‘If You Wouldn’t Eat Your Dog, Why Eat A Turkey?’ PETA Asks Kids

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“Chicken dog, Mommy, chicken dog!”

This was my 2-year-old’s excited reaction to this hybrid dog-turkey, left, featured in PETA‘s latest ad campaign urging kids everywhere to “go vegan.” (My 6-year-old just laughed hysterically.)

Of course, I didn’t bother telling either that the ad is by a bunch of extreme wing-nuts who compare eating a Thanksgiving turkey to eating the family pet (“If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey?” the ad reads). First, I didn’t want to traumatize the kids. Second, I’m irritated that PETA is marketing towards kids. (Paws off, PETA.)

To me, the issue isn’t even about morals or ethics. I spent half my adult life as a vegetarian and would be fine if I never consumed another morsel of meat again. And I won’t even get into the fact that in some cultures, eating dog (and cat) is perfectly acceptable. What bugs me is that PETA is trying to scare our children – or at least shock them – into going vegan. It’s a lame approach. Fortunately, most kids will see this dog-turkey (dogurky?) image as being totally hilarious. In fact, one colleague’s 3-year-old, upon viewing it, starting laughing, “Mom, the dog has a chicken butt! CHICKEN BUTT!”

Of course, PETA is no stranger to shock tactics and poor taste. That’s kind of their thing. PETA’s manager of campaigns Ashley Byrne explained the thinking behind the ad: “Turkeys may not be as familiar to us as dogs or cats but they have the same ability to suffer and that’s something people innately understand, especially kids. There are a lot of kids out there who don’t want to see a dead bird as the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner.”

PETA plans to run the ads on billboards near public schools in Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah. (Phew, am I ever glad to be Canadian.)


  1. Melinda

    November 16, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Ridiculous. They can’t recruit enough adults into their madness, so they resort to scaring kids.

  2. Kayla

    November 16, 2011 at 2:19 am

    wow that is a bit extreme instead of scaring kids into wanting to go vegan or vegetarian they should help the kids who already do want to. meat disgusts me but my parents force me to eat it anyways until I’m “finished growing” they should make something explaining to parents how if their kid becomes a vegetarian they can still be healthy.

    • Jen

      November 16, 2011 at 7:12 am

      Not sure how old you are, but I became a vegetarian at age 13. My mother and father never tried to force me to go back to eating meat, but their one rule was that if I didn’t want to eat what was on the menu for dinner that evening I had to cook something for myself.
      I would suggest going to your local library and finding a few good vegetarian cookbooks (there are plenty out there) and bringing them home. Prove to your folks that you can make a healthy (and inexpensive) meal for yourself and they may be more open to letting you do the vegetarian thing.

    • Elaine

      November 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      See if you can get your pediatrician to talk to your parents. I’m not vegetarian, but I agree with Jen that if you can prepare your own well-balanced and inexpensive meals, then there should be no logical objection to you going vegetarian. Your pediatrician can explain to you and your parents what your nutritional needs are and how those needs can easily be met without eating meat. My two kids are preschoolers and they eat meat maybe twice a week because they actually PREFER peanut butter, beans and eggs to meat or chicken. That’s fine with me (and my wallet)! 🙂

  3. Jen

    November 16, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I’ve always thought that PETA, like many extremist organizations, has a basically solid ideal that has been taken to such crazy levels they’ve actually alienated a bunch of people. I think most people disagree with abuse of animals and if PETA were to present their info in logical ways and ask people who do choose to eat meat to try and help rally for better treatment of those animals used for food (and perhaps present the fact that better conditions for animals = more sanitary/better tasting meat) they would receive a lot more support from the masses. Instead they make these illogical and tone deaf ads that simply make people angry with them and negate any truth their message might have once had.

    • Jennifer

      April 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      In such complete and utter agreement with you. In fact, while reading the article, I thought of just how ineffective this campaign would be with my son, since I have always made a deliberate association with the food on his plate, and the animal as we know it while alive. (When serving chicken, I would make clucking sounds – beef, moo-sounds – you get the point).

      While homeschooling and teaching about many animals who have predators and/or are predators of others, the concept of consuming other animals makes just perfect sense to him, given that we are an omnivorous species (though I must make this clear – I fully support anyone’s choice to become vegetarian). But the one, most single and important truth I share with my son is that most animals that are raised for human consumption are raised in environments that are far more horrific than even the cruel methods with which their poor little lives are ended.

      Even with milk, my son knows that the cows endure such a brutal existence. So we buy local and free-range whenever possible, and regardless of where we source our meat and dairy, we absolutely NEVER waste meat in our house. And I agree with Jen that if PETA could be less extremist, more realistic, and prioritize their battles, they would in essence become more (or at all) respectable, less trivialized, and much more effective.

  4. Byron

    November 23, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Dogs are smart enough to, over the years, end up being more useful to humanity alive than dead and stuffed. Turkeys have not. Simple logic really.

    Plus, there are people who eat dogs in eastern Asia…and trust me, if they had turkeys they’d eat em too.

  5. Pingback: Book For Vegan Children Putting Parents In A Needless Tizzy

  6. Reece Fowler

    April 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Apparently, PETA spends less than 1% of its budget on caring for animals. They certainly send a lot to the ALF, and they use a lot for their campaigns like McCruelty.

    PETA do not have the right to brainwash children. When you look at the principles behind it, it isn’t that different to the Hitler youth. The cause is different, but the principles aren’t. Brainwashing children into their cause by targeting them from an early age. A lot of what they say isn’t even factually based. The “facts” they do post are very misleading, but children see it and believe it. They’re like blank slates in the fact that they will believe the first thing they see.

    If they want to eat meat, let them eat meat. It’s their decision, not PETA’s. PETA have got into their heads that they have the moral high ground (which they don’t), and that apparently gives them the right to do whatever they want (which it doesn’t).

    PETA, you’re the unethical ones here.

    • Wowzers

      April 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      People Eating Tasty Animals: Stupid rotten child predators for animals since 1980

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