A press release was issued by PETA today to promote a new book called The Animal Activist's Handbook. Co-written by welfarists Vegan Outreach's Matt Ball and PETA Vice-President Bruce Friedrich, as well as endorsed by both welfarists Peter Singer and Matthew Scully? Buyer beware!
My favourite bit from the press release: "[Friedrich] argues against questioning waiters in restaurants about the ingredients in menu items". Uh, so what? Don't eat? Pretend you're not vegan? So now PETA is saying that if I adhere to an ethical framework that permeates every aspect of my life, including what I eat, that it's "impolite" and somehow harmful to the animal rights cause to find out if what's offered on a menu is suitable for me to eat? I'll guess that they'd probably OK my doing so if I had a life-threatening food allergy, so why should merely asking be portrayed as socially unacceptable if you're doing it for ethical reasons? Why seek to shame people for merely informing themselves?
The full text:
New Book Tutors Activists on the Finer Points of Being the Biggest Nags in Town (and at the Table)
For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2009
Jake Smith 757-622-7382
That irritating animal rights activist who never stops bugging you about your leather shoes and complaining about meat at the office potluck is about to get a makeover--courtesy of a new book by PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich, a man with a mighty bullhorn and a life mission. Along with colleague Matt Ball, Friedrich has authored The Animal Activist's Handbook, a first-of-its-kind guide that explains to activists that if they want to be effective, they'd better brush up on their social skills and appearance, or people may just ignore the message and shoot the messenger.
In the book, Friedrich--a vegan for more than 20 years--knocks down quite a few of the "sacred cows" of the animal rights movement. Taking on the role of PETA's "Mister Manners," Friedrich explains the importance of socializing and breaking bread with meat-eaters--and even dating them. After all, he explains, boycotting holiday meals or applying a vegan litmus test to our love lives will only alienate friends and family and cut down on our dating pool and sphere of influence.
Friedrich gives specific examples of what to say in "mixed" company when the topic of eating meat comes up. He suggests that meat-eaters should be fed faux meat rather than ethnic or other less familiar foods as their introduction to vegetarianism, and he argues against questioning waiters in restaurants about the ingredients in menu items.
The book has gotten raves from a diverse group of reviewers that includes Rory Freedman, number one New York Times bestselling coauthor of Skinny Bitch; Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University; and Matthew Scully, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Scully wrote that Friedrich's book "is full of good sense, thoughtful advice, and practical action on helping all of us to reduce the needless suffering of our fellow creatures. I recommend it."
With an inspiring foreword by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, The Animal Activist's Handbook also addresses several tangential issues, including why striving to make the world a better place is the most rewarding endeavor anyone can undertake as well as why Friedrich and his coauthor believe that animal liberation is not only possible but also inevitable.
I hope you that will consider running a profile on Friedrich and The Animal Activist's Handbook.