Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

PETA Sued by Author of “The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery” September 4, 2008

Filed under: vegan — Joselle @ 4:06 pm

Although the article,“PETA Is Sued by Author Over Slavery Comparison,”appeared in the New York Sun a few weeks back, I just came across it today (thanks to the latest episode of Animal Voices) and wanted to share it and get your thoughts.

A New York author of an influential book on animal rights is suing the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying the group has brought disrepute upon her book.

At issue in the unusual lawsuit is a campaign by PETA to draw comparisons between the suffering of animals and the suffering of slaves. The campaign drew criticism from civil rights groups.

The suit claims that the controversy PETA stirred up will have an ill effect on the reputation of a 1988 book written by the animal rights activist, Marjorie Spiegel, whose work is titled “The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery.”

First-time readers of the book will now “be forced to view it through the distorted prism that PETA has created, rather than on its own merits,” the civil complaint, which is filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, says…

The lawsuit is perhaps the most surprising, but certainly not the first, negative reaction to PETA’s roving exhibit, titled “Are Animals the New Slaves?”

The exhibit, which toured several cities in 2005, juxtaposed images of oppression against black Americans with images of dead, dying, or captive animals. There was, for instance, a picture of a lynching not far from a picture of a cow carcass in a slaughterhouse, according a news report on the exhibit at the time.

The exhibit drew criticism from civil rights groups such as a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to news reports.

The traveling exhibit, as well as brochures by PETA, used material that appears to be from Ms. Spiegel’s book without permission, the civil complaint claims.

The complaint draws attention to the negative reviews that the exhibit received and positive book reviews Ms. Spiegel’s work garnered.


6 Responses to “PETA Sued by Author of “The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery””

  1. Sara Says:

    Smart PR move–if only to show that vegans and PeTA sre not synonymous, especially on such an important issue like race.

  2. sorsofilia Says:

    I second Sara’s opinion. I’m really glad this happened. The legal action of Marjorie Spiegel doesn’t seem so “unusual” when one considers how annoying and misleading it is for PETA to be equated with the animal rights movement (in the public eye).

  3. johanna Says:

    I think the previous 2 commenters raised a really good point, & I admire the lawsuit for that reason.

    OTOH, though, I wonder how this lawsuit will fare in the courts. I mean, PETA’s work makes Spiegel’s book look bad — couldn’t the same be said for any negative book review? Couldn’t the same be said for anyone with the public eye who talks about a book? What am I missing here?

  4. coathangrrr Says:

    Johanna, the important line in the article, for the lawsuit, is this one:

    The traveling exhibit, as well as brochures by PETA, used material that appears to be from Ms. Spiegel’s book without permission, the civil complaint claims.

    If PETA did use her work and it had negative repercussions then she probably has a case.

  5. Speaking of authors and the co-opting of the AR movement by “corporate fat-cats”, you might find this critique of Matthew Scully by Steven Best interesting. Speaking of Scully’s book, Dominion, Best says,
    “he is calling for MERCY (to the slaves) not LIBERATION (of the slaves). And we needed a burdensome arsenal or arcane metaphysics, philosophical, and legal theory to reach this conclusion? A few rights/abolitionist voices tried to expose the severe limitations of this overwrought speciesist and welfarist tome, but they were drowned out by the roar of the multitudes celebrating the movement’s “revolutionary” breakthrough into new social sectors — so “new,” in fact, that there were now more white, elite, and “privileged” people in the animal advocacy/vegan movements than before.”

  6. rf Says:

    causing pain and/or death to a sentient being is wrong in a civilized society. no good can come of this use/ abuse enslavement.

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