While going through my gmail messages yesterday, I saw a Google ad for PetaKillsAnimals.com. Being a contributor to PETA, I clicked on the ad to see what it had to say. The PetaKillsAnimals.com site portrayed PETA as a murderous organization that collects animals just so it can kill them and put them in its freezers. The site displays statistics that PETA kills most of the animals entrusted to its care, without mentioning the sad fact that no one is willing to adopt these animals and PETA believes it better to euthanize them than to keep them in cages their whole lives. There were more claims made, but the purpose of the site was clearly to attack PETA’s credibility by painting it as a hypocritical organization that only pretends to care about animal welfare. Obviously, these claims are outlandish and no thinking person would accept them, but I live in a country where the vast majority of people would rather be spoon-fed their opinions. These same people tend to accept only ideas that allow them to continue their current lifestyle of choice.
The organization behind this attempt to destroy PETA is called the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). This organization claims to promote personal responsibility, but after a little reading on it’s own sites (petakillsanimals.com) and Center for Consumer Freedom, and elsewhere (CCF on wikipedia), it’s obvious that the CCF’s primary goal is to allow corporations such as tobacco, alcohol, animal product, and junk food producers to operate freely, without the interference of government or public-interest watchdogs. The CCF’s supporting goal is to allow consumers to act freely, without having their choices limited by food and product safety organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, animal welfare focused charities like PETA and The Humane Society, public safety organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, environmental groups like Greenpeace, and those pesky U.S. government health agencies. Not content with attacking any charity that dares to work for the good of all, the Center for Consumer Freedom has gone after the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for announcing that over 100,000 Americans die each year as a consequence of being obese. Likewise, the CCF operates a web site that suggests you can ingest far more mercury from eating fish than recommended by the EPA.
So just who would fund an organization that exists to attack any charity or government agency that attempts to promote healthy and humane living? Apparently, the organization was started with funding from … Philip Morris! Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, continues to fund the CCF, along with a number of gambling, alcohol, processed meat, and other tobacco related corporations. A number of fast and junk food companies including Wendy’s, Coca Cola, Tyson Foods, and Pilgrim’s Pride have also contributed.
So what we have here is a pseudo-charity that serves as a lobbying and publicity arm of corporations whose profit depends on harming people and animals. It’s very unfortunate that such an organization can qualify as a charity under the tax code. It’s also unfortunate that Google has a policy that accepts ads from such blatantly evil organizations. I understand the need to compromise and allow all viewpoints in a complex and (hopefully) increasingly democratic world, but an organization that claims "Don’t be evil" as it’s basic code of conduct needs to draw the line somewhere and the Center for Consumer Freedom will be obviously on the wrong side of any reasonable line.