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Saturday, June 23, 2007

PETA's Letter to Michael Moore

Michael Moore's new movie Sicko, which exlores the many flaws of the American health care system is coming out soon. In honor of this, Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, took the opportunity to write a letter to Michael Moore. Included in the letter is the following:

...there’s an elephant in the room, and it is you. With all due respect, no one can help but notice that a weighty health issue is affecting you personally. We’d like to help you fix that. Going vegetarian is an easy and life-saving step that people of all economic backgrounds can take in order to become less reliant on the government’s shoddy healthcare system, and it’s something that you and all Americans can benefit from personally.

The letter goes on to make some great points about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. But, calling Michael Moore an "elephant" and insulting his weight are completely inappropriate. People are sensitive about their weights. Further, this type of language is more likely to infuriate him rather than to convince him to give vegetarianism a chance.

A vegetarian diet is no guarantee that one will be thinner either. While some people have lost weight by going veg, I know plenty of overweight and obese vegetarians as well. And, while I wouldn't consider myself fat, I do have to work to keep the pounds from creeping on.

Would I call any of my patients an "elephant"? No way!

A better tactic would be to congratulate Michael Moore on his movie, and to suggest that vegetarianism is a way to prevent many of the illness that we see today, rather than insulting his weight.


Mary Worrell said...

I completely agree with you - I was shocked when I read about the letter in an e-mail from PETA. I know a lot of people - that when first starting out as vegetarians or vegans - aren't as prepared with nutritional knowledge and end up gorging on bread - or lots of cheese, for vegetarians.

This is my problem with PETA - it seems to take steps back with every step forward. I live about a mile from the PETA HQ in Norfolk and the organization is known more for these kind of outrageous moments than anything positive.

I feel it could use its presence and size so much better sometimes.

um yeah said...

I am not a big fan of PETA in general. It has been my experience that people are alienated and frightened by their approach rather than encouraged to learn more about vegetarianism.

sp said...

I emailed PETA with a similar comment. The idea that being veg = a step to slimness is problematic for the reasons you stated. It's good to hear the info from you.

I also think it's wrong to equate being overweight with being "wrong" or "bad." It's very disturbing to me. But then PETA is the place that always has the "sexiest vegetarian" competition and it's always someone thin and white.

Sometimes I think PETA goes to grab the spotlight that someone else is in just to point out that they're not veg so that PETA can get the spotlight.
I don't agree with all of their approaches, but I'm still glad we live in a world with an organization like PETA.

KleoPatra said...

i think PeTA's got a lot of great ideas, but this wasn't one of them... they have great intentions but you know what "they" say about the road to "Hell"...

Anonymous said...

I thought this at first, too. What did Michael Moore ever do to PETA? Then I heard that he's actually done quite a lot, none of it polite and inoffensive. So I guess, in a way, he deserved some ribbing, and like the PETA blog says, he can certainly take it.

Here's more. (no pun intended!)

Anonymous said...

Although they have good ideas they didn't have to retaliate back by calling him an elephant. How utterly stupid and small minded to use a person's weight to get your point across.

Danielle said...

Well, Moore jokes that he has discovered things called fruits and vegetables. He has lost 25 pounds since his last movie. He is trying to improve his health. Hopefully by adding produce, he has reduced his consumption of meat.

A better way to say it would be to suggest that a lot of the health problems Americans face are due to our poor diet, lack of exercise, etc., which is exacerbated by our lousy health care "system" and that a better diet (animal free) can help reduce our chances of developing these diseases. She could have complimented him on his attempts to improve his diet and urge him to eat even less meat and more fruits and veggies.

Nabeel said...

Have to disagree .. going vegetarian is not the solution here .. it is exercising, playing sports, walking, running, outdoor activities that are the best solutions in Michael Moore's case. Appreciate the movie, his weight has nothing to do with health care. He is talking about health care costs, and rip offs, the system and not, what causes health issues. And actually Michael Moore is not sensitive about his weight. someone asked him this question and he said it is too ridiculous to answer, as it makes no sense in respect of the movie.

Vanilla Orchid said...

I was in the audience last night at San Jose State University when Michael Moore received the Steinbeck award. I'm a huge fan of his, and a vegan. Michael tells it like it is and while I don't think PETA's approach would have worked for all people, it might have been just the thing to motivate Michael. He has clearly lost weight since 2007.

Michael made several comments last night that made me think he may be headed in the right direction:

1. When asked whether he would prefer to have ice cream with Sarah Palin or George W. Bush, he said "I've given up ice cream."

2. In comparing California favorably to Texas he said "You can drive across Texas and never see a salad."

3. While talking about something that had nothing to do with food or diet, he commented that people should eat vegetarian at least 80% of the time.

And, he looked good.