PETA’s New Ad Mocking Fat Women as ‘Whales’ Causes Anger

August 17, 2009

(ChattahBox)—PETA, the organization for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is once again mired in controversy for one of its provocative ads. This time however, the organization known for rabid activists hurling red paint on people’s animal-fur coats, may have gone too far, angering millions of overweight women.

The new billboard ad appears in Jacksonville, Florida and features an image of an overweight women dressed in a red and white polka dot bikini with unsightly bulging hips and back fat.

The ad’s messages says, “Save The Whales, Lose The Blubber: Go Vegetarian.” Since the billboard ad campaign was launched, it has drawn criticism from feminists that it’s sexist and shames overweight people.

Along with the ad, PETA released a sanctimonious statement, which only served to fan the flames of anger. PETA claims they are trying to help obese women lose their “…thunder thighs and balloon belly,” by shocking them into eating a vegetarian diet.

The Press Release states:

“A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. [….]

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. […]”

Ashley Byrne, a senior campaigner for PETA added her own unsympathetic comments towards overweight women saying, “Our goal is help overweight Jacksonville residents – the best way to do that is to go vegetarian. We’re not trying to insult anyone. [….] Vegetarians look and feel better than meat eaters. This is a life-saving message.”

Byrne claims the ad is “designed to help people.” Somehow, I think most overweight women are appalled by the ad’s mean spiritedness and would have a few choice words for Miss Ashley Byrne, as they dig into a non-vegetarian burger.



22 Responses to “PETA’s New Ad Mocking Fat Women as ‘Whales’ Causes Anger”

  1. Aquil on August 17th, 2009 9:22 pm


  2. Veronica MacDonald on August 17th, 2009 11:29 pm

    Hey there,
    I just seen a quick comment on the news about Peta striking against Obese Women. Therefore I googled the ad right away to see what exactly was going on. That’s when I fell upon this site for the needed answer.
    I have been involved with online since over 4 years now. I have actually been a Vegetarian since January 2005. I love being Vegetarian. When I first started off I was Vegan for 6 months and I lost alot of weight. After those 6 months I decided to become just a strict Vegetarian. I must say that I am very upset with this ad. I am not a super small girl, I am actually still over weight even though I have been a Vegetarian since 4.5 years. It actually broke my heart to see this ad and I will be contacting Peta to let them know how this made me feel as a long time member of their organization.

  3. davbe on August 18th, 2009 12:19 am

    PETA sexist? Gosh, no?

  4. Marge on August 18th, 2009 8:08 am

    Sometimes it takes such a strong message to help people understand. I have been vegetarian for 30 years. It is the best decision I ever made for my health and wellbeing. The bill board draws attention and that is what it is meant to do. Often PETA is very stong with their ways of getting their point across, but I think such a strong message is necessary.

  5. BeaJay on August 18th, 2009 9:44 am

    I have been struggling with my weight for years. Six months ago, I decided to add more vegetarian meals to my diet. I feel 100% better & have lost some weight.

    I found PETA’s website while googling for recipe ideas. The videos of the slaughter houses are so heart wrenching to watch. But I did watch the videos and as a result I have adopted a vegan life style. It’s almost as if I finally woke up & asked myself “What am I doing to these poor animals???” My main reason to adopt this life style is a concern for the animals and not losing weight. The weight loss is a secondary issue, but is a great benefit.

    Being a vegan or vegetarian is a life style and not just a way of eating to lose a few pounds. It’s not a simple matter of taking obese women (or men) and asking them to adapt to a new eating plan. In fact, over the years I failed miserably on strict diet plans. The plans were too restrictive and almost impossible to stick to for any length of time. PETA will have to admit that a vegan life style isn’t easy in the beginning. That’s why I believe a vegan or vegetarian is a life style and not just a means of just losing weight.

    The billboard is very hurtful to overweight people. It’s not funny nor will it inspire people to lose weight. Take my word for it, having a huge sign poking fun at overweight women will not help PETA’s image . At my heaviest, I was the target of hurtful comments about my weight. It didn’t inspire me to lose weight.

    I doubt PETA’s intent is to be hurtful to a large segment of the population. The decision makers probably thought this ad would be funny. But it’s not.

