The list of organizations that stand against the war in Iraq is long. From the Hollywood Elite to the National Organization for Women (NOW), opposition is loud and strong. Dissent from these groups, however, was more or less anticipated; the addition of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to the anti-war ranks was not. “Leave the Animals Out of It,” PETA’s website, referring to our current war in Iraq, implores its members to relay that message to Congress. PETA’s statement on its website decries the Navy’s use of “dolphins and sea lions to intercept terrorists and mines in the Persian Gulf” and further deplores the military’s use of “chickens and pigeons to detect the presence of biological and chemical weapons and dogs to detect weapons and rescue troops.” Because animals “never enlisted” and “know nothing of Iraq or Saddam Hussein,” the group argues, their presence in the military is nonsensical. PETA itself admits that the purpose of the usage of animals is ultimately to save human lives, but feels that it is more important for an animal to have its “freedom” than for the war to be won more easily and with fewer casualties. Is the protection of animal rights worth the cost of human lives? PETA thinks so. And if “human” were replaced for “animal,” my answer too would be “yes.” This is where PETA goes wrong; by equating the rights and lives of animals to those of humans, the organization heaves itself into a mix of controversy and outright absurdity. In February of this year, PETA launched a “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign to draw a connection between the slaughtering of animals for food and the mass murder of more than six million Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Included under the headline “Baby Butchers” were images of children behind the bars of a concentration camp beside a pen filled with pigs. Even appeals from the Anti-Defamation League and the Holocaust Memorial Museum, characterizing the campaign to be “humiliating, disgusting and tasteless,” failed to sway PETA. But it was Bruce Friedrich, a PETA executive, who took matters to another level when speaking at a 2001 animal rights conference. The activist cried, “If we really believe animals have the…right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then of course we’re going to be blowing things up and smashing windows…I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them, exploded tomorrow.” While any sort of harm against animals is unfortunate, Friedrich’s words present PETA as an organization that encourages domestic terrorism, which inevitably results in personal injury and the loss of human lives. At this point, PETA seems to draw an absurd line between the rights of humans and the rights of animals: that humans must protect animal rights at all costs, including that of human hardship. While an organization seeking to monitor the treatment of animals nationwide is borne of an admirable ideal, PETA has gone too far. From pouring red paint over women in fur coats to encouraging underage drinking in its “Got Beer?” college campaign to persuading students not to consume milk, PETA’s extreme and offensive campaigns draw more attention to the irrationalities of its mandate than to the certain elements of the mission that indeed are worthwhile.