FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Detroit Water Debt as PETA’s Latest P.R. Platform

by

After the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department cut off water service to 17,000 households with overdue bills, and a thousand protesters took to the streets, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced they’d pay water bills for ten residents who sign a pledge, by August 1, to eat as vegans for a month.

Now it’s good that PETA president Ingrid Newkirk is talking about avoiding animal agribusiness (PETA often just presses McDonald’s and others to have animals killed in particular ways). And Newkirk is right about vegans saving water. According to Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander, author of Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility (2011), if you’re consuming animal products, you use some 315,000 gallons of water per year, and it’s only matter of time before governments start restricting animal farming in order to secure fresh water supplies.

That said, does anyone else get the sinking feeling that with PETA, water stress is just the latest shtick?

The ten recipients will also get gift baskets containing vegan-friendly foods and a recipe book. It’s so much like the group’s “treats for the troops” campaign—during the deployment of the USS Truman to Afghanistan, PETA regaled military personnel with vegan cookies and pictures of a “PETA pin-up girl” hoping to “turn the troops on to vegetarianism”—that it comes off more absurd than helpful to the vegan cause.

Moreover, the president of PETA, who frequently undertakes book tours and turns up at events in Europe, likely has a larger environmental footprint than a cash-strapped person in Detroit. A little introspection is in order. Instead, Detroit’s people are offered water on PETA’s terms, if they enter a contest only a few can win.

There are sound ideas and resources for growing food crops in Detroit’s own community. PETA could simply support them rather than having people nominate themselves for goody bags shipped from out of state. PETA could also offer no-strings-attached help with water bills, as others have stepped up to do. Detroit residents seeking direct help paying for water should be shown this information.

People who can’t pay for basic water services are vulnerable and desperate. PETA is too out of touch to understand that this campaign taunts them—or too attention-hungry to care.

Lee Hall, a teacher of environmental, immigration, and animal law, has worked in the non-profit advocacy sector, and is a long-term vegan. Follow Lee on Twitter: @Animal_Law 

Lee Hall, J.D., LL.M., is an independent author, an adjunct professor of law and legal studies, a retail worker, and the creator of a studio for the Art of Animal Liberation on Patreon, for which support is always welcome and deeply appreciated.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail