PETA sparks Twitter backlash with MLK tweets

10:49 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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(USA Today)-- Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is stirring up emotions on social media for its tweets about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In the tweets, PETA calls on people to honor King by recognizing animal rights. "We must continue 2 seek justice for EVERYONE who is disadvantaged," according to one tweet.

Another shows a photograph of caged dogs with a King quote, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

PETA also has an MLK webpage with King's quotes over photos of animal.

Some Twitter users bristled at PETA's comparison of the civil rights struggle with the fight for animal rights. Tweets critical of PETA's MLK Day message even raised concerns that the organization was comparing black people to dogs. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said there was no comparison being made.

"The message that's meant is, Please imagine if Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be fighting for us and saying all living beings deserve protection from needless cruelty," Newkirk said in an interview with USA TODAY Network.

PETA also issued a statement from Newkirk, in which she said, "Racism extends to derogatory remarks about other races who are not human."

This isn't the first time PETA has been accused of being insensitive on racial issues.

In 2012, PETA filed a lawsuit on behalf of the orcas at SeaWorld using the anti-slavery 13th Amendment. A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the constitutional protections apply only to humans.

As part of an exhibition at college campuses in 2012, PETA displayed a photo of lynched men next to a photo of a hanging cow.

In 2009, members dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb to protest the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, arguing that the American Kennel Club was trying to create a "master race" when it comes to purebred dogs.


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