The Many Faces of PETA: Examing peta2

By Amanda Eldreth
Staff Columnist

We all know that sometimes People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) makes terrible life decisions. I’ve written an article in the past about how much I want to like PETA because they are capable of so much good, but they sometimes handle how they present their information in ways that negate their impact. And I’m not even going to get into how they named their official blog “The PETA Files,” because I guess no one decided to say the name out loud before making it official. What I am interested in is getting into the differences between PETA and peta2. Essentially, peta2 is the youth group for PETA.

I first discovered peat2’s street team at a The Downtown Fiction concert two years ago. On the peta2 website, they answer the question of what a street team is by saying, “The peta2 Street Team is the unique way that peta2 helps you save animals! We make it easy for you to make a difference by giving you ideas on what you can do to help and even awarding you points when you complete missions. You can then cash in your points for free merch, stickers, buttons, and more.”

So the street teams circle the crowds of people in line at concerts, armed with free buttons and stickers, in order to get signatures and emails.

Their original birthplace was truly at Warped Tour, where they credit the bands there for nurturing the group and building the it to be ready to face the world. It’s quite an endearing notion because that is exactly what Warped Tour does to those who attend it. In fact, just last year I got to visit the peta2 tent at Warped and there were numerous papers, pamphlets, and packets full of vegan tips, information, and recipes. So this group is aimed at those who are at an influential age and place in their lives. They are extremely proud of the fact that, “peta2 was at every major music festival, interviewing everyone from Rise Against to Fall Out Boy and winning campaign after campaign for animals.”

I’m not against the idea of peta2 in the least bit; in fact I receive text alerts and emails from them. I find myself supporting peta2 more because they are at least trying to be more educational as opposed to PETA, which aims to be controversial in order to get people interested in their messages. They also offer methods of how peta2 can help with having campaigns for no dissection and vegan options within schools. The group is very empowering towards the audience they are campaigning to get involved in protecting animals, which makes sense when you look back at how they got their start.

But I do think it’s easy to forget that peta2 is still a part of PETA. They are advertising to a very specific group of people, just as PETA does. They still aim for the shock factor with having gruesome videos and pictures on their website, which I do think is beneficial in terms of getting people to see the truth behind where animal products come from. But like any controversial topic, sometimes they do not stop at letting the truth speak for itself, and that is where they get themselves into trouble. I think peta2 is moving towards letting that happen as opposed to the main section of PETA that is more familiar to the general populous.

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