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What's with these PETA people?

Well, it seems the former One and Only Q-tips homepage stirred up more than one controversy. After the page having been up for over a year, I've received e-mail from an animal rights activist demanding that I remove the comments about PETA from my homepage. Why is it that people can't tolerate a little disagreement. Anyhow, the letter and my response are below for your information.

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The Letter

A friend recently pointed out the Q Tip web page and one very disturbing comment that is made on that page. The animal rights organization PETA is mentioned as a "terrorist" organization. I find it sad that anyone can know so little about an important issue such as animal rights. I am not a member of PETA, but I am an animal rights advocate and a member of other such organizations. Contrary to the viewpoint of some of the media and many of our opponents, animal rights advocates are not terrorists. Email does not allow an in-depth explanation of this issue, but I suggest you remove the derogatory comments about PETA on the web site since it is highly offending to a great many caring, concerned, and intelligent people. Animal rights is a very complex issue and of course one where emotions run high due to the amount of human induced suffering caused to innocent species for absolutely no reason. Companies are boycotted for a reason. To make light of the reasons an organization has for doing this is irresponsible. Hopefully someday soon companies will progress past the "dark ages" of shoddy science and follow the few but growing number of advanced intelligent ground-breaking companies that do not perform animal testing. Until then, organizations such as PETA must make the issues known. Animal rights is often unjustly portrayed by those who don't agree with us. It is better if individuals would carry out open minded research of their own on the topic, studying both sides of the issue, and then make intelligent and educated opinions. Comments such as found in the Q tip web site preclude this from occurring. Please remove the comment.

Sincerely,

Joseph Knasinski

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The Response

In answer to your mail, I'm wondering what makes you think I haven't carried out my own "open minded research" into the subject or that I "know so little" about animal rights issues? I have done quite a bit of reading and research, and have come to a conclusion different than your conclusion. It doesn't make my opinion any less valid. And certainly I have the right to express my opinion.

The comment is not meant to express my opinions regarding animal rights. And I don't feel the need to express those opinions to you in any detail. Suffice it to say that I do not agree with your viewpoint. However, I have not "made light of the reasons" that PETA does what it does. I have made a comment regarding the manner in which PETA does what it does. That comment reflects my belief that the tactics used by the PETA organization are nothing short of terrorism. Breaking into and destroying private property, hurling red paint at people on the street. These are the sort of things that, while they may bring media attention to your cause and your organization, are not things I consider to be acts of civilized people.

Your request that I remove the comment from my homepage is, to me, rather offensive. That you seemingly cannot tolerate viewing an opinion that does not coincide with your own is your problem. I respect your right to disagree with me. Please respect my right to disagree, however publicly I choose, with you.

Faith

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Another Reply

Hi Faith,

Civil disobedience is not terrorism. Besides, PETA is not the only organization that boycotts companies that perform animal testing. If anyone has done the research, how can they justify animal testing? Many groups of scientists are now turning away from animal testing and supporting animal rights stances. By the way, your comments about PETA really sound like you've only read what the opponents have said about them. I am just curious but what books/info on animal rights have you studied? Yes, people can/should/and do disagree, but I still maintain that your reference to PETA is misplaced and irresponsible. If you want to make comments such as that then put them in a web page that is against animal rights, not in a web page that has nothing to do with that topic. Moreover, in the history of all social movements, be it the anti-war movement, the women's movement, or the civil rights movement, groups have been accused of being "terrorist" and have been maligned, shunned, and in general cast out of the mainstream. Fortunately for us all, these groups have made progress. There is enough cruelty in the world; why allow and support more? For a viewpoint on the subject that in no way can be considered terrorist, take a look at this web site:

[URL deleted]

And again I urge you to remove the reference to PETA. Leave that type of comment to an area that is opposed to animal rights. By the way, if you don't agree with the actions of PETA, take a look at some of our opponents. There is even a group called People Eating Tasty Animals (notice the initials) that is pretty foul. Another opponent of animal rights encourages young children to rip the heads off wounded birds that have been shot at close range (see the Hegins Pigeon shoot horrors in Penn.)

My point is not to say you cannot disagree; just place it where appropriate, and please make truly educated opinions. The animal rights movement (again like all civil rights movements in history) if often misquoted, and ill-portrayed. And remember civil disobedience is often justified to uncover and expose evil. Even our founding fathers believed that.

One of the research labs that PETA broke into and videotaped the horrors that occurred was shut down by the government after the tapes were made public. Even the government that disagrees with PETA thought the horrors were too terrible to allow to continue. Incidents like that are the result of civil disobedience.

I don't mean to condemn you by any means and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. My concern is that people reading the comment take it as fact without doing their own research. It is similar to putting down a particular race of people because of isolated incidents, or events taken out of context.

Sincerely,

Joseph Knasinski

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My (Hopefully) Final Response

Civil disobedience is something traditionally employed against government action. As I am sure you are aware, private people are not subject to the same rules as the government. In any event, what you call "civil disobedience" in this particular instance, I call terrorism. As for what I have read, in addition to the many mailings I have received from PETA, I have also visited their homepage several times. I have also visited, and support, the People Eating Tasty Animals site. It seems to me that your conclusion that I have only read materials authored by your opponents again supports my conclusion that you just cannot conceive of that fact that someone might disagree with your views.

Moreover, I find your comparison of the so-called "animal rights" issue to the civil rights or women's movements completely repugnant. And again, that you find the context of my comments inappropriate does not bother me in the least. I don't really care that you find it "misplaced and irresponsible." I maintain my right to express my opinion however I choose, and will not remove the comment from my page.

As I really have no desire for continued debate on this subject, I would appreciate that you not contact me again.

Faith

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