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No Flies on PETA

I thought it awfully strange that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was weighing in on President Obama's fly-swat (the headline on website TMZ: "PETA Swats at Obama for Killing That Fly!"), so I emailed PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich this morning to ask why he was devaluing his currency on such nonsense. Shocking, I know, but it seems his remarks were taken out of context for the sake of a better, if ridiculous, story. Here's his reply:

Hi Kathleen,

It must be a slow news day. Here’s me talking about it on CNBC, and this is a New York Daily News piece about it. Most of the press has really created a story where there is none. In every interview, we’ve stressed that this is not a big deal, is not something we thought to comment on until TMZ called us, etc. This is the statement we put out:

Well, who is perfect? Certainly, President Obama has been helpful in his opposition to factory farming, which involves the mutilation and slaughter—while fully conscious—of 10 billion chickens and other farmed animals every year and is something that America can truly be ashamed of. He condemned the Canadian seal slaughter, which is the largest massacre of marine mammals in the world. His wife won’t wear fur, which means that she doesn’t support allowing animals to die slowly in traps or to live abysmal lives and suffer horrific deaths on fur factory farms for a coat. His administration supports openness with regard to how government money is spent, which will save millions of animals from painful experiments every year. He also had a perfect voting record in behalf of animals while he was in the Senate and spoke out publicly in support of animal protection on multiple occasions during his presidential campaign. Swatting a fly on TV indicates that he’s not the Buddha, that’s all.

And it was blown into “PETA outraged.” That’s just not true; all we said is “it shows he’s human.” I guess that was a revelation for some journalists!

But there you go.


p.s. I do appreciate your checking in, Kathleen. I’ll bet if we’d refused to comment at all, the story would have been “PETA Refuses to Condemn Fly Murder!” or something.

By Kathleen Parker  | June 19, 2009; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Parker  | Tags:  Kathleen Parker  
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Kathleen, you did uncover real news in this teapot-sized tempest: Somebody associated with PETA reacted with common sense, charm and humor about a goading, ridiculous premise. If only Obama's knee-jerk opposition had a fraction of that kind of wit, maybe they wouldn't need to try to provoke people (unsuccessfully) into idiotic, stereotyped PC tirades.

Posted by: joebanks | June 19, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Fox News that made the Peta response an issue?

Posted by: lassair | June 19, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

While dining out in Greenwich Village President Obama was overheard to say: "Waiter, this is a fly in my souffle!" The waiter replied: "I'll contact PETA immediately!"

Posted by: johnson0572 | June 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Most people do want ethical treatment of animals, but want a reasonable approach. Look at the market for eggs from chickens that are "free." If they could come up with a reasoned and moderate message, they coud get millions for their programs. As it is, they are seen as nutso. Time to change.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 19, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Wait. So PETA cares about flies too? Well, there goes whatever chance they had of me joining up. I'm sorry, but flies are a nuisance. I don't care about them in the least.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | June 19, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years, long before I ever heard of PETA. (I'm 28 now.) I have never once supported anything they've done. They are seriously wackjobs; their indoctrination techniques border on cult-like (have you seen's coloring pages?) and they do NOT represent me or most of the vegetarians I know.

Just wanted to put that out there. I agree that it's nice to see them respond reasonably as above, but personally I'd rather they disappear completely, because they do NOT go about pursuing their cause in a rational manner.

Posted by: mmp003 | June 21, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Glad to have PETA's reaction to the "fly incident" cleared up. I figured if they had nothing better to complain about, they might as well close up shop. I've always considered myself an animal lover but it never extended to flies. They could all disappear from the face of the earth as far as I'm concerned - and when they go, they should take the cockroaches.

Posted by: cemoseley | June 21, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen: My first thought was, OH NO, another 'tempest in a tea pot'. Viola, your first writer's comment was to the same point.

Posted by: Mecarswell | June 22, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse


Coward liar Barack HUSSEIN Obama "Apologist in chief", how can he keep his nonsense promise during his campaign, that is, negotiating with U.S. enemies such as North Korea and Iran, which have never respected any treaty with U.S., especially when North Korea just launched many missile and nuclear tests and planned to fire missile toward Hawaii, not mentioning illegally arrested and sentenced two American journalists Laura Ling and Eunu Lee to twelve years of labor, while Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an extremist who called for Israel to be wiped off the map and denied the holocaust, was just re-elected by fraud. Is Obama going to bow to Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejas as he did to King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia to gain his peace deals? Is he willing to convert to Islam, his Kenyan father and Indonesian step father's religion, to meet Osama Bin Laden's requirement that in order to end the Iraq war, U.S. troop withdrawal is not enough, Americans must reject their democratic system and embrace Islam? Just recently, Obama said that he would support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections, giving a green light to Teheran's ambituous uranium enrichment program, which can be used for its discreet nuclear bomb development program as well, without suffering sanctions and economic isolation as it currently endures. Does Obama want Iran to become another North Korea using its nuclear power to terrorize the U.S and its allies? Worst still, Obama refused to show support for pro-democracy protesters and denounce the brutal regime for the deaths of seven demontrators, fearing to be seen as interfering in Iran's internal affairs so that he could not pursue a nuclear deal with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader. In fact, Obama sided with the regime, citing that there was not a bit of difference between the two candidates, a moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi and hardcore extremist Ahmadinejad. A big mouth for change at home, he does not want to see any change in Iran. Is he going to turn a blind eye to another Tianamen Square massacre committed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? As for a Palestinian state demanded by Obama, it will undoubtedly soon become a TERRORIST state under control of terrorist militant group Hamas, which is the most powerful and popular force with its goal to destroy Israel and which won a majority seats in the current Palestinian National Authority in 2006 election and ousted Fatah militant group of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of Gaza in 2007. Last but not least, Obama ordered to stop waterboarding tactic used by CIA, even it worked well on terrorist suspects like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-describer planner of 9-11 attacks who provided CIA with valuable information, preventing more 9-11 attacks and saving thousands of American lives.

Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | June 22, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

I find the reporter disingenuous when she omits the very next paragraph from the PITA statement, "As an organization, we support compassion even for the most curious, smallest, and least sympathetic animals, much as Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who included insects in his realm of compassion."
Did then the President compassionately execute that fly?

Posted by: Verisimilitude | June 23, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

So are you saying you dont like Obama?
When I read your crazy rant it makes me glad that Obama is president because that means a loon like you has no chance any time soon of leading anything but himself. Please get a life and stop obsessing over Obama. He is president, not king. His policies have to be approved just like any other president in case you have forgotten.

Posted by: ged0386 | June 24, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

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