As a vegan I think PETA has its time and place. I find no qualms in using PETA materials if I 100% agree with everything that specific material says and if it's appropriate to my cause. I'm not going to stereotype PETA and say it's bad all the time, I think that's a programmed unnecessary human response, but I will call PETA out when it does something that hurts the animal rights movement. I think stating this is important, because to talk about anything from such a controversial organization you need to provide context. That is my context. Now we can begin.
I've found that omnivores love PETA stickers. My little cousins, aged 8-14, constantly ask me for PETA stickers and have even signed up for PETA on their own to get stickers mailed to them. I've had university students who have no intention of being vegan or vegetarian ask me for PETA stickers, step back 3 feet, and say to their friend "oh my god this is so cute, look at this one, oh gosh I love that one". One man even put one that said “Fish are friends not food” on the back of his iphone, even though he's an avid sushi eater. I've even had omnivorous adults ask if they can take stickers for their omnivorous kids at home. What is going on?
On one hand I'm happy that people are taking the stickers and putting them everywhere. They're basically advertising for veganism. This is a dramatically unique occurrence. These people are saying veganism is legitimate, it has real ideas with some merit, and are not afraid to say they agree with it in some ways. At the very least it's a million times better than the omnivores who approach me and say I must hate humans because I'm vegan. It's an attitude of respect and solidarity. Okay... so it's somewhat good for veganism, but what does it mean?
Are these stickers doing any good if an omnivore can pick them up, say pigs are 'friends not food', and then eat a pig for dinner? My gut reaction is that this is bad, veganism is being appropriated by the masses, and it's losing its meaning. But then again – I don't see these people when they go home. It would be presumptuous of me to think that these stickers inspired no critical reflection at all. Maybe in a month or two months someone will look at that sticker in the confines of their own home and give it real thought. At the very least the sticker is saying there is a problem, and the person who asks for it is agreeing.
So I may not have an answer for why omnivores love PETA stickers, because I think that question is bigger than one blog, but I've decided that it's not a completely bad thing. If I support people who are playing with the ideas of veganism and trying them out, maybe they'll have the courage one day to try them for real.