"Because you can't hug a tree if you can't find one."


PETA's Plastic Give-Away

Wow. I used to really respect PETA, until they started hawking plastic wish-bones for the holidays. Seriously, they are giving away 5 little plastic packages each containing 10 plastic wishbones. So we vegetarians and vegans can take part in that holiday tradition of deep cultural significance: competing to see who gets to make a wish after a big Thanksgiving dinner.

OK, I'm not even going to go into the whole friendly Native Americans welcoming their future oppressors, and Puritans sitting at table with "savages" myth. For now.

Rather, here is the first thought that struck me: Hasn't PETA ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? They claim these wishbones and their packages are recyclable, but let's face it: 99.99% of them are going to end up in a landfill, or in the ocean, where they will probably be swallowed by sea turtles who will choke and die. Because most curbside recycling programs don't accept all plastic, or even most plastic. And most plastic that is recycled, gets made into other products that are themselves not recyclable. So more resources are used to make more of the original plastic products. Factories are producing more plastic with each passing decade, and spewing toxic by-products into the environment, destroying the habitats of: animals.

Animals, PETA, animals! Do you hear me?

Maybe I'm missing something. I'm a first generation American and can't remember ever seeing a wishbone on Thanksgiving; never competed for a chance to make a wish after a big dinner of rice and beans and Haitian pate. It's just not part of my tradition. So someone tell me, maybe one of the 125+ vegans and vegetarians who entered PETA's plastic wish bone give-away contest: Why is breaking a piece of plastic more important than protecting the environment that we share with all living things?

Update: The fake plastic wishbone fun continues! See my follow-up to this post over at Fake Plastic Fish. Be sure to check out the comments. Can you tell which ones are from PETA people?


Anonymous said...



I am not a vegan, but I do love animals, and sometimes I think that hardcore animal rights activists and vegans cannot see the forest for the trees.

This is the pits.

Hey, I'm tire and sick. You wouldn't want to write a guest post about this issue on Fake Plastic Fish tomorrow, would you? Of course linking back to this blog. In fact, you could write whatever the heck you wanted to write. I may be cutting off my own head soon.


Ashley said...

Do you have a suggestion for alternatives or is this just a rant to make you feel like you're doing some good in the world? Vegan wishbones aren't useful in the sense that clean water and shelter are useful, but that doesn't mean that every extravagance that isn't entirely vital to existence should be eliminated. Does everything you use come with a guarantee that no one will put theirs in a landfill? Or are you just bitching, like I suspect, because PETA can make a difference and all you can do is whine. Your computer isn't recyclable, and some other Dell laptop might end up in the Indian Ocean, but does that mean you should boycott all technology? Delete this comment. Or prove yourself useful and publish something people need to see.

Rejin/Urban Botany said...

Yes Beth, that's just what I mean. So its a relatively trivial amount of plastic, but doesn't this represent a really narrow way of thinking: "Save the turkeys, but screw the sea turtles!"
Don't cut your head off though - I'm sure there are a lot of good ideas left in there about how to reduce our use of plastic.
And Ashley - way to get defensive there, Ash.
Are you suggesting I come up with a viable alternative for PLASTIC wishbones? OK, here is one: no plastic wishbones. Come on, just because a company comes up with a way to separate consumers from their money by marketing a useless product that we could all get along without, doesn't mean you (PETA) have to advertise it for them. How about creating a new tradition where everyone goes around the table and makes a wish? There, no dead turkeys and no plastic factories spewing hazardous wastes that kill other animals. Problem solved.

Rejin/Urban Botany said...

Also, Ash: Are you suggesting I shouldn't stand up for what I believe in? That one person can't make a difference?
Have you ever heard of the right to free speech? I believe it is still in the Constitution. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing. Many vegans where plastic shoes because they don't want to wear animal hides. I may or may not agree with wearing plastic shoes (although I'd be more inclined to if they were made from recycled plastic) but the fact remains that we all have to wear shoes. So we can agree to disagree.

But wishbones? Who actually NEEDS to pull a wishbone? And who is going to base their turkey vs veg Thanksgiving menu on whether or not there's a wishbone to pull. Anyone?

I hate fake meat too, but that's another topic. Love tofu. Love tempeh. Love all manner of non-meat foods. But I don't love anything made to imitate something it's not. Why can't things just be what they are?

Actually, I do think this relates to the plastic wishbone issue after all.

Anonymous said...

Oh feh. I hate it when I misspell in my comments.

Citizen Green said...

It may be a trivial amount of plastic but it is a useless product. Mindless consumption if plastic products like this one is the issue. If consumers would think before they consume the use of plastic would decrease and the environment would benefit.

Why do vegans need to consume products that imitate food that is from animals? AND give me a break - we are talking about a superstition that a wish will come true if one wins the break of a turkey's wishbone.

Think about what you consume!

Linda A

Bird of Paradise said...

Truly PETA are a bunch of brainless stupid wanks trying to force their mindless philosephies on us all and PETA is open only to the most stupid liberal rattleheads around