People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has begun a campaign to scare children into becoming vegetarians.
The group, which formed to stop animal testing of consumer products but made its name by attacking women in fur coats with fake blood, is producing comic books that portray fathers as homicidal maniacs.
The handout, titled "Your Daddy Kills Animals," features a grinning lunatic gutting a fish, and warns kids to keep their puppies and kittens away from Dad because he's "hooked on killing."
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"PETA is trying as hard as it can to portray the ordinary angler as a demonic, sadistic, cruel killer. This is what PETA does — it paints caricatures of ordinary people to try to convince the rest of us that we shouldn't want to emulate them," said David Martosko, of the industry lobbying group Center for Consumer Freedom.
But PETA insists that its comic is not outlandish.
"The scientific facts are that fish feel pain in the same way as dogs and cats. It's no more acceptable to hook a fish through the mouth and drag them into your boat and slice them in half than it would be to do the exact same thing to a dog or a cat," said Bruce Friedrich, vegan campaign coordinator for PETA.
Publicity stunts are nothing new for PETA, which has run ads featuring naked women in cages and people dressed in animal suits warning about the dangers of eating meat. But some critics feel the kid-targeted campaign goes too far.
"This is traumatizing kids by the thousands. There's going to be long-term psychological damage from these kids being exposed to the material that PETA puts in front of them on a regular basis," Martosko said.
But, Friedrich countered, "They can certainly find stuff that is more in your face on the Internet, more in your face on Saturday morning cartoons. We don't need to shelter our kids quite that much."
The pamphlet follows a previous one that painted Mom as a "chicken killer." PETA claims its only goal is to reduce meat consumption by changing children's eating habits. Critics insist alienating children from their parents isn't in anyone's best interests — human or animal.