UPDATED: PETA's Autism Lies and the Pet Blood on Their Hands

Categories: Whatever

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Editor's Note: PETA got back with us and we've updated our post with new information, clarifications and corrections.

Got Autism? PETA has answers for you. Well, if you like your medical advice to be lacking scientific validity definitive scientific proof, that is.

You see, back in 2008, while PETA was off busying themselves with compiling violent slaughterhouse videos and purchasing Costco-sized containers of red paint for dousing people in fur, they were also meddling in the field of "championing" for autism awareness. Update: For the life of us, we can't figure out if PETA or its employees have ever thrown paint or red dye or claimed credit for doing so or if it's all an urban myth.

They came up with an ill-fated campaign called "Got Autism" that claimed to show a link between dairy intake and the diagnosis of autism. The campaign, an obvious riff on the old "Got Milk?" campaign, was slapped along with a bowl of frowning Cheerios soaking in a bowl of milk, and heaved onto a billboard in New Jersey for all to see.

It didn't last long, though. The "Got Autism" billboard was only a thing for a short period of time before critics called for its removal. The advertising company hosting the billboard complied and pulled the campaign down, much to the chagrin of the folks at PETA. And there it stayed, buried under the blanket of the controversial campaigns that followed.

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Until now, anyway. It seems that the old "Got Autism" campaign is making the rounds -- and headlines -- yet again. And with the new rounds of reporting on this old campaign come the voices of the critics. Outraged autism advocates have much to say on the subject, stating that PETA cites scientific studies as the basis for these claims, it is the validity of the scientific studies -- and the entire campaign message -- that are suspect.

The evidence that PETA cites as the basis of this message are two small, outdated scientific studies -- one that took place in 2002, the other in 1995 -- neither of which had more than 36 subjects. And neither showed a definitive link between dairy and autism.

Rather, one of the studies observed a "possible improvement" to autism symptoms after some of the children in the study -- which was not double-blind, mind you, so the researchers could identify the two groups -- were put on a diet free of gluten, gliadin and casein. The other study detected no link between dairy products and autism, other than the antibodies to dairy that they found in the blood of children with autism. Hardly solid scientific facts, but it is PETA, after all.

Even if it's not surprising, PETA using autism to further its agenda is troubling and deceptive. Also quite troubling? PETA's euthanasia statistics. Think PETA's No Kill? No way. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requires groups in Virginia, where PETA's headquarters and shelter are located, to submit records for yearly reviews. According to those documents, the numbers of animals that PETA euthanizes are staggering. Let's take a look.

Since 1998, PETA has killed more than 30,000 animals.
It's a common misnomer that PETA considers any killing of animals to be murder. While they do consider killing animals for food or fashion to be murder, they're actually quite fine with the idea of euthanasia. They believe in full animal liberation, which means that having companion animals -- or pets, in layman's terms -- is a form of abuse as well. Animals should be free of human use, whatever the cost. Their focus is not on re-homing animals, but on zero live births instead. Update: PETA says it has never said having companion animals is a form of abuse. On its website it does list abuses which it says can occur in the lives of companion animals (chained dogs, caged birds, declawing cats). It also states:

We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals' best interests if the institution of "pet keeping"--i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as "pets"--never existed.

Read more: http://www.peta.org/about-peta/why-peta/pets/#ixzz33sWbWntd




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13 comments
Anse
Anse

PETA's vision for humanity is absurd. They only tolerate pet ownership out of necessity today. Their vision would deprive me of the loving friendship and loyalty I have toward my Bassets. That connection between man and animal is an ancient one, and I would argue, a natural consequence of evolutionary forces. PETA seems to believe that my hounds' emotional dependence on my companionship is evidence of some kind of exploitation and victimization. That's nuts. I feel very sorry for these crazy people. It's not their conflicted notions about animal rights. it's the horrific decimation of a key aspect of our humanity that lies at the heart of their demented worldview.

