“While these phrases may seem harmless, they carry meaning and can send mixed signals to students about the relationship between humans and animals and can normalize abuse."
PETA is calling for the general public to stop saying common phrases that use animal- and meat-based idioms such as “bringing home the bacon” and “beating a dead horse” because they claim that they’re offensive to animals.
Among the phrases that the organization cited on their list are “kill two birds with one stone,” “be the guinea pig,” and “take the bull by its horns.”
What’s more, in a tweet on Dec. 4, the animal rights organization compared these phrases to homophobic and racist language. The tweet from PETA read:
“Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon.”
A separate tweet from PETA added: “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it.”
PETA went on to offer the general public a number of alternative, animal-friendly phrases to replace the commonly used phrases in question. Instead of saying “kill two birds with one stone” the advocacy group believes that “feed two birds with one scone” is more humane.
PETA also wants individuals to say “feed a fed horse” instead of “beat a dead horse,” and “take a flower by the thorns” instead of “take a bull by the horns.”
Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon.
— PETA: Bringing Home the Bagels Since 1980 (@peta) December 4, 2018
Naturally, the internet responded to PETA’s statement with widespread criticism.
Not only do some commenters believe that the advocacy group is taking their animal rights crusade too far, but they also feel that the comparison of this seemingly harmless colloquial language to harmful homophobic and racist language is an out-of-bounds comparison.
Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, who lists one of his legal specialties as LGBTQ rights in his Twitter bio, responded to PETA directly in a tweet of his own.
Kreis wrote in his tweet:
“As someone who has had homophobic slurs shouted at him and seen individuals physically threatened and beaten while anti-LGBTQ epithets were hurled, your stupidity is not even laughable — it is offensive to equate common animal idioms to racism, ableism, or homophobia.”
This statement from PETA came after a study from the UK reported that the growing popularity of veganism might inspire the change-of-language that PETA is suggesting to become a reality.
“If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and our literature,” Shareena Z. Hamzah of Swansea University wrote in The Conversation.
While there are vocal critics that are strongly against adhering to PETA’s request, the organization sees great validity in their suggestion.
“While these phrases may seem harmless, they carry meaning and can send mixed signals to students about the relationship between humans and animals and can normalize abuse,” PETA stated.
“Teaching students to use animal-friendly language can cultivate positive relationships between all beings and help end the epidemic of youth violence towards animals.”
Next, find out why one Whole Foods was forced to file a restraining order against a vegan advocacy group. Then, read about PETA’s outrage after the NHL used real-life penguins in a harmless pre-game show.