The anti-everything nuts at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have actually gone fishing — for information. In a March “survey” sent to U.S. restaurant companies, the animal-rights group is asking for the inside scoop on whether they serve foie gras or offer “faux-meat products“; detailed accounts of how they audit their meat suppliers for animal welfare; and even their preferred methods of trapping rodents. Mouse traps, apparently, are not “humane.” And in the questionnaire, directed to past and future animal-rights protest targets, PETA boldly announces that it “will fill in the answers to any question left unanswered to the best of our knowledge.”
Most of the questionnaire is a primer on PETA-preferred methods of “progress” in raising animals (including pigs, chickens, cows, and fish) for food. But it’s important to remember that PETA’s real goal is abolition, not change. In a 2002 speech, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk assured activists: “If anybody wonders about — what’s this with all these reforms — you can hear us clearly. Our goal is total animal liberation.“
The restaurant survey also indicates that PETA is still spreading misinformation about veal, writing that certain meats “can only be produced by inducing a painful disease in an animal, such as veal (anemia).” Memo to Newkirk: A comprehensive review of veal farming published by the journal Professional Animal Science in 2004 found that by housing veal calves in individual stalls, “iron status can be easily monitored to prevent anemia.” (You can read more information that refutes animal-rights claims about veal in our profile of the group Farm Sanctuary.)
PETA’s press release about its survey makes it clear that the group intends to use information it collects to publish “scorecards” and build boycotts against restaurants that don’t toe the vegetarian line. Given that most U.S. restaurants serve guests who are unwilling to embrace the “total animal liberation” lifestyle, this could be just about every eatery in the country. And for restaurateurs worried about PETA activists filling in the blanks with their own agenda-laden guesses, fear not: This is scarcely different from what the animal rights movement has done for decades.