Amar87
Amar87

Few are criticizing anti-dairy ads posted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This ad compares soaring autism rates to increased cheese consumption. In 2000, the journal Autism (Vol. 3, 85-95) included a study blaming casomorphin in cow’s milk for playing a role in behavioral disorders such as autism and attention deficit disorder. Scientists found high concentrations of casomorphin in the blood and urine of children with ADD and autism.The August, 2013 issue of Medical Hypotheses included a commentary on autism. Researchers reported that the incidence of autism is rising, and place the blame on:”Autism is caused by feeding of infant formula. Majorities of formula in the world are milk-based…”On June 1, 2014, the journal ‘Peptides’ released a Russian study in which autistic children displayed significantly elevated levels of bovine casomorphin. Scientists wrote:”Elevated concentrations of circulating casomorphins (CM), the exogenous opioid peptides from milk casein, may contribute to the pathogenesis of autism in children…we suggest that chronic exposure to elevated levels of bovine CMs may impair early child development, setting the stage for autistic disorders.”Ten pounds of milk are required to produce one pound of hard cheese. The level of casomorphin becomes concentrated as milk is converted to cheese. During the 1970s, 100 pounds of milk were required to produce the ten pounds of cheese consumed by the average American child. Some children were adversely affected and diagnosed with autism. In 2014, 360 pounds of milk will be concentrated into the 36 pounds of cheese consumed by the average child. The number of kids diagnosed with autism has subsequently soared by a factor of ten since 1970. What PETA claim seems to be correct! 

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol

This is such a misleading article. I share my home with a sweet, adorable cat whom I adopted from PETA. But the vast majority of adoptable animals are never taken through PETA's doors, because PETA refers them to local adoption groups and walk-in animal shelters. PETA is a shelter of last resort--taking in the aged, sick, injured, and dying and offering them a painless release from suffering.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

Ahhhh PETA, like a kid running with a pair of scissors....

stkittchick1
stkittchick1

Autism is such a complex and mysterious condition.  Anyone who can contribute to the discussion - and that includes PETA - should be welcomed.

hmoore123
hmoore123

The main point, I think, is just that dairy products have been linked to many serious health problems, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, and even osteoporosis, so people with autism may benefit if they stop drinking milk.

Milk isn’t a healthy and natural food and it might even contribute to or aggravate autism. PETA is using an attention-grabbing way to remind people that there are healthier options that are more humane to boot. It often takes more provocative tactics to get people to pay attention to important issues like that. It's true that people don't often sit up and take notice to something if it doesn't involve a celebrity or a big controversy.

PETA's methods and policies are all public knowledge. I knew about--and supported--PETA's policy on euthanasia long before I joined. No one can blame PETA or responsible animal shelters for doing society's dirty work and euthanizing animals. If people care about dogs (or cats), they should adopt them from shelters that are kind, responsible, and realistic enough to euthanize animals, and have them spayed or neutered.

Instead of complaining and pointing fingers, look at all the animals PETA helps and think about what you can do to save animals. I drink soy and almond milk and eat plant-based foods and I think that’s a healthy, humane option that everyone can choose..

MooninNorfolk
MooninNorfolk

PETA's ad was obviously intended to garner attention and stimulate discussion. I'd say that mission was accomplished.

LucyP
LucyP

I support PETA for never shrinking away from difficult issues—whether pointing out the connection between dairy products and autism, or taking on the heartbreaking work of providing a peaceful, painless, and dignified release through euthanasia for animals who have nowhere else to go.

Most of the animals PETA takes in aren’t the kind of animals people are seeking out for “pets.” They are dogs who are aggressive and unadoptable because they have been kept chained their entire lives; feral cats with contagious diseases; animals who are wracked with cancer; elderly animals who have no quality of life and whose desperate guardians brought them to PETA because they can’t afford to pay a vet to euthanize them; and the list goes on.

PETA pours its time and money into stopping animal homelessness at its source. Last year alone, they spayed and neutered more than 11,000 dogs and cats at little to no cost to their guardians, preventing countless animals from being born only to end up homeless. They deliver warm, straw-filled doghouses to chained dogs; provide free vet care; educate the public about the need to spay, neuter and adopt through ads and PSAs, and more. For a firsthand look at PETA’s lifesaving work, check out this video: http://investigations.peta.org/petas-rescue-team/.

Anse
Anse

@Amar87 People, including children, of European and African descent have consumed milk and dairy products for thousands--THOUSANDS--of years. And yet all of a sudden, this is supposed to explain an increase in autism diagnoses?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@hmoore123
Your first sentence is bullshit, and its ending clause is so vague as to be ironically true (yes, it's true that they may benefit from stopping dairy, but it's also true that they may benefit from wearing different socks. Technically true, certainly unproven.)

Therefore, the rest of your screed is suspect at best.

Texano78704
Texano78704

@LucyP Thanks, that makes me feel so much better about PETA's 95% euthanasia rate.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

@LucyP


Yeah, thanks for pointing out that connection between milk and autism...Kind of reminds me of John Oliver's global warming debate on HBO a few weeks ago.

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