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November 19, 2008

Fake Plastic Wishbones?

 

Turns out the cold I thought I had is actually a mild case of pneumonia. Thanks very much to blogger Rejin Leys from Urban Botany who filled in for me tonight with a post about a crazy new plastic product being promoted by, of all organizations, PETA.

This week, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) held a contest and awarded 5 lucky winners each a package of 10 “vegan” wishbones, so they can fully participate in Thanksgiving Day festivities without having to touch “the awful real thing.”

Regular readers of FPF will immediately spot the problem with this, right? Fake Plastic Wishbones? As Beth and other anti-plastic pollution activists have pointed out so many times, the world is already drowning in useless plastic crap. Why do companies keep dreaming up and producing more? And most perplexingly, what is an animal rights advocacy organization doing marketing that plastic crap for the Lucky Break Wishbone Corporation?

Because isn’t that what a contest like this is all about? Ad agencies dream of finding high profile organizations that will promote all kinds of products to their members, listeners or followers. It is effective advertising, and its absolutely free. PETA even obligingly links to the company’s website, so that all the people who didn’t win, but who are now convinced that they need fake plastic wishbones to make their holiday experience more authentic (!) can click right over and order them online.

While this one contest represents a pretty trivial amount of plastic (50 wishbones plus 5 packages), it also represents a very simplistic approach to defending the rights of animals. By ignoring the pollution spewed by factories that make things like plastic wishbones, PETA is prioritizing the rights of livestock animals over the rights of animals in their natural habitats, that are harder to quantify and relate to. The plastics that end up in the ocean kill many animals and damage the habitats of more species than humans have yet encountered. The toxic soup that leaches out of plastic-filled landfills poisons groundwater and flows into waterways – killing more animals. When incinerated, plastics release poisonous gases into the air – killing more animals. Even recycling plastics creates toxic by-products.

Sometimes it is hard to see the connections between different issues. But this one should be easy: finding ways to protect the environment, such as reducing our use of useless plastic crap, is also a way to protect the rights and lives of animals.

And as Rejin suggested in her own blog entry on this topic, why do we need wishbones for making wishes in the first place? “How about creating a new tradition where everyone goes around the table and makes a wish? There, no dead turkeys and no plastic factories spewing hazardous wastes that kill other animals. Problem solved.”



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28 comments
Anonymous
Anonymous

You know, in my opinion it is stupid, but if they can get some traction via a dumb - and small - plastic wishbone, best of luck to them. If someone starts thinking about eating less or no meat because they see that non-meat alternatives are out there...even FPWs [!] then the environment comes out a winner. Less resources into growing foods for a plant based diet. No plastic packaging and netting around a bird. No need to have the oven on for hours on end to bake it. See what I mean? Plus, though I am not one of them, I can see where some people/families might like to still do this sort of tradition and again, if this product makes it easier for them to be vegetarian/vegan, than go for it! Not my taste/style but the world is a big place!

The Beer Babe
The Beer Babe

Its interesting to me because there are a lot of times when environmentalist or groups out there "for good" do stupid counterproductive things. What's got my fur bristled lately is a ban on CFC asthma inhalers. Same thing - hey, why not do some good for the ozone by diching those "bad" things. The problem? The replacements are worse for the asthma sufferers. And they - the asthmatics - have no choice. So we're making people suffer because we can't think up a better solution. Its amazing how hypocritical it all is.

The Beer Babe
The Beer Babe

Its interesting to me because there are a lot of times when environmentalist or groups out there "for good" do stupid counterproductive things. What's got my fur bristled lately is a ban on CFC asthma inhalers. Same thing - hey, why not do some good for the ozone by diching those "bad" things. The problem? The replacements are worse for the asthma sufferers. And they - the asthmatics - have no choice. So we're making people suffer because we can't think up a better solution. Its amazing how hypocritical it all is.

Crunchy Chicken
Crunchy Chicken

This crap has been sold in our local stores for a year now (I was complaining about this product earlier this year). It's a local company, but I ain't supporting them! I am amazed that they have PETA promoting them.

Natalie W.
Natalie W.

Seriously? Plastic wishbones?I hope you feel better soon.

