PETA is targeting children in its "Go vegan" campaign with an attack on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. The group is setting up billboards showing a turkey with a dog's head and asking children if they would eat their pet dogs for thanksgiving.
PETA has acquired notoriety from its sensational "Go vegan" campaign ads.
According to ABC News, PETA plans to run a billboard in the 2012 Thanksgiving season in Reno, Nev.; Boise, Idaho and Sacramento, Calif., that shows a picture of a dog-head on turkey shoulders, with a message that reads “KIDS: If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat a turkey? GO VEGAN."
PETA plans to set up the billboards near public schools in the US and Canada in the hope that it will spark discussion between children and their parents about the ethics of killing and eating turkeys at Thanksgiving.
According to ABC News, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) defended the ethics of its targeting children in their ads. Project manager Alicia Woempner, said: "Children have a natural compassion for animals. They are also bombarded with constant fast food advertisements and we'd like to offset that negative influence with a message of kindness."
According to Fox News, Marta Homlberg, PETA's associate director of Youth Outreach Campaign, said in a press release: "Kids love animals, and if they thought about how turkeys feel pain and fear just as dogs and cats do, they want to switch out those drumsticks for Tofurky. This Thanksgiving, families can give turkeys something to be thankful for by choosing delicious vegan meals."
Lama Advertising Co., a billboard company that owns outdoor ad space in Boise, confirmed they approved the content of the PETA billboard. Lama spokesman Hal Kilshaw, said: "We don't approve everything PETA sends, but we did approve this."
According to ABC News, Kilshaw said some of PETA's past ads were so extreme that PETA officials must have known they would be denied. He said: "And when they've been denied, they have been quick to have press conferences about it."
Last year, PETA put up similar ads in Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., and since October, the new ads have appeared in Saskatoon for Canadian Thanksgiving.
The Winnipeg Sun reports that PETA unveiled the billboard in Canada in October, saying it planned to erect it near public schools in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Saskatoon in an effort to “spark a dialogue between kids and their parents” about meat consumption in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving.
According to The Winnipeg Sun, the Manitoba Turkey Producers organization has responded to the latest "Go vegan" ad by PETA. Bill Uruski, chairman of Turkey Producers, said the campaign was similar to previous ones. He said the message won’t affect turkey sales in the holiday season.
Uruski said the PETA ad was “not classy, and not tasteful. I don’t think this will have any traction. In fact, turkey sales have been consistent in this country throughout the festive season.”
According to Ad Week, PETA touts soy-based turkey substitutes as an alternative to turkey. PETA says it wants consumers to opt for turkey-flavored tofu or “tofurkey” at Thanksgiving. In a statement, it said its message is that children should consider how they would “feel if Fido and Fluffy were stuffed and roasted” for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Lauren Stroyeck of PETA, in a message delivered from the organization’s headquarters in Norfolk, Va., said: “Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and kindness, and we should not celebrate this by eating the decomposing corpse of a tortured bird.”
PETA said that turkeys suffer severe injuries in mass-production facilities. “The message of our billboard is one of compassion.”
Fox News reports PETA is also offering free tombstones for kids to stick into the Thanksgiving turkey. The tombstones read: "Here Lies the Corpse of a Tortured Bird." Children are urged to visit the PETA2.com website and request a tombstone in the mail for free. They are only required to tell PETA why they don’t eat turkey. Children will also have the option to download the tombstone and tape to a toothpick.
According to the Toronto Sun, PETA says more than 45 million turkeys are killed in the U.S. for Thanksgiving dinners.
According to PETA, "In nature, turkeys are protective and loving parents as well as spirited explorers who can climb trees and run as fast as 25 miles per hour. But most turkeys slated to be killed for food are crammed into filthy warehouses, where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common."