PETA – Pseudoscience and emotional thoughtlessness for animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have never been known for their rational discourse about animal rights. Instead, they use propaganda including pseudoscience to bolster their agenda. They are back with a false connection between dairy and autism.

PETA Embraces Autism Pseudoscience « Science-Based Medicine.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a history of (as the old saying goes) using science as a drunk uses a lamppost – for support rather than illumination. In that way they are typical of ideological groups. They have an agenda, they are very open about their beliefs, and they marshal whatever arguments they can in order to promote their point of view.

PETA now provides us with a fresh example of how having an ideological agenda can motivate an individual or a group to embrace dubious science. In a recent article the groups warns: Got Autism? Learn About the Link Between Dairy Products and the Disease. They claim:

The reason why dairy foods may worsen or even cause autism is being debated. Some suspect that casein harms the brain, while others suggest that the gastrointestinal problems so often caused by dairy products cause distress and thus worsen behavior in autistic children.

The post goes on to detail how misleading this is. That’s their schtick. They don’t care about backing up claims with facts, it’s an emotional ploy and fear-mongering.

The stoopid coming from PETA is nothing new. In fact, this same campaign of autism-dairy was rolled out in 2008: PETA: Even more impossible to parody than ever! – Respectful Insolence.

Their agenda isn’t based in science. Other zingers they have proposed are:

Besides that, their views on animal experimentation, violence against people who wear fur or eat meat and their pornographic campaigns are just insane. What we can hope from this new assinine campaign is that only fringe people will believe fringe activist organizations. The animals deserve better than this.

The following posts fight back with the same emotional words but also references.

PETA Is A Stupid Organization | The Darwin Report.

PETA Hypocrisy – Skeptico.

One Dad’s Opinion: PO’d at PETA.



  21 comments for “PETA – Pseudoscience and emotional thoughtlessness for animals

  1. Drew
    May 28, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Lets not forget their leader who equated the death of chickens for our dinner table with the Jews that died in the Holocaust.

  2. Indrid Cole
    May 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Whoever came up with the chicken wing/small penis theory obviously didn’t think it through, that test study has been going on for decades.

  3. Katey
    May 28, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    What really bothers me about PETA (besides the above) is that their whole platform of single issue campaigns and endorsement of “happy exploitation” and “humane meat” does not serve the purpose of animal rights at all. They aren’t nearly as “extreme” as a lot of people might think. And when you want to end violence and exploitation of the vulnerable, you don’t endorse violence or use sexist ad campaigns to get that point across. But they keep the donations rolling in. They do more harm to animal rights than help, to say the least.

  4. May 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    It amazes me that PETA has existed for as long as it has, especially when you consider the fact that the organization has done very little for animal rights, and that the only thing they really seem to do anymore is outrageous stuff like this.

  5. Greg Simpson
    May 28, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Actually, PETA has done quite a lot for animal rights, especially animals used in unnecessary cosmetic testing, so-called “puppy mills,” mistreatment of animals in circus, the absolute cruelty of the factory farm industry and the fur business, and the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. They do make rather silly claims at times, and many of their protests seem outlandish and can be offensive to the public, but many of these events are done for the shock value and publicity. The good they have done over the years far outweighs the sloppy claims made. I’m proud to support them, as an atheist and skeptic and fan of science.

  6. May 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I’d have to see evidence that PETA was instrumental. Did they support animal rights legislation because I’ve seen that from mostly grassroots groups or the humane societies. Not to mention the act was passed in 1966. What Pacheco did in the 80s was necessary but was that a PETA effort or the impetus for the formation of the group?

    McDonalds has done a lot to reduce cruelty in factory farming, too. (Fast Food Nation) What about The Jungle? Media has had a tremendous impact.

    PETA extremism may get donations but does it really get results? I used to support them too but not since they became a terrorist threat. I wouldn’t agree one should be proud of their support of violent measures and misinformation.

  7. May 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Greg: I see their Wikipedia page lists a large number of efforts they participated in. It is a shame they are extreme in many of their ideas which is what lost them my support and gained them my derision especially since lying for your cause is not ethical.

  8. One Eyed Jack
    May 28, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Unfortunately, like the majority of “charities”, PETA exists more for the donors than anything else. It’s vogue to give to PETA. Hey, look at me. I donate to PETA. I love animals. I’m a good person.

    What the organization actually accomplishes is secondary. The act of the donation and the feeling it engenders ensures the perpetuation of the charity.