Rejin/Urban Botany
Rejin/Urban Botany

The contest is over, and I wish that meant the problem was gone. But the plastic will linger in the environment forever. I hope the attitude doesn't linger quite so long.I used to like PETA's use of direct action; they really know how to get animal rights on the radar. But I can't believe how stubbornly they are defending this lame contest instead of connecting the dots. The production and disposal of plastics is harmful to animals. Whats not to get?

Colleen
Colleen

Here Here Beth! Your post completely reflects my opinion on this sort of subject. I have no problem with someone choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan (i myself was a vegetarian for over 10 years), but when groups like PETA and those who follow them have such a one-sided view on things, it is so counterproductive. To use a useless plastic product just to simulate a tradition that involves what they consider awful (eating meat) is just silly. When I was a vegetarian I would often explain my choice to people as being for environmental reasons (i.e. it took less energy, water, etc. to produce non-meat alternatives). And while I personally wasn't interested in eating things like venison, I always recognized that from an environmental perspective, eating food you hunt yourself is probably the least impactful (as long as the animals are hunted within sustainable numbers). In any situation is important to look at the whole picture...eating something you hunt yourself has no packaging and hasn't been transported thousands of miles (not to mention the impacts of raising both meat and vegetables on farms...that package of tofu has a big impact too).

Robj98168
Robj98168

You know, they sell Fake chocolate wishbones A much better, tastier alternative to fake plastic wishbones! Of course, While I think FPWishbones absurd, a person can always take the thought that no turkey was harmed, and no turkey processed in making them. Oh god I am justifying for PETA!

Fake Plastic Fish
Fake Plastic Fish

No, Marika. Don't get your hopes up. I eat very little meat (certainly not every day) and the meat I do eat is not factory-farmed and mostly not beef.Have you read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yet? I don't think you have to be a vegetarian to care about animals.We can take this offline. It's not really the point of the post.

Anonymous
Anonymous

wait did you give up meat completely? *marika

Fake Plastic Fish
Fake Plastic Fish

Hey Marika. We do still have a date... but when???Okay, I need to respond to your first sentence, "i think you have to remember that everyone has their own cause. just like anti-plastic is YOUR cause...animals is PETA's."That is the point of Rejin's post. She and I are both animal lovers. Animals ARE my cause. It was seeing dead bird carcasses full of tiny pieces of plastic (like those wishbones) that made me give up plastic in the first place. My anti-plastic stance is actually much more motivated by caring for animals than it is worrying about BPA in my food, to be honest. (Not saying I don't care about that, but it's not what truly moves me.)What we're saying is that PETA's plastic wishbone giveaway is short-sighted. They are not making the connection between plastic and the harm that it does to animals. They don't need to give away plastic wishbones. No one needs any kind of wishbone.And I agree with Jennifer who said she hates fake stuff. Me too. I am not a fan of fake meat, for example. I will happily eat tofu and tempeh and all manner of non-meat foods. But I just want my food (and other objects in my life) to be what they are, not pretending to be something else.Which is one of the whole issues of plastic in the first place, isn't it? It's always trying to look like or be something else. Let's get real.We can protect animals by not eating them (if that's what you are moved to do) and we can protect animals, as well as the rest of the planet, by skipping plastic. It's not an either/or proposition.

Anonymous
Anonymous

i would say peta is a BAD source to utilize if you are trying to reduce your meat intake and want veggie recipes. Peta likes to play off the "shock value" by showing numerous pictures on most pages of their info packets showing animals suffering, being abused, dying, etc. They have a very in your face approach. which is one of the many reasons why i am not a fan. although, they were the reason why i stopped eating meat in the first place. there should be alternatives to meat eaters who have given up meat to ease the transition and cater to that demographic, which is why vegetarianism/veganism is so popular now. back in the 80's there really werent many meat alternatives which made it challenging to do. but i STILL cannot understand why someone would miss and WANT an animal wishbone...? ps...there are tons of online blogs that have awesome meat free recipes. my personal favorite is veganyumyum.com and also fatfreevegan.com *marika, again. pps...BETH we still have a date for vegetarian food in your neck of the woods!

