PETA Takes Aim and Hits the Infertile

Dawn Davenport


Insensitivity reigns once again.  PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering a free vasectomy in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. I must admit when I first heard about this, I thought the “in honor of” part was probably being exaggerated .  Nope, sure enough it was not.

It’s a two-fer: Get your animal companion fixed, and get yourself fixed too! Human overpopulation is crowding out animal life on the planet, and dog and cat overpopulation is creating a euthanasia crisis that is a crying shame. Disappearing wilderness, vanishing water resources, and pollution is the price that future generations will pay for more human births, while losing their lives is the price that millions of homeless dogs and cats pay when guardians neglect to “fix” their companion animals…. Now, one lucky man can be reproduction-free, free of charge, just like his pooch or feline friend. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 to 30), PETA will give one free vasectomy to a man who has recently had his companion cat or dog neutered.

Oh my, where to even begin.  I’ve included a screen shot below of the PETA campaign rather than a link since I don’t want them to benefit by an increased number of hits to their website.

First, I don’t disagree that animal overpopulation is a problem, and I fully support neutering our pets.  I also don’t disagree that humans can and do cause a host of environmental problems, including the ones they mention.  I also have no problem at all with any man who does not want children or more children getting a vasectomy and think it’s great if PETA wants to give it to him. Bully for them.

Where I do disagree is when they draw infertility into their campaign.  Infertility is a disease which causes suffering that is rated by researchers to be on the level of cancer.  Would PETA offer a year’s supply of cigarettes in honor of National Cancer Awareness Week? I think not.  So why is it acceptable to trivialize the suffering of one disease and not another?

If PETA wanted to make the point that human overpopulation is as great of a problem for the environment as pet overpopulation, why not offer a free vasectomy in honor of Earth Day. The timing (April 22) is perfect for this campaign and the analogy at least hangs together.  To make the campaign in honor of National Infertility Awareness week just seems gratuitously mean.

PETA, have your animal neutering campaign, but don’t make fun of the victims of a disease. Here is the contact information, if you want to contact PETA to express your opinion.

Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

Twitter: @peta


Some other great blogs on this subject:

06/04/2011 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 29 Comments

29 Responses to PETA Takes Aim and Hits the Infertile

  1. Avatar Gemma Strong Randazzo says:

    I really have no words other than WOW. Which seems to be a theme

  2. Avatar Stacey Bedgood says:

    Don’t think they make fertile folks show their pets’ vaccination certificates before they can take Junior home from the hospital. Of course, if they did, then maybe Child Protective Services would have a lot less work. 🙂

  3. Avatar Stacey Bedgood says:

    Yes, we even had to get copies of the pets’ vaccination certificates to include with all the homestudy stuff.

  4. Avatar Stacey Bedgood says:

    PETA should be supporting infertile folks not slamming them… when we adopted, part of out homestudy was documenting that our pets were up to date on their vaccinations. So, good pet owners = good parents?? 🙂 Our pets are also neutered/spayed, but did not have to document that for the homestudy.

  5. Avatar Andrea Hardy says:

    Wow, just wow. I know PETA isn’t exactly known for it’s tact, but that’s just beyond anything I could imagine. Awful.

  6. Avatar Stacey Bedgood says:

    If they wanted to use the animal models to relate to humans, they could pay for the homestudy fees for one lower-income infertile person so that they could more easily adopt a child from foster care.

  7. Avatar Stacey Bedgood says:

    Obviously, the folks at PETA do not know what infertility is. Perhaps, we could explain it to them. It is not infertile people that are overpopulating the world, it is the fertile. Us infertile folks are lucky if just one of our many IVF cycles results in a viable pregancy and live birth or we can jump through all the hoops to adopt one kid. Kind of like recognizing Cancer Awareness Month by giving someone who doesn’t have cancer coupons for free tanning salon hours in hopes they will get it, or handing out cigarettes to kids. A bit backwards.

  8. Avatar peta sucks says:

    People Eating Tasty Animals: Unbelievably insensitive to humans since 1980

  9. Avatar Rocky says:

    Book marked, I love your blog! 🙂

  10. Avatar Paula says:

    WOW!! i am a vegan and thus love animals, and do TNR here in Taiwan…but i am blown away by this. Oh my! They really got this SO wrong.

  11. Avatar brenda says:

    I agree that it was in insensitive blunder to tie the promotion to NIAW. Now if they wanted to do it in honor of “Internatioal Overpopulation Week”, that would make sense. \

    that wasn’t, perchance, published on April Fool’s Day, was it?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      I suggested Earth Day since the timing coordinated well with their campaign (April 22). No, unfortunately it wasn’t an April Fools joke.

  12. Avatar Drew says:

    Everyone take a breath. If you did the slightest bit of research on this you would see that the phrase “In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week” does not appear in the original article. You are being manipulated. Don’t care my word for it see for yourself. Click the link below. Don’t trust me? Go to the PETA website and type Vasectomy into the search window. It should be the first article.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Drew, the phrase “in honor of NIAW” was indeed originally on the site. After so many people contacted them and they started to get negative press coverage, they changed it to “during NIAW”. The protests continued and then a few days ago the deleted all reference to infertility in their campaign. You started your research after they already made the change. You can see a screen shot of their page and a direct quote from their page on my blog.

