Update: PETA Pulls Controversial Billboard!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We have a saying in the south, "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." If you haven't heard, there is a beef taking place in Jacksonville, Florida with PETA and their current billboard campaign promoting vegetarianism. The billboard features an illustration of an overweight woman in a bikini with the phrase "Save The Whales, Lose The Blubber: Go Vegetarian." If this is PETA's attempt at getting people to move away from an animal-based diet, I think they may want to re-think their strategy.

When I first heard this story on the news Tuesday morning, I was shocked and appalled to see the actual billboard. I do not understand why PETA would go to such measures to demean women, no matter what their size. I find this stepped way over the line of integrity and humanity.

Being overweight or obese is difficult enough, but to be the target of such malicious intent is even more frustrating and very sad to me. Why is it that there are those in our society who feel it is OK to humiliate those who don't quite fit the norm, whatever the norm is?

No one had a clue as to why I was overweight. No one knew the measures I took to lose the weight. No one knew the pain I felt when I could not walk far or when I became so out breath just walking up a flight of stairs. Being overweight is hard enough, but to have others judge me without knowing my circumstances was even harder.

As you can tell, this story opened up a lot of old wounds. Why? Because I have been in those shoes. I remember the days when I spent hours just trying to build enough courage to talk to people without thinking they weren't judging me on my size but on what I had to say. Or judging me by what I was eating when I would go to lunch with my girlfriends. Or thinking I did not have anything to offer because I did not fit in their so-called world.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling this very complex issue. To say we should just eat less and move more is such a simple answer for so many people who have never had to struggle with a weight issue. But trust me, it goes well beyond that. It's about learning to accept what your body can do at this very moment and then striving to live a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that I am committed to living the rest of my life because this is something I desire, not because society deems me to be the norm.

Are you offended by ads that unfairly depict overweight or obese individuals? What about the campaign slogan--does that infuriate you more? Do you believe our society still accepts demeaning overweight individuals? Do you think it will ever change?


Your voices have been heard. PETA has pulled the controversial billboard and has replaced it with a new one. See link New Ad.

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PETA often has some very inappropriate ads/ways of going about promoting what they believe.
I am a carnivore and proud of it. Everything in moderation. I don't believe in over eating/exclusive eating of any one food group. This ad is insensitive and makes me want to go out and eat more "mechanically separated chicken." Peta is nothing more than a group of extremists. Do I love animals?? To a point, but I'm not going to own a cow, pig or chicken as a pet. If I am going to buy one of those, it will be to raise them for food for my family. I don't believe in animal abuse at all, but these people carry their causes way too far and most of the time they get away with it. Report
"I do not understand why PETA would go to such measures to demean women, no matter what their size."

Nancy, it is because PETA does not value human life. In their eyes, animals are innocent and non-vegan humans are evil and deserve to suffer for the crimes they have committed against the innocent. I am not kidding. Remember PETA, people are animals too, and deserve to be treated with respect!

I am glad they took down the billboard.
PETA proves once again that not eating meat often enough will leave you grasping for brain power, the members of this "group", has shrinking brains inside their collective skulls. Of all the so called vegetarian's I've known in my whole life, more than half of them were/are overweight!!!! All those danged beans!!! Plus, they are killing or damaging plants by promoting eating of them, and plants are "poor, defensless, living things", so they are shooting out of both sides of their big mouths. The PETA people need to downsize their own selves, mostly, their large heads. Report
Without going into how I feel about PETA's methods or how I feel about pushy vegetarians (because that's a soapbox you don't want me to be on), I agree that the ad is disgusting.
Not only does it push their fight into the realm of pure body image (rather than health, eco-friendliness, what-have-you), but women (and men) don't need those extra constant reminders of weight.
It is also grossly misleading because it's entirely possible for a vegetarian to be overweight or obese. I personally know of a few who are.
We are in a society in which organizations promote unhealthy attitudes, incorrect information, and misleading headlines.
Then again, PETA isn't really known for their class. Report
It doesn't surprise me that there was an ad demeaning to overweight women. The pictures are all over the internet, too. Report
First, the ad implies that meat eaters are obese, and if you just stop eating meat you will lose the blubber. It's misinformation at its highest form. Meat in and of itself does not cause obesity. Second, what about thin or average-sized people who eat meat? Which I suspect would make up the largest percentage of meat eaters. An ad to promote vegetarianism should target EVERYONE who eats meat. Lastly, the ad is disrespectful and insensitive and does nothing to persuade an overweight person to become a vegetarian.

