If you ask us, a lot of what PETA does is kind of like that episode of Saved by the Bell where the gang finds out that an oil spill at Bayside High has killed Becky the Duck — well-intentioned, but ultimately more about style than substance, or making sense, for that matter. Which brings us to their latest publicity stunt: Earlier this week the animal rights group sent a letter to Jeff Jerome, curator of Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, offering to help fund the cash-strapped museum in exchange for space to prominently display an ad educating people about the other “Red Death.” Click through to read the letter in full, and let us know what you think of the plan in the comments.
Dear Mr. Jerome,
I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters-including thousands in Maryland-with an offer to help a little bit with the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum’s struggling finances. PETA would like to pay to prominently display an ad at the Poe House featuring a man clutching his chest and reading, “The Tell-Tale Heart of a Meat-Eater. Don’t Be Haunted by Bad Health: Go Vegan. PETA.” Our ad would remind museum visitors of the benefit of living healthy, humane lives while learning about Poe’s timeless prose.
Few behaviors take such a severe toll on one’s heart as consuming meat, eggs, and dairy products. The cholesterol and saturated fat in animal products can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and heart attacks. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, one of the world’s most respected nutrition experts, has made patients who were suffering from clogged arteries virtually “heart-attack proof” by putting them on healthy, plant-centered diets. William Castelli, M.D., former director of the Framingham Heart Study, the longest-running clinical study in medical history, says of the heart disease epidemic, “If Americans adopted a vegetarian diet, the whole thing would disappear.” In addition, going vegan reduces people’s risk of cancer, diabetes, and other major diseases.
The cruelty involved in producing meat, dairy products, and eggs could also trigger a sense of guilt like that described so vividly by Poe in “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In today’s industrialized meat and dairy industries, chickens and turkeys have their throats cut while they’re still conscious, piglets have their tails and testicles cut off without being given any painkillers, fish are suffocated or cut open while they’re still alive on the decks of fishing boats, and calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth.
PETA’s pro-vegan ad could help save the lives of literature lovers and animals, while the revenue would help preserve this great writer’s legacy. I look forward to your response.