The Dingbat Craziness of the Latest PETA Proclamation

4 ½ min

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Each morning’s internet headlines bring a new version of crazy.

This morning was no different.

In her article “PETA: Using Animal Names as Verbal Insults Is Supremacist Language,” Catherine Smith reports that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is decrying the use of insults and anti-animal slurs when applied to people. “Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression,” PETA recently posted on Twitter. “Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them. Stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language.” This message adds, “Using animals as insults perpetuates speciesism.”

So, no more “chicken” when referring to a coward. Forget “snake in the grass,” “a bull in a china shop,” or “crazy like a fox.” Scratch “sloth” when referring to laziness, and nix “cat burglar,” “low as a worm’s belly,” “slow as a turtle,” “bats in the belfry,” or “silly as a goose.” “He’s gone ape,” is also out, as is “He’s happy as a hog in slop.”


Let’s look closely at PETA’s statement.

“Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression” is definitely true these days. On many college campuses, the shutdown of free speech has indeed created a more inclusive atmosphere and a place of oppression. That same lockdown on language has entered our places of business, our government, and social media. Step out of line and you’ll be cancelled, or shouted down as a speaker, or even lose your business. This suppression now occurs on a regular basis, so no arguments with PETA on this point.

The second sentence contains “the myth that humans are superior to other animals.” Here a common sense question arises: are those who own a cat superior or inferior to that feline? Cats are notoriously independent, they clean themselves, and they can catch mice, if necessary, for food. But do cat owners really regard their cats as their superiors or even as equals? Perhaps one could if a cat shopped at the market for his owner’s food and treats, and then lovingly served up the meal in a bowl for the humans in his household. But does your cat scrub the bathtub? Does your cat reason? Did your cat fly men to the moon, build a cell phone, or even wash the supper dishes?

In some respects, certain animals are superior to humans. A cheetah can outrun a human being, the tiniest sparrow has wings, a trout can live underwater, but do those qualities make them the equal of human beings? Once we believed, as Genesis 1:26 of the Old Testament teaches, that man was on earth as a caretaker for animals and to have dominion over them. Now we’re supposed to regard them as equals?

As for being justified in violating animals by including them in insults, we must ask once again where the common sense has gone. Fido doesn’t really care when an enemy calls me a dog. Nor does a black snake pay attention when an actor in King Lear speaks the line, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” And seriously, are my neighbor’s chickens going to care two hoots—make that two clucks—when I use the phrase “chickened out?”

This is anthropomorphism suitable for a Disney movie but not for reality.

The phrases “justice” and “supremacist language” in the next sentence made me laugh. Do we really believe that animals from snails to lions understand justice? If a lioness is stalking a herd of gazelles and takes down a crippled member of that herd, is the lioness being just or just following her natural instincts? Supremacist language sounds as if it was lifted from a manual on systemic racism, which is an equally deluded theory in play these days.

Then there’s speciesism, which Spellcheck on my computer doesn’t recognize as a word and which most of us don’t consider an idea worth a second of our time. I assume the term means a prejudice against another species. Were I ever to own another pet, suppose I’d prefer a cat to a dog. Does that make me a speciesist? Am I an old-time speciesist or a systemic speciesist? Perhaps I’ll be forced to enter a reeducation camp or some sort of special counseling group to overcome my prejudice.

Right now, a lack of common sense prevails in America. Theory and ideology have replaced old-fashioned mother wit. Were the theories of so many, whether those of communists, Black Lives Matter, white supremacists, or some in our government not so dangerous, they would be laughable.

One thing is certain: Theories like speciesism are bogus. Some might even call them dingbat crazy.



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Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.

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They are good for a laugh. How do these people hold jobs?


I knew a family some time back that had a housecat named Catherine. She was a very sweet and intelligent cat, one of the few felines I found acceptable, and even almost LIKED the creature. (I have, for my entire long life, always had a prejudice, er, squeeze me, a predisposal, toward dogs and a general distaste for cats. That said, this Catherine Cat was rather more intelligent than the Catherine whose ridiculous nonsens is repeated here. How so? Catherine the Cat knew her place, and gratefully accepted her exhalted position as the ruler over some things within the household, but also knew she was NOT the top dog.She had her bounds meted out to her, and very faithfully and contentedly remained within them. She NEVER hopped to the counter and got after the butter, nor did she leave her messes lying in quiet corners of the home, SHe did her doodoos outside like a good cat. Never did anyone ever SEE any of her leavings. She never did tear up furniture, carpe, plants, as so may felines are wont to do. Nor did she ever attempt to prepare, let alone serve up, anything intended to be eaten by humans. Sheutterly ignored the goldfish in the bowl on the table in the living room. She WAS free to roam the neighbourhood, and did so with delight. She was always a friendly ambassador to the neighbours and particularly enjoyed playing with some of the children who were nice to her. See? She KNEW her place. This Catherine Creature of the Many Maniacal Words does not know her place. WHO appointed her to attack the status quo that has been in place for at least six thousand years? And on what basis does she assert her claims, that fly in the face of all time and sense? I'd advise her and her ilk to tread lightl. She comes accross as metnally unstable, and more than somewhat delusional. There are treatments for such things. Perhaps someone would do well to recommend she seek help. She seemsbarmy as a March hare.


Sadly, the fact that this is noteworthy enough to even mention is an indictment in itself. Rather like the fellow on the edge of a building's roof. Do we say anything or not? Me, I'll stick to Babylon Bee. May as well laugh at the folly.


Being stunned by their latest pronouncements is just what they intended. Why give them the satisfaction of seeing their faces and hearing their words every time you open a public page and commenting? They are not news; they are not intelligence to be sought. Their sophomoric banter belongs on a tit-for-tat playground, not in a reasoned discussion about resolving concerns. Keep feeding them with recognition and they will, indeed, take over through ignorant rioting. A wild horse is harnessed before he can become a disciplined creature. There are no effective voices calling them down and demanding consequences for their behavior.. they get away with would you expect them to conduct themselves with lack of restraint?


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If this kind of infantile nonsense weren't so toxic for our civil society right now, I'd be rolling on the floor laughing about PETA's latest lunacy. (I distinctly remember spitting up my coffee once while watching a film where a PETA-ism--"Chickens have feelings too!"--was mentioned.) More please, Minik. You're clever as a fox!