Sunday, May 05, 2002
We can argue about this till the cows come home...
Chris Weinkopf has a brilliantly derisive column titled "Moooving debate: Happy cow ads have PETA crying foul" in today's Los Angeles Daily News. If you haven't seen these commercials, in which happy California cows chit-chat about earthquakes and the meaning of "snow" and the esthetic merits of well-built heifers, then you're missing one of the better reasons to watch television. (As a native Wisconsinite who has now lived in California for over three decades, I'm somewhat conflicted by the implied slurs against my birth state. But I'll get over it.)
Naturally PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) thinks these hilarious ads are literally bullshit. ("Contrary to the depictions in the Happy Cows ads, the vast majority of California dairy cows do not live easy lives. They are not typically permitted to roam freely in grass-covered, pastures of rolling hills and shade trees, but are kept on dry lots of urine- and dung-fouled dirt.")
Chris Weinkopf points out that the PETA complaint, in which it asks the Federal Trade Commission for an injunction blocking the ads, seems especially concerned about the effect of the ads on "concientous and compassionate people", since they might "mislead reasonable consumers who care about the way cows are treated". Or as Weinkopf puts it, "The rest of us are discriminating enough to spot an obvious parody. As for PETA supporters, they're more easily duped. They might just be tricked into believing that buying Monterey Jack is a good way to subsidize resort living for a few million of the nation's most privileged cattle."
You'll want to read the entire article, but Weinkopf's conclusion near the end of his column is the creme de la creme:
"The PETAphiles are stampeding for censorship."
I think the PETA folks are going to have a cow over that one.