But I'm really not surprised. I lost respect for PETA years ago when they undertook the campaign to throw blood on people's fur. No matter what you feel about people wearing fur, it is illegal to destroy a person's property. There are many legitimate avenues to promote your organization and prove a point. In fact, I think PETA has done more to damage their reputation than to promote the legitimate cause of protecting animal rights. Report
I am not surprised that PETA has advertised in such an inappropriate way because that is what they do, they strike out with half-truths and go for "shock and awe" instead of truth and guidance.

I have known many underweight meat eaters and overweight vegetarians so to say that obesity is an issue of how much meat one eats is ludicrous. I realize that PETA's goal is to stop carnivorous practices and they are not truly concerned with how overweight someone is but, I think the real message they managed to send is that they feel that propaganda against the obese is a justifiable, and acceptable behavior. I feel too many think that obesity is the last acceptable prejudice and that makes it really difficult to combat. Report
It does not offend me to see obese figures depicted as unhealthy - it is the hard truth and people need to know it. I love that the Biggest Loser has brought this to light because it gave hope to obese people who had none. PETA is stupid and they do not make any sense. And as far as I know I haven's see whale in the fish case at the local grocery lately. Report
It does offend me a lil' and i agree, they need different strategy sometimes.

Im vegetarian and even so, im 190lbs. 5'2 and 20yrs old. Ive been vegeterian for a lil over 4 yrs. Its difficult to comment on their ad because i really care about animals. Thats my main reason why I dont eat meat. And I'm atteding college to be a Vet. I understand where they are coming from but not eating meat doesnt mean you'll be skinny. Its discrimination to all of us "bigger" people. I dont know why it's so hard for people to stop discriminating and disrespecting not "skinny" people. :( Report
Great just what we need another ad that says "be skinny" not be healthy. Report
1st- no I'm not really that offended b/c it's PETA and they're morons.

2nd- Um, it seems that some of you are glossing over something important about PETA. They actually adopt and put down more animals than they save. Just saying.

http://www.petakillsanimals.com /

I graduated from college with 2 people that were vegan AND significantly obese. Poor eating is poor eating vegan or not. Report
Obviously the billboard worked somewhat, it got everyones attention! Even vegetarians can be big but it is less likely, only 2% of vegans are obese whereas 2/3 of all americans are obese or overweight. Its about whether the vegan or vegetarian eater is eating healthy. But in my opinion, a healthy eating vegetarian/vegan would have to try to be overweight. Report
I feel that PETA has the right to voice their opinion. However, I think it speaks about society as a whole that their campaign has now switched from "Be compassionate" to "Let's stop being fat."

Additionally... I'd like to point something out. Correlation does not equal causation. For some people, yes, switching to a vegetarian diet will help them lose weight. But let's be honest; it's not really about taking the meat out of your diet. It's about the decision to eat better. When people switch to vegetarian, they are more likely to pay attention to what they put in their mouths. I think that the people who are vegetarian are more likely to be health conscious than those who are not vegetarian. Being vegetarian does not make you skinny. :) Report
My two most overweight friends are vegan. FAIL PETA. Fail.

And you know... the fact that PETA is okay with horrible treatment of human beings doesn't exactly make me want to help their cause. They are constantly objectifying women and it makes me very angry. Report
These people are militant extremists who support (and fund) terrorism. Why anyone continues to take them seriously, much less sell them advertising space, boggles my mind. Report
I am not surprised to see such a billboard put up by PETA. PETA is a joke! They are always controversial in their ads and they are almost never apologetic to those they \have hurt or offended. I guess you could say that the people at PETA have no respect for human beings... only animals. Report
I see nothing wrong with the billboard. People need to suck it up and realize that PETA has a cause and they will get their voice heard no matter what the cost. I am not a vegetarian nor am a i super thin person (ive gone from sz 16 to a size 6 or 8 so still not small) but Im not going to get offended when somebody else voices their opinion. PETA does a lot of good, they're not as terrible as people think. As an ex-humane society vet tech I have seen first had the abuse that some animals have had to endure because of neglegent or careless owners. I personally would put a picture of my fat ass in a bikini up on a billboard with the same slogan if it would help animals. People need to see the billboard for what it is. Its not a slam on overweight people it is simply PETA trying to get their voices heard. Report
I would never support PETA. Some of their antics borders on terrorism. There are other wonderful organizations such as the SPCA that deserves people's donations and time. Report
The depiction of an obese person doesn't affect me one way or the other. For me, I look at the psychology behind the motive that drives the person or people.

