Animal Rights – Fundraising Wrongs ~ Part I

Images of abused or horribly disfigured animals have become the peta-porn of the animal rights industry

Images of abused, disfigured or dead animals termed “Peta-Porn” are a manipulative tool of the animal rights industry ~ PeTA Fundraising Graphic

A Shocking Deception

The trend of shock value advertising by animal rights organizations began with PeTA in the early 1980’s and their graphic photos of vivisection on monkeys. Since then, the animal rights industry has devolved from protecting animals into slickly managed, no-holds-barred, fundraising machines. The object of the exercise is not to help animal shelters and rescues that are desperate for resources, but rather an aggressive “bait and switch” diversion of donations to fat pension funds, legislation, litigation and propaganda targeting prohibitions against a broad spectrum of animal interests to which they are ideologically opposed, primarily food production, zoos, circuses and hunting. Meanwhile, the puppies and kittens whose images they peddle under the false pretenses of rescue seem a low priority consideration.

So called animal advocates seeking to escape the stigma associated with the term ‘animal rights’ have taken to calling themselves ‘animal protection’ groups. The names may be different, but the ideology is the same. These groups oppose all animals in captivity, hunting and/or any kind of animal use. This is the premise used to raise money from their fanatical base. However, these groups are now using graphic images of horrifically maimed, injured or dead animals in fundraising campaigns to appeal to the mainstream public. I call this strategy Peta-Porn, and its use is escalating, fueled by the power of social media. Painting with the broad brush of righteous indignation, they depict any kind of human-animal interaction as exploitation.

Americans love animals. They love their pets, and they love wildlife. Animal rights organizations, now pinning themselves with the moniker of “animal protection,” have learned that grotesque photos of abused animals (Peta-Porn) coupled with sensationalized often untrue stories, can open the flood gates for donations from the animal loving American public. Ed Sayres, the former CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) road on PeTA’s coat tails to justify his own $500,000-plus annual paycheck. Remember the horrible TV commercials with photos of tortured and disfigured dogs and cats (Peta-Porn) accompanied by sad music and an urgent plea for money? Now many animal rights groups appear to be emulating this model in aggressive TV, email and social media campaigns.

The animal rights appetite for this disgusting brand of porn seems to mirror the appetites of sexual pornography addicts. As the public becomes habituated to increasingly violent images of abused animals, the frequency and brutality of Peta-Porn continues to escalate. Everyone finds these images shocking. However, many become highly agitated and even violently angry after viewing Peta-Porn. The vitriol in comments on animal rights blogs and social media pages is full of threats and hatred. Peta-Porn is now a component of almost every social media newsfeed in the country. The trend and dark purpose is truly disturbing.

“A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.” ~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the largest animal rights organization in the world, spends less than 2% of it $165 million annual budget on animal shelters. They spend over $80 million annually impacting legislation and fundraising.

Organizations like HSUS, Born Free USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) touting themselves as animal “protection” organizations, have cast their net wide to snare every high profile animal issue that grabs the headlines and turns American stomachs. They have been actively exploiting highly charged animal issues such as elephant poaching and dog fighting; and make no mistake, it has become a fundraising jackpot. They raise hundreds of millions of dollars, but often they use extremely deceptive marketing to reach their fundraising goals.

*When you see Peta-Porn on Facebook or Twitter ~ Tag It! ==> #PetaPorn


Andrew Wyatt is a government affairs consultant that works exclusively in the wildlife sector.

“Animal Rights and other wildlife issues are highly charged and contentious. I specialize in working with clients to employ campaign style tactics to change hearts and minds on vital issues in the wildlife sector. Please follow The Last Word for insight and analysis particular to the 21st century wildlife sector. If you would like to discuss the potential advantages of running a targeted issue campaign, and/or a comprehensive government affairs strategy, please call or email me.” ~ Andrew Wyatt


© Andrew Wyatt and The Last Word, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew Wyatt and The Last Word with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

14 thoughts on “Animal Rights – Fundraising Wrongs ~ Part I

  1. you ignore the fact that these abuses do in fact exist. Monkeys, dogs and cats suffer in laboratories, dogs are beaten and skinned alive in a vile dog meat trade, dogs are use as live shark bait in some french polyneasia countries, the US western states trap and snare wolves and the US Wildlife services traps and kills millions of wild animals each year. You might have your head in the sand on this one. Good marketing is smart and its a sorry state that these images are able to be used at all. Until animal abuse stops someone must be the whistle blower. i don’t make a dime from wildlife advocacy but I put up a site to highlight the daily abuse of wild predators like coyotes and to counter the claims that these are isolated instances. Take a look and see what you think

    wild animals in particular have no legal protections from abuses that are obscene and they are legal in many states. Its time to change that and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    • I do not ignore the fact that some cases do in fact exist; just like child abuse exists. That does not mean that I think you should post images of abused children or child pornography to affirm that it exists. What I take exception to is so called animal protection groups playing to the lowest common denominator and attempting to paint the picture that anyone involved with animals is an exploiter, depicting them as the perpetrators of these images in order to separate caring people from their hard earned cash. I think the use of Peta-Porn to illicit donations that are diverted to ulterior uses is despicable, and those that do it are no better than pornographers.

