Actress Pamela Anderson recently posed for a provocative PETA advertisement reminding people that legs, breasts, and ribs are body parts—not entrées. Her body was painted in marks suggestive of a butcher’s diagram to hammer home the point that “All Animals Have the Same Parts.”
Anderson flew to Montréal to unveil the ad at Jacques Cartier Square, but the Montreal Film and TV Commission refused to issue a permit, citing flimsy reasons about male-female equality. City official Josee Rochefort sent PETA a last-minute e-mail claiming that the ad is “not so much controversial as it goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women.”
In response Anderson said, “In a city that is known for its exotic dancing and for being progressive and edgy, how sad that a woman would be banned from using her own body in a political protest over the suffering of cows and chickens.”
It’s not as if Anderson was forced to appear in the ad—that would have been a different matter entirely. Or if the ad was promoting discrimination rather than respect and tolerance. It seems as though Canadian officials missed the message completely. The ad, essentially, is about equality. It points out that all animals—human and nonhuman—deserve compassion and justice. We all have the same parts, and the same capacity for pain and suffering. We can’t profess to support equality yet complacently devour other sentient beings at the same time.
Chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals killed for food may not speak in ways that we can easily understand, but they are like us in many other important and relevant ways: They are made of flesh, blood, and bone. They feel pain and pleasure and joy and grief. They are terrified of the knife, and they cry out and don’t want to be eviscerated. When you eat a chicken’s breast, leg, thigh, or wing, or any other piece of animal flesh, you are eating part of a dead, dismembered animal who was killed in a bloody, violent way.
Most people want to be kind, but that means more than petting the family dog. Surely we can all open our hearts a bit wider and have mercy for all beings with whom we share not only the same parts, but the same feelings? If you haven’t already done so, please see VegCooking.com for meat-free recipes.