PETA wanted to promote a fake video made by an ad agency which served their purposes. It’s a shocking video. But it is misleading. It shows a grey cat being abused by a man who wants the cat to jump from one stool to another. The abuse is horrendous. It looks very real. But the cat is not real. The cat is a CGI creation. This would not have been apparent to most viewers.
The idea was that people would see the video and then shortly thereafter, once the video had gone viral, PETA would have issued another video which explained that the first one was a fake and then explained why it was a fake and was so shocking. Their purpose is to demonstrate to the world that when circuses train big cats to perform tricks they abuse them as illustrated in the fake video. I think that that is a good message to get across. It is just the way that they did it which was wrong and PETA admit it now.
The project went wrong because a PR company working for PETA approached a large website company, Mashable, to promote the video. Instead of promoting it they wrote an article about it and disclosed that it was fake.
This forced the hand of PETA who then had to create a fresh video which is the one you see below. In this one they immediately disclose to the public that the abuse of the grey cat is CGI and not real. I think it works well. And I do not think they needed to go the alternative route and produce a fake video which might have gone viral and upset perhaps millions of people. It would have also tainted PETA.
It is pleasing to note that they admit their mistake. PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk confirmed that their employees were aware of the ad agency’s plan but then realised that the idea was “ill-conceived”. She denied that it was PETA’s intention to trick people.
“There was never any attempt to keep people in the dark that what they had seen was fake. The only issue was timing.”
What she is stating is that, as mentioned, they would have disclosed soon afterwards that the video was fake. However, Mashable, make the point that if the video had gone viral it would have been too late to rectify the situation. The timing would have been impossible. The final version is good.
I personally support PETA. I think they do good work. I don’t agree with everything that they say or promote. But by and large I agree with them and I love their passion for animal welfare. Sometimes you need to push the envelope and take risks in order to force improvements in animal welfare which, regrettably, is always needed.
How would you feel if someone hit and abused your cat to force them to perform unnatural tricks? Big cats are abused and beaten every day in circuses all over the world. (quote from video caption on YouTube)