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by Jeremy Hooper

So here's an interesting one for ya. The folks at PETA caught word that a gay-friendly high school might be making its way to the city of Chicago, and consequently came up with a unique opportunity to marry compassion for gay people with compassion for all living things. How, you ask? Well, PETA's 200810151720director of media relations, Michael McGraw, has written to the likely principal of the proposed school, Chad Weiden, to encourage the inclusive institution to adopt an all-vegetarian cafeteria. Here's a portion:

It is only because of prejudice that animals killed for food on today's factory farms suffer miserable lives and nightmarish deaths. Their feelings are entirely discounted, even though they experience fear, love, grief, joy, and pain, just as all of us do. They are torn from their families and denied every natural urge, forced to live in cramped, filthy warehouses for their entire lives. They will never feel the warmth of the sun on their backs, smell fresh air, or play. Believe it or not, in our "enlightened society," chickens and turkeys' throats are cut while they are still conscious, and they are often scalded to death in defeathering tanks. Pigs' tails and testicles are cut off without any painkillers. When fish are dragged from the ocean depths, they undergo decompression—which causes their internal organs to rupture—before they suffocate.

Leaders of social justice movements have historically recognized that the liberation of one oppressed group is linked to the liberation of other groups. Steven Simmons, a PETA staffer and gay rights activist who died of AIDS back in the mid '90s, wrote, "It's time for us to end this hierarchy of who has the right to live, who deserves not to suffer, who should be respected, [the idea] that there's a limit to the amount of compassion that we can have for our fellow creatures." As you urge your school's students to embrace each unique individual, won't you also please encourage them to have compassion for today's most vulnerable group—animals?
Freedom From Oppression for ALL at New High School! [PETA FILES]

So the school designed to combat the idea that gays are Satan is being encouraged to serve seitan? Well as a gay vegetarian, this writer non-objectively LOVES the idea. But will it fly with those who eat things that fly? Will it click with those who eat things that cluck? Well, we'll have to wait and see. Hell, at this point the school isn't even a total go.

But regardless of your stance on the cafeteria, you gotta admire PETA for thinking of novel new ways to fight for the change they wish to see in the world. Though come to think of it -- is it that big of a change? I mean, has school meat really ever been meat anyway? [::writer shudders at thought of patties past::]

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Your thoughts

I would think that the school would support equality for all. By having an "all-vegetarian" cafeteria wouldn't that make non-vegetarians feel left out?
I think they should accommodate all sorts of dietary choices such as vegan, kosher, vegetarian, meat eaters etc.

Posted by: Shaun | Oct 15, 2008 6:06:56 PM

Well like most things, Shaun, it depends on your perspective. From PETA's perspective, the killing of animals for food is not something that should be supported. Just as gay rights activists tend to see a clear-cut difference between anti-gay bias and gay acceptance, animal rights activists tend to see a clear right and wrong between eating and not eating meat.

I would guess that even PETA knows this is a long shot. But this is what they do: Find opportunities to inject the "teachable moments" that they want to convey, even if the stated goal is unlikely.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 15, 2008 6:21:50 PM

thanks so much for posting this, any opportunity to advance gay and animal lib and i'm there. i re-posted your article, thanks again! http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2008/10/peta-gay-school-should-marry-compassion.html

Posted by: queerunity | Oct 15, 2008 7:10:35 PM

I do not eschew things that went moo...but d*** 'oink is hard... UMMM, I won't woink at things that oink? (That's for Palin)

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 15, 2008 7:52:00 PM

PETA would have a lot more credibility if they didn't do asinine things like forcing "liberated" carnivores to go on a totally vegan diet and comparing owning a pet to owning a slave.

My dogs are quite happy thank you very much.

Posted by: Rainbow Phoenix | Oct 15, 2008 10:32:26 PM

Doesn't PETA know that soy milk makes you gay!

At least so say the wingers at WingNutDailey.

So maybe this is a good thing?

Posted by: Lynn David | Oct 16, 2008 12:35:21 AM

I have no doubt the veggie students would like the accomodation. The rest of them'll just wait till school is out and binge on whatever's cheapest at the nearest liquor store.

Sorry, PETA =/

Posted by: Alle | Oct 16, 2008 12:51:33 AM

I think tnis is great even though some might view a vegetarian/vegan diet a little extreme. PETA makes a good point. Humans are part of the animal kingdom. Equal rights for all species. I'm sure if there is an all vegan/vegetarian cafeteria - the meat eaters can bring their lunch.

Posted by: hippypippy78 | Oct 16, 2008 10:33:44 AM

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