Aurora theater shooting: PETA cancels "All Animals Have the Same Body Parts" protest

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At last, some good news to come out of the horror in Aurora. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has cancelled a demonstration planned to coincide with a cattle-industry meeting tomorrow. Even PETA, which regularly uses stunts to push its agenda, realizes there are limits to bad taste for a good cause.

Here's the announcement from PETA's Amanda Schinke:

As you may know, PETA regularly protests the annual Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, but because of Friday morning's shooting in Aurora, we have canceled our plans to hold an "All Animals Have the Same Body Parts" demonstration -- in which PETA members wear only paint markings that mimic a butcher's diagram --outside the conference on Wednesday, out of respect for the victims and their families.

Smart move. Victims of the shootings are lying in hospital beds across the city, with holes in their body parts. Thanks, PETA.

PETA volunteers have frequently stripped for the cause in Colorado. To give you an idea of what we're missing this time: In July 2008, a volunteer who "was as naked as she could legally be," according to a PETA spokesperson, laid down on a large tray and covered herself in clear plastic -- like a grocery-store package of meat -- to promote vegetarianism and protest the Cattle Industry Summer Conference at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.

Here's how Cassandra Callaghan described the action to Westword:

By shedding my clothes and lying "bloodied" in a cellophane-wrapped "meat tray" outside the Cattle Industry Summer Conference, I hoped to shed light on how animals are abused for meat.

Before they end up in tidy packages in the meat case, cows, chickens, pigs and other animals endure extreme confinement in feces-filled enclosures, where they constantly breathe ammonia fumes and never get to feel the sun on their backs or do anything that is natural or important to them. Their horns, tails and beaks are cut off without painkillers, and they are often hung up, hacked apart and scalded alive at the slaughterhouse. Just like us, animals are made of flesh, blood, and bone-and like us, they feel pain and fear.

I hope that the next time they're in the supermarket, the people who saw my demonstration will remember the suffering that goes into those meat packages and will choose a healthy and humane vegetarian diet instead.

The chicken on the mall. The naked woman in the tiger cage. Here's our list of PETA's ten worst publicity stunts.

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