affiliated with PETA.
The head of the Los Angeles animal shelter, which boasts of rescuing 63,000
animals a year, has also been targeted. Jerry Greenwalt says his house and
car have been vandalized by people representing themselves as being from
PETA; his wife had a heart attack after one of these incidents, he adds.
Penn derides PETA's aspiration to unconditionally liberate these animals.
With freedom comes responsibilities, he says. The purpose of liberation
would be defeated because there would have to be animal jails for creatures
that kill other creatures, as they inevitably would, as well as lesser
offenses, such as defecating in the street.
Rodney Coronado, who has received at least $42,500 in support from PETA,
according to tax returns, is seen showing college students how to make a
Molotov cocktail. Coronado has admitted to bombing a Michigan State research
laboratory and pleaded guilty to six other acts of arson, Penn says.
PETA's conduct is so outrageous, it inspired Teller to break his silence
during the midseason press tour.
"I was deeply shocked by the degree of violence that's linked to PETA. I
knew that they cared more about anthropomorphizing rats than they did about
the welfare of humanity, but I didn't know the degree to which they bombed
In all likelihood, neither do many Americans who write checks to PETA,
thinking they are supporting a group like more mainstream and responsible
animal welfare organizations such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society. .
This is why the program is not only entertaining but a public service.
And that's no bull.
Tom Jicha can be reached at tjicha@....
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