  13. Avatar Diane says:

    Dawn – thank you for your respones. You are always spot on. It is amazing to me how these crunch granola types are quick to judge. I wonder how many of them have been faced with the isolation and pain that is caused by infertility. I am normally a very nice, level headed person, and would never wish infertility on ANYONE, but you know, I have to say, I wouldn’t mind if the person that came up with that idea was hit with it! I’m infuriated!!!

  14. This has got to top the “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” category for sure. What on earth! Cold, unthinkable and callused! This is really so sad. My heart goes out to all of those who are bearing the unbelievable pain of infertility. I am so sorry.

  15. Avatar Sam says:

    PETA is unbelievable and as always your blog is spot on Dawn. I would just like to add for some of the comments here that recommending adoption as the answer for infertility is played out nonsense. It is the right of everyone to decide for themselves how they wish to make a family. I can tell you as someone who has chosen to adopt that no one “just” chooses adoption. It is a trying path not something easy like ordering lunch.
    I have never gone through infertility treatments but I know women who have and it is painful and heart breaking. Many suffer infertility for years and after enduring all of that emotional and physical pain, are still not able to reproduce. To point at them and talk about overpopulation is nothing more than a twisted joke. It’s vulgar, shock for shock value, and rather stupid. The world is overpopulated and PETA wants to make a point by offering the very odd “gift” of getting some willing participants neutered, fine. There is no need to tie in infertility for the sake of being cruel to those who suffer on their week of awareness.
    I do believe in adoption, it is my personal choice. I know that there are children here in our world who need to be adopted. I have heard different statistics but on any given day there are around 130,000 children waiting to be adopted here in the US public system alone. For those who do not see how callous and inappropriate it is to push adoption on women who suffer infertility, I hope you decide to educate yourselves. If you do not choose to gain some understanding, I hope that education is thrust upon you when you stand by your statements and professed convictions for adoption by adopting a large sibling group. It is good for our earth after all.

  16. Avatar Angie R. says:

    Wow is right. I agree completely with you Dawn. They start out with a great message and then it completely comes crashing down with the “in honor of infertility awareness week”, like it’s some sick joke. Nice one, PETA. 😛

  17. Avatar CD says:

    I agree with the comment that says there are kids already born who need a family. Why don’t you adopt. Better for the earth and good for the kids who need homes.

  18. Avatar Sherry says:

    How about encouraging people to adopt? This is utterly absurd, and yet another blunder from the radicals at Peta. The problem is that they’re trying to help a very worthy cause. But because of this, and oh SO MANY other stupid things they’ve done, they’re discouraging people to support their effort. Would YOU want to donate to this trash? I doubt it!!

    Your analogy to donating cigarettes is spot on, way to go Dawn!

  19. Well said, Dawn. This is insensitive and has nothing to do with infertility. There was no need for them to “go there” with this campaign.

  20. Avatar Keiko says:

    Dawn – excellent post and thanks for sharing and linking back. I’ve RT’d this post as well. I don’t really care about the vasectomy part – they could raffle off a liver transplant for all I care – but you’re right, it’s the “In Honor Of” part that turns this campaign from shock-value sensationalization into outright cruelty.

  21. You know, it’s the “in honor of” part that seems so gratuitouly cruel.

  22. Wow, just wow. They really know how to make friends and influence people, don’t they?!

  23. Stacey, good point all. It just brings home once again, infertility is a misunderstood disease.

  24. Avatar Jenna says:

    Ugh. I’ve been a vegan for 7 years now, and I often get stereotyped because PETA’s campaign methods are insensitive, tactless, and upsetting. Once again, they’ve gone too far.

  25. Avatar Caitlin says:

    I respect your opinion, but I have to tell you that I side with PETA on this one. One of the reasons I see adoption to be such a wonderful option is that even though I am fertile, I do not want to add humans to the earth. There are millions who need homes/families as it is, so I think choosing not to reproduce is a fantastic option. Adoption is good for the parent, good for the children, and good for the earth. PETA seems to be on the same page!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Caitlin, I agree with you that one need not be infertile to choose adoption and also agree that adoption is good for parents, kids, and the earth. And if that was PETA’s point, then they should have offered the free vasectomy in honor of Earth Day. However, by choosing to “honor” Infertility Awareness Week, they trivialize the suffering of the infertile. As long as infertility treatment is done correctly, it does not contribute to over population and more than a fertile couple choosing to have a child. And while adoption was 100% the right choice for you and me, it is not the best choice for all couples. It is also not an easy option for many couples who either don’t meet the parental restrictions of foreign countries or don’t have the profile likely to be chosen by birth parents. While adopting from foster care is an option, it is not the best option for many people.

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