Ah, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the gift that just keeps on giving headline fodder to eager editors.
Which is probably just what PETA intended.
We learned last week that PETA proposed to Boston's chief of environmental and energy services, Jim Hunt, that it run ads promoting the green benefits of eating a vegan diet on the electric-car charging stations the city plans to install.
Boston will install three chargers near its City Hall complex by March next year, to accommodate drivers of the 2011 Nissan Leaf, 2011 Chevrolet Volt, and other electric vehicles that will hit the market over the next two years.
PETA's last foray into the auto arena involved the use of a monkey in a TV ad for the Dodge Tent Event summer sale. Objecting to the use of a performing animal, PETA persuaded Dodge to dump the monkey.
Dodge responded by digitally erasing the monkey and changing the voiceover by Michael C. Hall--better known as the civic-minded serial killer title character of Dexter--to refer to "an invisible monkey."
"The first one was just meh, monkey joke," concluded Consumerist. "The revision is an act of surreal genius, and a giant finger to PETA pantywringers."
On our part, we learned from the comments that a whole lot of people out there really don't like PETA--and that PETA itself is pretty testy too.
Regarding a vegan diet, there's a fair amount of data out there showing the disproportionate carbon impact of industrialized meat and animal production. Very roughly, factory animal farming emits an overall carbon footprint roughly equal to that of the entire transportation sector.
Essentially, the argument goes, eating plants is far closer to carbon neutral than feeding those plants to large animals, which require energy (and its associated carbon footprint) to house, care for, slaughter, butcher, and transport so they can be made available in little packages for you to eat.
While the data is out there, the carbon footprint of meat production is a very, very peripheral issue for this site. So enough of that.
We're curious, though, about why PETA seems to think that electric-car drivers happen to be any more prone to a vegan message than average citizens.
So we invite you--especially if you're thinking of buying an electric car--to share your thoughts on PETA's proposed ads. Would you consider switching to a vegan diet to lower your personal carbon footprint? Leave us your reactions in the Comments below.
[Boston Overdrive; hat tip: Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield]