In the wake of the Aurora theater shooting, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals canceled a Denver protest in deference to the victims. But now, PETA has made the tragedy the centerpiece of a new PR blitz. The organization has written a letter to the Arapahoe County Sheriff Office (see it below) asking that accused killer James Holmes be put on a vegetarian diet as a way of making the world a less violent place.
"As debates over gun control and mental-health care sweep the nation in the wake of the July 20 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., PETA is urging everyone to take the first step toward making the world less violent simply by choosing meat-free meals," states a just-issued release from the organization. "To initiate this positive trend, PETA has sent a letter to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson urging him to place James Holmes -- who has been charged in the shooting deaths of 12 people and the wounding of 58 others -- on an all-vegetarian diet for the remainder of his stay at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility in Centennial."
Of course, PETA specializes in publicity stunts. Note the canceled event mentioned above -- "All Animals Have the Same Body Parts," planned to coincide with the annual Cattle Industry Summer Conference -- would have involved members of the group wearing only "paint markings that mimic a butcher's diagram."
When PETA pulled the plug on this display, our Patricia Calhoun praised the organization for making a "smart move," since "victims of the shootings are lying in hospital beds across the city, with holes in their body parts."
That's still the case: A number of people injured in the massacre remain in hospitalized as we approach the three-week mark since the attack. But apparently, PETA feels it's waited long enough
"There are many forms of random, senseless violence that we can do nothing about -- but each of us can help stop the routine slaughter of animals simply by not eating them," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk in a statement. "PETA is asking Sheriff Robinson to lead the way by placing James Holmes on a humane and cost-effective vegetarian diet, which will save lives and public funds."
Oh yeah: PETA has offered to provide not just Holmes but all Arapahoe County inmates with vegetarian meals at no cost to taxpayers. For one day.
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Here's the full letter to Robinson:
August 8, 2012
Sheriff Grayson Robinson Arapahoe County
Via e-mail: email@example.com
Dear Sheriff Robinson,
On behalf of PETA's more than 3 million members and supporters--including thousands across Colorado who were horrified by the carnage in Aurora--I am writing about suspected murderer James Holmes. With all due respect, we ask that you help make the world a less violent place by providing him with exclusively vegetarian meals while he is in your custody.
The senseless killings that Holmes is charged with carrying out have caused many of us to debate how gun control and mental-health care might help prevent future outbreaks of such violence. Although many acts of random and senseless violence occur that we can do nothing about, all of us can help stop the routine slaughter of animals--all we have to do is stop eating them. On factory farms, living, feeling beings--who experience pain and fear just as we do--are regularly castrated, debeaked, and dehorned without painkillers. They are transported to slaughterhouses in all weather extremes, with many collapsing from heat exhaustion in hot weather and some freezing to the sides of the trucks in cold weather. At the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside down, and their throats are slit, often while they are still conscious.
Nonviolence can start on our plates. There are other benefits, too: Vegetarian meals are easy to prepare and typically less expensive than meat-based meals. We would be happy to help you set up institutional meat-free meal plans and also to give, at no cost to Arapahoe County, vegetarian meals to all your inmates on a day of your choosing.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk President PETA
More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Ten most offensive pop-culture reactions to the Aurora theater shooting."