  6. Frange on August 18th, 2009 10:25 am

    Right of the bat, I know allot of fat vegitarians. Infact it is not the protiens that may you fat and slugguish. Its is the complex carbs and surgars. If memory serves me right(which it does b/c i have a diet rich in protiens which contribute to brain health and memory) donuts, cake, pie, chips, fries. mash potato’s and soda are not made from animals.

    The trick is a balenced diet, fish pork beef lamb chicken with a good sorce of veggies. also hit the gym and stay away from anything from a deep fryer.

    Shame on you peta.

  7. naomi on August 18th, 2009 11:14 am

    This ad is ridiculous and offensive to women. I am not a vegetarian and I am not overweight, my niece is vegan and has been for more than 5 years and is obese. It appears that Peta is on the bandwagon to sell women their cause by making them self conscious about themselves.

  8. Lean Coco on August 18th, 2009 11:32 am

    I am shocked and saddened that PETA would have a campaign that actually makes fun of overwieght women. First of all, a vegetarian diet will not make you “slim.” There are some health benefits to the vegan way, however the best way to lose weight is to exercise and eat smaller portions. Yes, I am a vegetarian-howver I am lucky enough to have genetics on my side and have never been overwieght. (I am lucky) This is not from a vegetarian diet-again (for me) it is from exercise and portion control. How sad that PETA would insinuate that a vegetarian diet would make overwieght women thin.

    This is a terrible campaign and I will not support PETA anymore until this is stopped! Shame on you PETA!

  9. PETA’s New Ad Mocking Fat Women as ‘Whales’ Causes Anger on August 18th, 2009 12:06 pm

    […] of an overweight women dressed in a red and white polka dot bikini with unsightly bulging hips an click for more var _wh = ((document.location.protocol==’https:’) ? “” : […]

  10. Kathleen on August 18th, 2009 12:09 pm

    There is an ongoing argument over whether the saying “All things in moderation” was said by the Greek Euripedes or England’s Chauser but who ever said it is right on the mark. You don’t need to be an either or person when it comes to food to keep your weight down. PETA can get all self righteous if they want about how animals are treated on the way to our tables but have they considered the pesticides that farm workers put up with in the fields as they pick all that greanery that ends up on theirs?
    I grew up thin, but after having a couple of kids and a scare from cancer (that I ate my way through) I gained a mess of weigh and ended up at 213 by the time I was 41. It didn’t take an insulting PETA bill board, my doctor or my family to finally get me to lose weight. It was stepping on the scale one day and asking myself why I was letting myself go. And lets face we do do it to ourselves. there is after all no tractor beam sucking us all off the highays to the fast food windows. I hate gyms so I started biking and eating less of EVERYTHING, its just that simple. So now I may not weigh the 140 I weighed in HS, but so what? At 52 I don’t need to. I carry 175 lbs on a 5’10” frame and feel pretty good about myself. Bottom line is, not matter what you eat, veggies or meat you must get moving. Send THAT message PETA and I’ll listen.

  11. Old Man Dotes on August 18th, 2009 12:55 pm

    Let me put it this way: PETA are terrorists. The sooner all terrorists are dead or in prison, the better.

  12. Digital Media Moms » Has PETA Gone too far? How Social Media can turn 1 Ad Message into a Negative Media Storm on August 18th, 2009 2:06 pm

    […] To read the full story about the PETA billboard and their response click here. […]

  13. heather on August 18th, 2009 5:52 pm

    PETA can kiss my fat bulging whale…. yep you heard me right. you want people to lose weight yet you mock them and degrade them? i won’t think twice while enjoy a big juicy steak tonight.

  14. Crystal Barnes on August 18th, 2009 8:38 pm

    Peta believes in getting their point across no matter who they harm. I was not surprised in the least by the tasteless ignorant ad. When are they going to learn, you can not make people do what you want them to do, rather than what the person feels and believes is the right thing to do?

    I do have an idea, Peta should tackle childrens issues and maybe their terrorist ways will help a child who requires assistance.

  15. Caz on August 19th, 2009 8:42 pm

    I’ve found that most vegetarians are 90% more irritating than ex-smokers that get in your face every time you light up. The one vegan I almost started dating years ago ended up being the most plastic, fake and two-faced moron. He’d probably like this campaign, because he more or less preached it to me when it came to my weight. It was a disgusting example of pomposity and false “I love everyone” mentality.