No matter what anyone says, in the end, we are still animals, driven by animal and primal instincts (we call this the Id) and we try daily to deny and control what has taken us so far throughout human history.

As far as I'm concerned, it's yet another pathetic PETA-file attempt at scaring people into believing their propaganda. They seek to prey on people’s ignorance by spreading their misinformation and using any and all tactics to do so, regardless of whom it will hurt. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you embrace being an omnivore (which ALL humans are), a vegetarian or a vegan, ANYONE can be obese if their eating and exercise habits are lacking. Report
While I agree that vegetarianism is a laudable goal, this was not the way to promote it. Report
Ok, I think this may be an unpopular opinion. But...I think people might be a wee bit too sensitive about this.

Vegetarians are, *on average*, thinner and healthier.

PETA's goal is to get people to stop eating dead animals (which I think is a very worthy goal for environmental, ethical, and health reasons). So, they're appealing to women's desire to be thin and look good.

Plenty of other ad campaigns do this too, but they do it more covertly.

Personally, I'd rather have an ad lay it all on the table and be "anti-fat", than to stare at a popular magazine with hundreds of hidden messages about what I should look like or what I should weigh.

Obesity is a huge problem in our country (pardon the pun). Where does it leave us if we can't have a sense of humor about it? Report
it seems ingrid newkirk won't leave well enough alone. she pulled this same crap with michael moore, referring to him as an elephant making a documentary about healthcare. this woman is completely wrong, and until peta gets rid of her, i will have nothing to do with their organization. she has to go! please blog peta and tell them how you feel. i will! Report
Money is exactly what it is for so, it has to be a issue(s) with associated problems in the company and towards the people the company is providing these issues of concern to, I guess what I am trying to say is that it takes two, if this was not the issue the company would be suing it self. Something, will always be a source of concern and should be announced but only providing the correct information, first. I think I would rather have all the right information before making any critical decisions. Report
Let's face it...PETA knows that one offensive billboard earns them hours of free world-wide publicity. They're just using our outrage to fund their agenda. Report
I read what "monkeygirlrain" had posted and agree with her. Can't take things too seriously...But PETA is over the top Report
Definitely not a fan of PETA. I feel they are underhanded, disrespectful of the human population, and resort to any lies or abberrant behavior to promote their cause.............like to see them take a few hits in the media. Report
The Creator must have intended for us to eat animals or else they wouldn't have been made out of meat. Report
The sign may have been inappropriate. What if it was a overweight man? Would it have been as controversial? Report
While I agree that it is disgusting the more we talk about them, the more press they get. Every time they do something ludicrous and get a lot of press they just get worse the next time. Report
I agree with other members who say PETA loves animals more than humans...sad.
I was vegetatian for years until I realized it was hurting my weight loss efforts...not everyone loses weight when they stop eating meat...and there are lots of foods that are bad for you and still vegetarian. I work with a guy who is also vegetarian and he has always been overweight. I think vegetarianism can be healthy and would love to go back to it...but a billboard making fun of overweight people would not be the way to convince me! Shame on them!
PETA step over the line? *sarcasm* noooooooooo ..... you're kidding *end sarcasm* ... They've used many over the top or over the line tactics throughout the years. They're just as bad as the people who kill abortion doctors because abortion is murder. Doesn't make complete sense right? I believe most of the antics they pull push people away from thier orginization & they should be arrested for quite a few of them.

Also, I'd like to say something about the discussion on being offended that's going on. Personally, I'm not offended or even bothered... as Fotomaker put it, it's better to just ignore it. My problem with PETA is they are just annoying! And they break laws with little to no consequence and think it's ok if it's for their "cause". As far as being offended, it's too hard to feel that way when the advertisement makes you laugh at their immaturity and ignorance. Report
Like being vegetarian automatically means that you're skinny? I've known a few fat vegetarians in my time. Grilled cheese is vegetarian, but hardly "diet friendly"! Report
Are you offended by ads that unfairly depict overweight or obese individuals?
I am offended by lots of things but I feel like I need to follow my own advice that I give my children. That is if you let them see it bothers you they will keep doing it. Just ignore them.

