PETA’s new phrases: how they miss the mark

Beating a dead horse: how PETA’s five new phrases miss the mark

Not sure if PETA has bothered to check the internet lately, but the world’s already gone a bit mad for animals.

Dogs aren’t dogs anymore – they’re floofs, puppers, doggos, heckin’ good boys. There’s a whole web language dedicated to them.

Cats have hurtled beyond internet stardom to the point NASA will probably be taking a cat videogram on the first Mars settlement.

This is a thing. Picture: Google search screengrab

This is a thing. Picture: Google search screengrab

There are millions of views on videos of pocket-sized piglets, hilarious horses and cutesy calves ratbagging around in their paddocks and pens.

Newsflash: the world loves our feathered and furry friends. 

Which is why it’s hard to fathom how PETA has worked itself up into such a tizz that it’s issued a desperate edict to the world over a handful of everyday sayings. And equated them to racist, homophobic, or ableist language.

And that comes in the week a moratorium on shipments to the Middle East in the northern hemisphere summer was announced – surely something that animal groups worldwide would see as a huge win for their cause any day of the week.

So – naturally – the internet has responded to the order to “remove speciesism from your daily conversations.” (Yes, apparently that’s a thing now.)

Let’s look a little deeper, shall we? Here’s what PETA says we need to stop saying – and the organisation’s handy, friendly alternatives.

OUT: Kill two birds with one stone. 

IN: Feed two birds with one scone.

Haven’t you heard? Flour’s the devil, you’ll kill them anyway. By feeding two birds with one scone, you’ll have either overdosed them on Satan’s snow or attracted even more birds to what they think is a treat but is really a death sentence. You’re more likely to miss with the stone.

OUT: Be the guinea pig. 

IN: Be the test tube.

No one’s going to be picking up a guinea pig from the pet shop – an act which is surprisingly still legal, given the stance some organisations take on human interaction with animals – and taking it home to conduct experiments on.

But sure, this one makes sense.

OUT: Bring home the bacon.

A bagel with bacon on it. Not PETA-approved. Picture: Simon Schluter

A bagel with bacon on it. Not PETA-approved. Picture: Simon Schluter

IN: Bring home the bagels.

Look, I’m pretty sure you can’t get away with dropping your weekly paycheck on cured pork as a celebration of your success. I mean, you could try it, but it’s going to make it hard to live the rest of your life responsibly and *hello* heart disease. Everything in moderation.

OK, bring home the bagels. But don't you dare add a damn thing to it because in one way or another you'll have either tortured an animal or deprived it of its nourishing greens in the process. Cream cheese? Came from a cow that’s forced to walk in to be milked twice a day. Butter? Yellow milk, no no no. Salmon? Straight out of the water, and the farmed stuff is even more unethical. Egg? Fell out of a chicken, probably in a cage, never seen daylight or breathed air. Pastrami? Cow, but worse - likely a feedlot, not a chance it’s organic. Bacon? Stalled pig, every time. Leafy greens? Should’ve been kept to feed the animals. Enjoy your boiled bread.

OUT: Beat a dead horse.

IN: Feed a fed horse.

Go for it. Feed that fed horse. Then it’ll get colic or laminitis or develop endotoxemia and THEN you’ll have to resort to beating a dead horse anyway because it’s keeled over and there won’t be a fed horse left to (over)feed.

OUT: Take the bull by the horns.

IN: Take the flower by the thorns.

So now we take one phrase for dealing decisively with a difficult or dangerous situation and swapping it out for one that will most certainly end up with a hand full of holes and just a bit of pain, maybe poison to go with it. Smart.

And by the way, PETA, you missed a few. 

Cry over spilled milk. Curiosity killed the cat. Open a can of worms. All bark and no bite. An elephant never forgets. As busy as a bee. Bull in a china shop. Birds of a feather flock together. Cold turkey. Crocodile tears. Cry wolf. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Dropping like flies. Elephant in the room. Fish out of water. Give a man a fish. Happy as a clam. Hold your horses. Smelling a rat. Let the cat out of the bag. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Playing possum. Raining cats and dogs. Scaredy cat. Sitting duck. The straw that broke the camel's back. Ugly duckling. Wild goose chase. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Looking forward to your alternatives.


Stay on topic, PETA. You could actually do good things, but stunts like this aren’t doing your brand any good. Kill two birds with one stone and try treating humans like they have half the brain and emotions animals do and you might just get somewhere.

Otherwise you’re just beating a dead horse.