LOS ANGELES: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA),
known for its theatrical activism, is shedding its radical image in the
wake of September's terrorist attacks.
The pugnacious tenor of many campaigns will be replaced with toned-down
messages and simpler methods of outreach, such as letters to the editor
"Our work will certainly continue. It will just continue in a different
way," said PETA director of campaigns Dan Mathews. "We are known for our
confrontational protests, and as the nation stands right now, that is
not what people are looking for."
PETA's board met last week to hammer out the changes. Among them was a
Halloween campaign that planned to have members dressed as the Grim
Reaper dragging fur coats through city streets with the tagline "bring
out your dead." The plan has been scrapped, and the coats will instead
be distributed to the homeless.
Mathews said, "Since September 11, it's a different world. I don't think
we have to crash the cymbals in the same way to get people to think
However, material changes have taken a toll on PETA finances. Many
campaign materials promoting cruelty-free products have been completely
scrapped and reprinted with new images and slogans. For example, the
tagline "Drop dead gorgeous" has been replaced with "Is your lipstick
lethal?" That, said Mathews, has "certainly" had an effect on PETA's