Most woke folks are already hip to the fact that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer and of course, that communists are sapping and impurifying our precious bodily fluids. But are you clued in to what chicken may be doing to the genitals of your unborn children? PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is betting they can put people off poultry with a new campaign that raises awareness about the hottest new theory in contemporary paranoia: “Eating chicken can make your kid’s dick small,” opens a video the organization posted earlier this month on Twitter.
At the center of PETA’s claims are chemicals called phthalates, often found in plastics, beauty products and other household goods. The organization cites a 2008 study that links ingestion of the stuff to decreased genital size. The debate over how exposure to these chemicals can affect children, and how much exposure is too much, is still ongoing. But while phthalates have been banned from children’s toys, trace amounts still filter down into foods like poultry, leading to PETA’s attention-grabbing pronouncements.
This isn’t even the first time PETA has tried to put baby penises at the center of the animal rights conversation. In 2013, the group tried to have pregnant women banned from a chicken wing eating contest, citing the dangers to their children’s reproductive organs. And while PETA’s been called out for their sensationalistic tactics in the past, this time the social media world came out in force to mock the campaign and reject its aspersions on the less-endowed. “Is Peta ‘penis shaming’ with their latest tweet?” asked the Metro.
Blogger Sean O’Callaghan at Fat Gay Vegan, who helped spread the controversy around the campaign, certainly thinks so:
Responding to the penis-shaming allegations, Mimi Bekhechi, director of PETA, told the Metro that while the group doesn’t believe that “bigger is better,” their “mission is to get the animal rights message out to as many people as possible—including those who want children with big penises.”
Even O’Callaghan, who took issue with the chicken dick rhetoric, doesn’t question the premise of PETA’s underlying campaign, saying that while he disagrees with the execution, the organization’s claim is an “important public service announcement to share.” So as crass as the campaign may be, is there any truth to the poultry-penis connection?
While phthalates are “endocrine disruptors,” chemicals of legitimate concern to children, the study cited by PETA in this case makes no specific mention of poultry whatsoever. And the paper mostly deals with exposure to phthalates through the skin, rather than the food-based connection made by the organization in this case. PETA’s claims are further clouded by the fact that most Americans are likely exposed to these chemicals pretty much every day, whether we like it or not, and it’s not clear whether a chicken dinner is going to make any difference at all.
But inaccuracy and over-the-top claims have never been a problem for PETA, as they believe their sacred mission and message is more important than such pedestrian matters. The group has long adhered to the “any publicity is good publicity” credo, and those who are interested in learning more about the legitimately concerning presence of unwanted chemicals in our food—or even, for that matter, issues related to animal welfare—should know to look elsewhere for serious information and responsible advocacy. PETA may be the “largest animal rights organization in the world,” but until they stop being such…well, dicks, we can feel free to disregard their stunts along with the other fear-mongering paranoia peddlers that plague the world of do-goodery and ethical consumption.