    So, all of those extreme campaigns are necessary. Donors like to see their charity at work, whether it accomplishes anything or not.

    If a person really cares about animals, they should donate to The Humane Society. They actually make a difference.

  9. Brian
    May 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    PETA uses a lamp post more like a hooker than a drunk. Their tactics helped remove an animal shelter so a development company could put a condo/ office space there. They used tactics that HAVE to be illegal- they followed all of the shelter workers (I was one of them) for months, harassing us and sneaking onto property, and causing a lot of problems. Unlike the one vague supporter up there, I can provide names of the people running this shelter. They can corroborate my story.

  10. Overkill
    May 28, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    The ends justify the means. Got it.

  11. Nos482
    May 29, 2014 at 3:31 AM

    “Cats and dogs can be fine on a vegetarian diet.”
    Lolwut? Oo

  12. Grackle
    May 29, 2014 at 4:25 AM

    Agreed completely. My money goes to other groups like Vegan Outreach, Mercy for Animals, Compassion. Over Killing, etc–they don’t trade one form of exploitation for another.

  13. Grackle
    May 29, 2014 at 4:37 AM

    Dogs are omnivores like us, so they actually do just fine on a well-balanced vegan diet. That really isn’t even controversial; tons of people have vegan dogs and unless the dog has some kind of health condition that limits their dietary options, there really isn’t a problem.

    Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores, and need meat. (I think it’s the taurine content, specifically?) I’ve heard of people feeding their cats on a vegan diet but in my experience even most animal rights activists won’t do that because it’s dumb and incredibly unhealthy.

  14. Adam
    May 29, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    In the last few weeks I’ve read assertions from different sources that the following cause autism – mercury, vaccinations, round-up weed killer, GMO crops, dairy products and fluoride.

    What they all have in common is they’re made as statements of fact are made by members of a lunatic fringe and naturally no evidence is presented to substantiate the claims.

  15. L. Barth
    May 29, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Why did PETA want an animal shelter removed & how did they do it?

  16. Brian
    May 31, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    They did it because the people who wanted it handed them gobs of money, and they pretty much (for lack of a better term) whored themselves out and trolled the local legislation. And because they just couldn’t stop there- they harassed everyone connected to the place AFTER it shut down. It was nothing more than dirty politics and greed- over a place that was built in a flood zone, yet! This company had built another place in a flood zone in another part of town. My ex boss (I also did part time drywall cleanup for extra cash) tried to make me cross this narrow wooden plank to the building, sitting in 12 feet of rushing flood water. I told him to go stuff himself.

    They pretty much were used as tools.

  17. Brian
    May 31, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I haven’t got any evidence either- but I sometimes can’t help but wonder if autistic people a) have a certain set function that they cannot achieve in a society gone damned nuts. (wife says I have a touch of Aspergers) b) Some of the less affected may actually be throwbacks to a simpler, more structured human society- and of course they can’t function in this crazy world. From what I have seen, There are a lot of people with a lot of mental illness, and autistics might just actually be NORMAL. They just cannot be normal, when they have to live in a nut house of a world. It is also of interest that the government, from what I am told, refuses to let autistic and aspergers children socialize in groups. This comes from someone I know who has an autistic teen.

  18. Brian
    May 31, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Sorry- trolled FOR the local legislation.

  19. D
    June 1, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Hey Sharon, sorry are you calling them a terrorist organization because they actually engaged in terrorism or just because the FBI put them on their watch list?

    That doesnt exactly meet my rigorous burden of proof when the FBI have, at one time or another, treated civil rights and antiwar groups like terrorists before.

  20. terrence
    June 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Whenever I hear or see the word “PETA”, I am always reminded of PERV

    People for the Ethical Regard of Vegetables
    * How would you like to be separated from your nether regions, plunged into a boiling cauldron of oil or water and then eaten?
    * How would you like to have your genitalia cut off and used to decorate churches, houses and the bosoms of human females?
    * How would you like to have your unborn children put in a mill and ground up over the corpses of related species?
    * How would you like to have your head cut off so that people can play football on you?
    * And it’s a matter of your own health. Do you realise that leguminous vegetables such as peas and beans fix deadly nitrogen from the air, which could give you cancer?

    Act now! Send a large cheque to the Number Watch Cayman Island account to become a member of PERV. In return you will receive a free catalogue of synthesized proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and fibre (no fat, of course) with price list. Leave the flowers where they are in the field. You know it makes scents.

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