“Animals are such agreeable creatures- they ask no questions; they pass no criticism” – George Elliot
This statement couldn’t be truer. Pets offer human beings comfort and unconditional love. But, have you ever wondered if our dearest friends find it offensive when we call them our pets?
Well, PETA or People For Ethical Treatment Of Animals, think so apparently. They want to encourage people to use words like ‘companion’ for our dogs and cats.
PETA And Piers
PETA activist Jennifer White recently appeared on Good Morning Britain, a morning news and talk show, hosted by Piers Morgan.
She explained her stance on doing away with the word ‘pet’. She believes that the word suggests that animals are the property of their human guardians.
Host Piers Morgan was visibly annoyed by this suggestion and told her that the word ‘pet’ originated from Scottish Gaelic ‘paeta’ which means tamed animal. There is nothing in the usage of the word that would make it appear derogatory towards animals. He also mentioned that most people take very good care of their pets and are quite responsible.
Nick Ade who was another guest on the show debated with White and pointed out that although PETA does amazing work to stop animal cruelty around the world, but making a big deal about a three-lettered word trivializes all the brilliant activism that they have done in the past years.
White admitted early on that animals don’t exactly have a comprehensive understanding of the English language, but emphasized the point that language affects our behavior and our perception about things.
This is true, but I believe when it comes to our furry mates, what affects them more is how humans treat them; if they are being careless when they are spending time with them, and if they are making them feel safe and loved.
Furthermore, the point that Morgan was stuck with was the irony that PETA is spelled with the word ‘pet’ in it. So, if they find the word problematic then surely they must change the name of their organization too and rename it as ‘companion’? Otherwise, they’re being hypocrites.
He said, “Are you planning on changing the name of your organization,” to which, White replied, “No, we don’t intend to change it because it’s only an acronym.“
Morgan went on,
“You want to ban the word pet but you want your organization to carry on being called PETA? Do you see the problem? But ‘pet’ is offensive. I’m offended by the use of the word pet.”
PETA was able to do what I thought would never be possible. It made me agree with the fundamentally disagreeable Piers Morgan, whose condescending tone always makes me see red.
Even in this interview, he was constantly shouting at White and interrupting her when she was trying to explain her views. My views don’t match hers but Morgan treated her horribly and he should have been more respectful.
After the interview, Morgan tweeted that this was the most fun he’s had at an interview in his 4.5 years on GMB.
GMB ran a poll where it asked people whether they find the word ‘pet’ derogatory to which 97% of people concurred that PETA is barking mad.
PETA And Phrases
PETA has also objected to the use of certain animal-related phrases and has provided alternative phrases that they believe are more inclusive for everyone.
For example, ‘Bring home the bacon’ should be replaced with ‘Bring home the bagels’; ‘Kill two birds with one stone’ becomes ‘Feed two birds with one scone’, and many more.
White’s reasoning is that the cat shouldn’t be in a bag in the first place, and that’s the problem with ‘The cat’s out of the bag’.
Morgan asked about the problem with the phrase ‘one-trick pony’.
White responded with,
“Some ponies love doing tricks. Have you asked them? Have you asked the ponies?”
The hosts were quick to point out that the phrases are not meant to be taken literally. Nobody is literally putting the cat in a bag or killing birds with a stone.
‘Take the flower by the thorns’, PETA’s alternative for ‘Take the bull by the horns’ was also questioned because isn’t it insensitive towards plants, who are also living beings?
We have stopped using certain terms that were used to objectify or stereotype people. Racial slurs were used to humiliate and belittle people, but this is not the case with these phrases.
Furthermore, if PETA wants to redefine language it should provide alternative phrases for languages other than English too. The Hindi language has several animal-related phrases. For example, ‘Bhains ke aage been bajana’ (Playing the flute to a buffalo). Some buffalos might just love dancing to the tune of a been, and when using this phrase, we are being offensive towards a buffalo’s dancing and music sense!
Peta And Porn
PETA’s president is of the view that the word ‘pet’ is patronizing and is comparable to the treatment of women before feminism. But, when it comes to feminism, PETA doesn’t exactly have a good track record.
Remember their horrible advertisement that imagined women as meat?
They just wanted to grab eyeballs by featuring women in shackles and being stabbed with arrows and whatnot. The disgusting images appear to be a part of someone’s BDSM fantasy.
PETA tweeted and stood by their spokesperson and asked people why we can’t use kinder and more respectful language for other living beings.
I agree, let’s use the word ‘companion’ more, but first, they need to change their acronym.
PETA had an opportunity to talk about animal rights which they wasted by focusing on such a banal issue.
I guess they haven’t heard the phrase- ‘You have to pick your battles’.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find The Blogger: @ishitabajpai6