PETA Mocked for Suggesting Changes to ‘Anti-Animal’ Idioms Like ‘Kill Two Birds’

December 6, 2018 Updated: December 6, 2018

Animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has drawn ridicule for taking the social justice fight to animal idioms it says are “anti-animal” and “speciesist.”

“Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of ‘the bacon,'” PETA wrote on Twitter on Dec. 4.

“Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations,” PETA wrote, and attached a helpful list of harm-neutral, non-speciesist, cruelty-free sayings.

‘Feed Two Birds With One Scone’

The organization recommends people bury the saying, “Kill two birds with one stone” and opt instead for a revised version, “Feed two birds with one scone.”

People who want a figurative way to express the idea of pressing ahead with a pointless endeavor should avoid the saying “Beat a dead horse,” according to PETA, and instead say, “Feed a fed horse.”

PETA provided other examples of how to “stop using anti-animal language.”

‘Love This’ vs ‘Time-Wasting Bilge’

PETA’s post sparked a slew of comments, including a modest selection of expressions of support.

“Words absolutely matter!! I Love this. Been saying for years I hate most of these phrases and don’t use them,” wrote one person on Twitter, before punctuating her post with a heartfelt “Thank you 💜”

Most comments, however, ranged from the sarcastic, “Doesn’t PETA have bigger fish to fry?” to outright offense.

“Ridiculous, time wasting bilge. Unfollowing now. What a shame you can’t focus on the important stuff,” wrote a commenter named James Dreyfus.

Andrew Schlanser questioned the organization’s apparently muddled logic.

“So I’m supposed to grab a flower by the thorns? What about my fingers? Or what about the flowers feelings?”

Jason Yarnell echoed this sentiment, saying that with the expression “take a flower by the thorns,” PETA was guilty of perpetuating another form of “speciesism.”

Jane Denton objected to the newspeak version “Feed two birds with one scone,” calling into question whether the pro-animal organization was aware that feeding white bread to birds could contribute to a slow, agonizing death.

“Wow killing a bird quickly with a stone is more humane than killing them slowly with a scone!” she said, and posted a link to a Nest & Glow article titled “Feeding Bread Is Killing Birds.”

“Feed a “fed” horse?” she continued to lambast the organization. “Overfeeding a horse can kill it too, at the very least cause serious digestive issues! You ethical…?! You’re not informed.
Do your research!”

Besides, @FierceGenXer pointed out, “beating a horse when it’s already dead – the horse doesn’t feel anything because…it’s dead!”

The Daily Caller pointed out that the list of “anti-animal” idioms in PETA’s table is woefully incomplete, and provided a more complete listing of expressions, along with a call for the activist group to reformulate them into “non-speciesist” versions:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

A fish rots from the head down

A leopard cannot change its spots

A pig in a poke

A red rag to a bull

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Act the giddy goat

An albatross around one’s neck

Badger to death

Bats in the belfry

Bee in your bonnet

Bell the cat

(Let the) cat out of the bag

Chickens come home to roost

Crocodile tears

Curiosity killed the cat

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Early bird catches the worm

Even a worm will turn

Fit as a butcher’s dog

Fly in the ointment

Get your goat

Go to the dogs

Hair of the dog that bit you

Has the cat got your tongue?

In a pig’s eye

Jump the shark

Kangaroo court

Lamb to the slaughter

Mad as a March hare

Make a pig’s ear of

Nest of vipers

No room to swing a cat

Pop goes the weasel

Pretty kettle of fish

Raining cats and dogs

Sacred cow

Stone the crows

Straw that broke the camel’s back

Till the cows come home

Weasel words

Currently, there is no word on whether PETA is working on the expanded list, or if they have bigger planes to fly.

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