What about the campaign slogan--does that infuriate you more?

It doesn't infuriate me. I actually find it a bit amusing because again they are like my children. Okay I can't do it my way so I will find a way around it. It's still picking just ignore it.

Do you believe our society still accepts demeaning overweight individuals? Do you think it will ever change?

No I don't think we purposely demean overweight individuals. I think some people are not the majority and are shallow and insecure and need someone else to pick on to make themselves feel better. Yes I think it will change but only if people are educated on the issue. Report
I'm offended by anything PETA does, or says Report
PETA clearly follows the tenet that any press is good press. They are always so tasteless and I am sure they know it. Report
I am a vegetarian (who has never been overweight OR anemic/low energy), but I despise PETA's veggie-evangelism tactics. I know for a fact you can be healthy and still eat meat just as you can be unhealthy and be a vegetarian. Same goes for overweight: some meat-eaters are slim; some vegetarians are overweight. Report
Its PETA, its what they do. I am a vegie... and have been for years, and yes, I am a fat girl. Its a silly idea that vegies are all thin... we are not. I am also an avid animal lover. However, I don't feel that being a vegie is right for everyone... our digestive tracts are made to digest meat, and our teeth are made to grind it as well. I wish there was an orginization that met somewhere in the middle between the Humane Society (which does not do enough) and PETA (which is over the top). I think it is best to not be too offended by PETA, quite honestly, not many people really take them too seriously! Report
Nothing PETA does surprises me...what do you expect out of an organization that funds "eco-terrorists" and admits it? Report
My husband and I both went vegetarian for 3 months. Husband lost weight, I remained the same... except for the intense headaches, extreme irritability, low energy (even though I was sleeping 12 hours a night). No thanks PETA -- I tried it and for me, it sucks. Just like your crappy sexist juvenile tactics. Report
I have long been appalled at PETA for their tactics. At best, their campaigns are juvenile, like that of a toddler trying to get the attention of a unattentive parent. Most of the time their publicity stunts are more damaging to the cause they are fighting for. If PETA really wanted to gain more believers to their cause, they should stop attacking the very people they are trying to convert. Who wants to be part of a group that act like a bunch of domestic terrorists? Not I.

As far as Vegetarianism goes, I tried it out for five years. I was an Ovo-Lacto Veggie. In other words, I still ate eggs and dairy. I ate lots of veggies, tofu, grains. and nuts completely cutting out all meat from my diet. Did it make me healthier? No. I was anemic, undernourished and to top it off I gained weight! So if PETA thinks we will have a better world if everyone went to being vegan, they are wrong. Everyone has different nutritional needs. Report
People for the Eating of Tasty Animals! YUM!! Report
I was not offended at all by the billboard - and I thank GOD for the random pick up of the book "Skinny bitch" and PETA's website when I was almost 260 pounds and morbidly obese! It changed my LIFE! It opened my eyes to the horrible truth that is the meat industry and after doing much research on my own, I now do my best to eat vegan. The health benefits are amazing, and I can feel good knowing that I am savings lives and the environment.

PETA is a fringe group of ridiculous radicals who have NO respect for humans of ANY size or shape. They do not "protect" animals; they worship animals. They have it all wrong. I believe in the humane treatment of animals but that does NOT translate into treating animals BETTER than humans or putting them first. PETA has NO integrity or honor. This latest gaffe is just another (of many) example of their screwed up value system. Report
Happy that PETA got called on the carpet but have a sneaking suspicion that it was their game plan all along. Get the press coverage. PETA has definitely lost their way and is more about "who we are" than "what we do". They have become a fashion statement organization for shallow individuals pretending to matter or care. I have long since stopped any type of funding for these fools and donate directly to animal shelters with either money or food. I KNOW the money is going to actually aid our furry friends rather than keep a bunch of disgruntled whackos in the news. Report
Yes I also found it to be cruel, and unessary. They complained about the President killing a fly, and then put something like that up that is so cruel to people that are struggling enough as it is. Report
Congrats to those who made their voices heard and made something happen!

Meh. It's PETA. Do we really expect them to act with integrity given their past actions? Frankly their billboard made me want to put on a bikini and sit my 270 lb butt on their door-step and dare them to insult me to my face!

As for humiliating, I'm not so sure. It's only humiliating if you let it humiliate you. If you ignore it or defy it, it can't beat you. Report
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