Laura
Laura

I am having a whole synchronicity moment here. Just last night I started to pick up a free PETA magazine while I was waiting at the bus stop. I say 'started to' because it went something like this... ~Oh. There's a free PETA magazine with veggie recipes in it. ~I want to eat less meat but have some old habits to break. I'll grab this mag and maybe it will give me some pointers! *opens plastic newsstand door*~Eekads! Each and every one of the mags in here is individually wrapped in a clear plastic sheath. WTF?*walks away perplexed*

Anonymous
Anonymous

i just emailed PETA about this issue and asked if the wishbones were biodegradable. as far as I'm concerned, just because they're not made from virgin plastic doesn't mean they won't end up in the "Plastic Ocean." If they are recyclable, I did not see any clear promotion to potential winners that these should be recycled. I did not view this post as a direct attack on PETA but as a constructive critique of their message. All big causes can benefit from multiple voices that point out their inconsistancies and encourage strong repositioning of their message. PETA really could do a lot of good. Protecting animals is not as simple as vegetarianism and fur-less fashions. I requested that they urge their members to be aware of their garbage and to understand how it affects animals in their natural habitat...anyone want to make bets on whether or not I get a response? I was polite, but who knows. This topic always generates intensity on both sides. Animals rights activists may not want to be told their every day actions could be harming those they are advocating. Cheers on this post and many thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous

i think you have to remember that everyone has their own cause. just like anti-plastic is YOUR cause...animals is PETA's. and in reality...factory farms cause a lot of harm to the environment. I'd be willing to bet almost as much if not more than plastic. which always stumps me why people who care so much for the environment still consume SO much meat...i mean the average person eats meat at almost every meal and imagine if everyone reduced their meat consumption to once or twice a week only...imagine how much even that would help. (and im talking about the average asshole out there who thinks being "green" is cool and trendy right now...im not talking about the people who eat meat and actually investigate where it comes from). in reality...im not a real fan of peta. yeah...they're a voice for the cause...but i have my own reasons for not supporting them wholeheartedly. and in all honesty...being a vegetarian for the past..oh i guess 5 years or so...wishbones are NOT something i've missed EVER. um plus...as an animal lover...the thought of breaking apart a dried animal bone, real or fake absolutely grosses me out. another pointless item to add to the other billion pointless items out there. feel better soon and let me know if you need anything! *marika

Lianne
Lianne

They may not be the most useful contest prize in the world, but they're not as awful as you think. The wishbones are made from (and packaged in) all recycled materials and are recyclable themselves. The contest was over this week, so the problem's gone. That said, I hope you feel better. :)

Jennifer
Jennifer

SO ridiculous. Can they even SEE the forest for the trees? I'm against fake things. Real all the way. There are no "imitation" things or food in my house. If I want them, I get the real thing or decide to go without based on principles.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I'll enjoy my real turkey thank you. (pasture raised of course)!But whoever did a turkey wishbone tradition at Thanksgiving anyway? My family didn't.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Those wishbones are made from recycled plastic, in recycled packaging. Do you use anything that isn't entirely vital to your survival? I understand your cause, but choose your battles. Target water bottles or something that may not be as eco-friendly as possible without existing.

Susy
Susy

I'm often amazed at the stupid products I see floating around, but I think this takes the cake. Why not just go around the table and all say something we're thankful for, it is Thanksgiving after all. Feel better soon!

Citizen Green
Citizen Green

PETA has so much potential to do good things, but their lack of common sense gets in their way. Or is it lack of education? Their love for animals is great, but so many times they demonstrate that they don't know the consequences and implications of what they are doing.Linda A

Burbanmom
Burbanmom

They never cease to amaze me... the dumb ass crap that makes it to production and the dumb ass consumers that buy it. We, as a society, apparently have way too much money on our hands. I hope those that made it over to the PETA website ignore the link and instead take their $5 and donate it to their favorite cause instead.

kale for sale
kale for sale

You have to admit that Lucky Break, is a clever name for a fake wishbone though. Why the world needs fake wishbones sold in plastic however is beyond me. Take really good care of yourself and get in lots of cat snuggling. That will make you well faster.

Green Bean
Green Bean

Hope you feel better, Beth.The Wishbones thing???? Absurd.

Juli
Juli

I hope you feel better soon!

-a
-a

Unbelievable!!

Lisa Sharp
Lisa Sharp

Another reason to add to my "why I hate PETA" list. :)

Anarres Natural Health
Anarres Natural Health

Dear Beth,Brita wrote back to me that they will be recycling in Canada as well.Yay!Sorry about the wish bones.Stupid, but not a first for PETA.Get well soon.Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

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