Calling a coward a "chicken" or a chauvinist a "pig" is just a colorful way to dress up your language. Or are they actually "anti-animal slurs" on par with racist and homophobic insults?
The group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is no stranger to controversy, but their most recent claim has many exasperated.
In a tweet, PETA claims that using animals as insults is "speciesism" and should be changed.
Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression. Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforc… https://t.co/E8UAVNzMSL— PETA (@PETA) 1611680533.0
They claim it's hurtful and perpetuates negative stereotypes about certain animals.
Speciesist language isn’t just harmful, but it is also inaccurate. Pigs, for instance, are intelligent, lead compl… https://t.co/5JfHKaH1gX— PETA (@PETA) 1611680533.0
The infographic shows the animal name often used as an insult, such as "snake" or "rat" and suggests you replace it with the original word you likely switched it out for in your language, like "jerk" or "snitch."
Aside from the idea that this promotes a speciesist mindset, PETA responded to a number of comments claiming that "if you believe in equality and justice" that you also should adjust your language to remove animal-based insults.
This had a lot of people rolling their eyes at PETA's claim.
you did not just call these slurs https://t.co/dpXS2a3dnM— milfluc (@milfluc) 1611852432.0
PETA is so lost man. https://t.co/ZznwzsWlCY— James (@James) 1612130820.0
PETA is an incredibly unserious group. lol https://t.co/70b2iLhAEE— 🎃Merc 🎃 (@🎃Merc 🎃) 1611898781.0
They really don’t help themselves at all do they https://t.co/a7IWVFChIY— Tabby Lamb (@Tabby Lamb) 1612122202.0
Veganism and animal rights activism can both be very noble ideals and advocated for successfully by many groups and people. But PETA has a reputation for shock campaigns that do little to improve the reputation of those fighting for animal rights.
On one end of the spectrum, in 2018, they pulled almost this exact same stunt, claiming that negative animal sayings, such as "kill two birds with one stone" also promoted speciesist thinking.
On the other end, they've gotten in trouble for comparing pig slaughterhouses to the Holocaust and insulted a remembrance of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter.
It's so bad, a lot of vegans and animal rights activistsdistance themselves from the organization.
@peta This is my 7th year of being vegan and I am begging u to never tweet again— Kaylynn Creighton (@Kaylynn Creighton) 1611822836.0
@PinkNews Everytime PETA does something it makes me more and more convinced they're an anti-vegan hoax designed to… https://t.co/H5RejPEtZ6— Saoirse del Tufo #BLM 🌹🇮🇪🏳️🌈 (@Saoirse del Tufo #BLM 🌹🇮🇪🏳️🌈) 1612122527.0
if you’re wondering what that scraping sound is, it’s PETA continuing to drag back the cause of animal liberation b… https://t.co/LkRyupzD46— Russell Warfield (@Russell Warfield) 1611871732.0
PETA's anti-animal slur claim didn't hold up well when the rest of the internet started commenting back. The group was swarmed with negative comments on their posts.
The group eventually put up a video of a demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale, explaining their issue with our animal-based metaphors.
"We're telling people that when they fight racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and any other social injustice, to also consider animals and consider speciesism."
However, not everyone thought the issue was so dire.
@lgbtqnation This may make some people a little sheepish if they're dogged about it... even if it was done on a lark.— Post-Scarcity, all else is boring⚛️ 🏳️🌈🎮🔭🎨🎵 (@Post-Scarcity, all else is boring⚛️ 🏳️🌈🎮🔭🎨🎵) 1611869122.0
@peta As a furry i am going to give everyone the pass on this one— ItsFore(tm) (@ItsFore(tm)) 1611770561.0
I'm going to start using "Peta" as a slur to refer to people I don't like. https://t.co/2Ixn7OT1mk— John Coon (@John Coon) 1611855994.0
peta saying 'chicken' is a slur makes back to the future so much funnier— leonidas. (@leonidas.) 1611852658.0
Comments on PETA's speciesism advocacy posts have a lot of detractors, many who just post pictures of meat or remind PETA of past transgressions.
The group is currently pushing for dictionaries to remove derogatory definitions of animals from their databases. However, many pointed out that the dictionaries just reflect society's usage and context.
Though if we've learned anything about what PETA does, they're really bad at context.