    Anyone backing this ad up on their principles of vegetarianism/animal rights needs a wake-up call. You don’t have the right to go after other people–especially people you don’t know–and say, “You are wrong and ugly, because you don’t do as I do.” I think most veggies should stop what they’re doing and admit that they began a veggie-life because it made them feel superior to others, and criminy, doesn’t it feel good?

    Promote your cause. Educate people. I’m down with that. Throwing THIS crap out onto a billboard? It’s not going to do you any damned good. I’m just about ready to flip of the screen and make a big, juicy free-range beef steak.

  16. CMM on August 20th, 2009 1:12 am

    Now I really know that PETA has lost their complete sense. I really thought it was lost with the “don’t kill the fly” rally they did but now – I realize that I haven’t met very many happy PETA people, may be if they actually loved all beings (human and animal) they would be a better people. I agree with the previous comments only to include the activist type breastfeeding women….some of the most mean spirited people I have ever met in my entire life AND all with the pretense of doing something good. If you can’t do something good without being angry at people who don’t agree with you….are you really happy??

  17. Gen on August 21st, 2009 2:02 am

    I was a vegetarian for 4 years in junior high/high school…. I did that as a choice on my own…. mainly just because my dad is a big meat eater…. and I was just getting sick of the taste of meat…. I actually GAINED weight as a vegetarian and end up feeling WORSE because there were certain nutrients that I was unaware I was lacking. I became anemic for a long time… which I didn’t think could happen because I was eating a lot of dark, leafy green veggies which contain a lot of iron… but my doctors said that I was still having iron deficiencies. How I gained weight while I was a vegetarian and playing tennis and riding my bicycle EVERYWHERE when I was a teenager, I’m not sure of the answer to…. but I know that for me…. being vegetarian royally SCREWED my immune system and my overall well being. I ended up being overweight AND malnourished.

    Maybe for some people its a great LIFE CHANGING decision… for me, it ended up being otherwise. I thought at first maybe it was just because I wasn’t used to this “NEW” way of eating… but in 4 years that should have gone away.

    Fact of the matter is… PETA is just another extremist group. I’m totally for the ethical treatment of animals. I LOVE and respect them…. when I see someone who has a yard on a major road, with no fence, and small animals…. I feel everyday that if I see one of their dogs on the side of the road, dead, that I should make them run out into the road not knowing when something much larger and faster than them is going to take them out…. but the fact is, that I don’t actually do it.

    The ASPCA is a GREAT group. They actually do more than just stand around with signs bitching all day at people…. the ASPCA actually gets out there and PROSECUTES animal abusers, then they take those animals to their no-kill shelters and they nurture them back to health and they find homes for as many as they can. They are a DECENT, RESPECTABLE non-extremist group.

    I do NOT condone hunting for sport…. or really hunting for any matter… but there are people out there that actually make their livings as farmers…. in places where farming is the only thing they CAN do….. so to force the entire world to be vegetarian… first of all will NEVER work, and second of all… will cause a lot of families to not be able to provide for their families. Not everyone has the privilege of working in a big city where they can have an office job…. or even an oh-so-lucrative (sarcasm) career in retail… its just NOT always an option.


  18. PETA: Ethical Treatment of People? « Backseat Writer on August 21st, 2009 9:42 am

    […] “Vegetarians look and feel better than meat eaters. This is a life-saving message.” (Source:  According to the organization, vegetarians are, on average, 10-20 pounds lighter than their […]

  19. Vic for PETA - WTF?! on August 24th, 2009 12:48 pm

    […] This is a life-saving message.

  20. Hating Peta on August 24th, 2009 10:27 pm

    Oh that did it for me, at 50 I am going to stop eating meat and lose weight so I can wear that bikini because PETA called me a whale. Thanks PETA. I’m wondering when you shifted your focus from saving animals to fighting obesity in the US.

    Putting down my fork with medium rare prime rib now. You believe me don’t you?

  21. MICHAEL BETINS on August 26th, 2009 11:53 am


  22. Kim on January 26th, 2011 9:15 am

    Fat people ought to be ashamed. They’re lazy and self-indulgent. Good for PETA.

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