      The problem I see with ‪PetaPorn‬ is not only related to fundraising. The more graphic abuse people see, the more desensitized they become. Habituation is a real psychological phenomenon. We don’t want people to cease to be shocked at horrific abuse and neglect. PetaPorn foments the problem it purports to correct.

  2. This article is pure disinformation from a “government affairs consultant.” You would hope that wildlife sectors would actually PROTECT wildlife, not support and encourage the hunting and eventual extinction of more animals from our planet. Sadly this sector works for those with a heartless, financial agenda.

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the statement that “Americans love animals.” Americans love to KILL animals is an accurate statement. Pets for the most part are cared for, but beyond the scope of household pets animals are on dinner plates and on walls as “trophies.”

    Was the entire factory farming industry mentioned? How about fur farms where even now animals (which feel pain, emotions, and suffer) are skinned alive and thrown in a hole to die in misery? Puppy Mills Mr. Wyatt? How about how trendy it is to slap a Browning sticker on your vehicle to prove in your blood-thirsty arrogance that you are cool enough to bow hunt?

    Camo is the going thing to wear all over America. Do these people love deer, trees and nature . . . or are they just part of the growing apathy toward nature and desensitized from the suffering of animal life? Thank goodness for PETA and organizations that protect LIFE before it is completely eradicated by industrial capitalism.

    Great job Louise on pointing out how flawed this article truly is. Kudos!

    • I do not think that anyone is arguing that atrocities to animals do not exist. I think that this article is critical of fundraising tactics that mislead the public.

      However, let’s look at the FACTS concerning PeTA’s “protection of LIFE.” In 2011, PeTA’s kill rate in its shelter was 96%. In 2012, PeTA killed 602 of the 733 dogs that it took into its “rescue.” The same year, PeTA killed 1045 of the 1110 cats it took into its “rescue.” Veterinarians who contacted PeTA to rescue perfectly healthy and adoptable homeless animals surrendered them to PeTA personnel who did not even transport them back to the “shelter” and instead killed them in the van in which they were collected. This is not rescue. This is slaughter.

      Protecting the welfare and care of animals, both domestic and wild is an absolutely noble cause. It is a cause to which people will donate money without being misled and without being subjected to horrifically graphic photos and images.

  3. We live in a society of conditional ignorance and complacent bliss. These atrocities force humans to look inside themselves and reflect on what they feel and deem is right and wrong. That is the whole point of showing these pictures. For too long humans have been sheltered and protected from and there is a disconnect between animals and the way we treat them. I applaud animal protection groups for getting out to humans the shameful and horrific things we do to the other living creatures on this planet.

    • I disagree. The proliferation of this type of pornography has gone far beyond awakening people to cruelty. PETA-porn has taken on a life of it’s own. There is a disconnect between the escalating horror created by the purveyors of this porn, and reality. Just as with sexual pornography, PETA-porn continues to necessitate more and more graphic images to illicit the same response from consumers, increasing the appetite for even more depraved material. The idea that this is the norm and not an aberration is exactly what the purveyors seek to promote in their zeal to raise more money.

  4. Sure, wildlife conservation and animal protection is a popular issue in the States and elsewhere, but if people are really so concerned about animal welfare, how can the 700,000 likes for Kendall Jones be explained? Why is it still common and even legal practice in so many states to kill rattlesnakes at sight? What about industrial (fur) farming? And apart from animal ethics, what about public awareness and consumer behavior related to environmental issue (global warming, industrial monocultures carving away rainforests)?

    • Hi Daniel. We whole-heartedly agree that people should not be allowed to kill rattlesnakes on sight, and we have worked against the “rattlesnake round-ups” that result in the horrific killing of thousands of rattlesnakes each year. That being said, what does Kendall Jones have to do with industrial fur farming, global warming, indsutrial monocultures and the rainforests?

      Kendall Jones was engaged in a legal activity. We understand that some people are ideologically opposed to hunting. However, it is indisputable that legal and controlled big game hunting produces significant revenues for conservation in Africa. Just because people oppose hunting, it does not excuse the ruthless persecution of a young woman engaged in a legal activity.

      We are extremely pro-environment and pro-conservation. In modern society, controlled big game hunting is part of that picture, as distasteful as that is to many.

  5. Pingback: Animal Rights – Fundraising Wrongs ~ Part II | The Last Word

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