by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons

PETA has announced a new exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. No stranger to controversial ads and campaigns, the organization is taking some heat for this too.

According to NBC, the exhibit will highlight “similarities between historic oppressions of human beings and the current exploitations of animals. The Natural History Museum’s depictions of slavery in the South are used as a comparison to animal cruelty and oppression.”

PETA has named the exhibit “Glass Walls,” from a quote by PETA-supporter and vegetarian Paul McCartney: “If slaughterhouses has glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” It is also the name of a video that McCartney recorded for the animal rights organization depicting graphic slaughterhouse scenes and urging viewers to switch to a vegetarian diet. The video plays at the new exhibit alongside large panels of images of animal and human cruelty. 

“Child labor, human slavery, and the oppression of women all came to be opposed by our society, thanks to the passion and hard work of human rights activists,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. PETA has already reported that they are having success at the exhibit, with some viewers deciding to give up meat on the spot. They have also distributed DVDs and leaflets to thousands of people in the first month. “In the first month alone, more than 10,000 copies of “Glass Walls” were distributed, along with similar numbers of vegetarian/vegan starter kits, free stickers, and other resources to help people transition to a vegan diet. We expect to distribute more than 50,000 DVDs before summer’s end and change the minds and lives of thousands of people.” The exhibit is open through September 3rd and can be found across from the National History Museum.

PETA has often been criticized for their comparison of the treatment of animals to human slavery, as some people think they have gone too far. PETA argues that animals have the same capacity for suffering, and have stated that they “aren’t afraid to make the difficult comparisons, say the unpopular thing, or point out the uncomfortable truth, if it means that animals will benefit.”

What do you think? Has PETA gone too far, or is this an “uncomfortable truth” that we need to face? If you’re undecided, you can also check out the exhibit online: Animal Liberation Project.



About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • Phoebe

    Personally, I think the word slavery (and holocaust, for that matter)can be used to describe conditions forced onto humans and animals alike. What I find striking is that the individuals who object to the use of the word “slavery” to describe what is being done to billions of animals a year is that these individuals use the same reasons and the same language that was used by those who defended human slavery (and actually still defend it in parts of this world). Enslavement of humans (and animals alike) was and is being justified by stating that the so-called Untermensch–whether it be a child, a woman, a person of low social standing due to his/her race, ethnicity, income, social class, or religion,(or an animal)–is devoid of feelings, sentience, and thoughts; and therefore it does not matter what is being done to this creature. Often, both in the case of human and nonhuman slaves, the bible is invoked to justify the horrid treatment visited on the victims. And those who dare to speak up on behalf of the victims are being marginalized, terrorized, and/or criminalized. So yes, I think the comparison is more than justified.

    I also think that individuals who are offended by this comparison often think that animal-rights activists are trying to lower the importance of humans to that of nonhuman animals, whereas animal-rights activists are trying to elevate the importance of animals to that of humans. There is a huge difference here.

  • Nancy

    For those who may think this is “going too far,” I recommend reading “The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery” by Marjorie Spiegel. Alice Walker writes the forward. I assure you it’s worthwhile.

  • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

    wow, right to the point, an exhibition with balls ! Not afraid to tell the truth, THANKS PETA !

    • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

      and THANKS everybody at the National History Musem foe making this exibit possible.