Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kill A Tree: The PETA Way

I know, they are supposed to be fellow progressives, but I am from the Midwest and come from a working class family. I simply do not care what a bunch of naked, starving models think of me. And now that I think about it, I feel more sympathy for the lives of the animals and trees than the fools who buy these coffins. And consider that having all of those dead bodies rotting under the ground in pine cannot be good for the environment.

Dying to support animal rights? Try a PETA coffin

By TIM KORTE, Associated Press Writer

EDGEWOOD, N.M. – For animal rights activists, sticking up for furry or feathered critters is a way of life. Now it can be a way of death, too.

A New Mexico company is building all-wood human coffins in a partnership with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They bear painted slogans, such as "Lifetime PETA Member" or "I saved 500 animals."

Another serves up a last laugh that plays on a long-running PETA advertisement: "Told You I Wouldn't Be Caught Dead in Fur!"

The coffins, which went on sale last week, are priced from $620 to $670, which includes a $75 PETA contribution. Made of wood, they are designed to be Earth-friendly, with no screws, nails, hinges or animal-based glues.

They are assembled by Dienna Genther, 44, a former construction worker from Bellingham, Wash., who operates a company called The Old Pine Box in rural Edgewood, about 30 miles east of Albuquerque. She began handcrafting coffins from pine, cedar, maple and other woods in 2004.

When initially contacted, Genther thought PETA wanted to discuss marketing coffins for pets. Her company builds those, too.

"But then they sent the designs, the classic toe-pincher style, and I realized they wanted human coffins," she recalled. "I told them, `We can do it.'"

Genther is not a PETA member but, "I support their cause."

Michael McGraw, a PETA spokesman in New York, said the organization has about 2 million members and supporters, suggesting there are plenty of potential customers for PETA-themed coffins.

"We expect a healthy interest," he said. "It's the best way for people to continue to use their voice for animals in death."

While some designs might seem irreverent, the PETA coffins aren't unusual, Genther said. For years, she noted, funeral homes have offered stylized coffins with such adornments as religious symbols or sports team logos.

Joan Calpin, a 40-year-old health insurance billing clerk and PETA member in Middletown, Del., plans to buy one.

"It's a great idea," she said. "For myself and a lot of my friends who are activists, everybody always says, `All my life, I've helped animals.' Well, now you can say it even after your life is over. You're still helping animals."

By the way, just in case anyone is wondering, PETA kills more animals every year than just about any organization. In fact, PETA has killed (i.e., "euthanized") over 20,000 cats, dogs, and other furry critters at its Virginia headquarters in the last decade. And yet they think zoo animals should be walking the streets (indeed, anything less would be cruel to the elephants and giraffes). This is what happens when your social movements splinter off into this nonsense. We lost touch with who we once were and what we once agitated for, and it was not the rights of bees and cows. It was the right of people, particularly the right of working people to live in dignity. Is it any wonder why Lawrence Summers, the academic version of Jabba the Hut, will be telling the Senate Banking Committee that bringing back the Glass-Steagall Act is a bad idea? Because people who should know better, and who should be organizing on these types of issues, are expending their resources and time on the wrong things. But they will feel better about themselves before they die.

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