In preparation for the new .xxx Internet domain that will launch later this year, businesses are rushing to preregister their websites to prevent cybersquatters from creating X-rated rip-offs of their brands. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is also signing up, but we're not blocking our name. Instead, we're launching a graphic, "not safe for work" (NSFW) website that will open people's eyes to what truly dirty things are being done--not in someone's fantasy, but in reality--to animals exploited in the meat, fur and circus trades.
A PETA triple-X site? It's a provocative idea--and that's the point.
We at PETA have gained a reputation for bold actions because we are willing to go where few organizations dare, as long as we can make people aware of issues affecting animals.
Sometimes that has meant lying nearly nude inside Styrofoam containers labeled as "meat" or wearing little more than bodypaint to protest the cruelty of the fishing industry. And it has meant arranging photography sessions with compassionate adult-film industry greats, including Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson, who have appeared in our ads promoting spaying and neutering companion animals--reminding the public that "Too Much Sex Can Be a Bad Thing"--and urging viewers to "Pleather Yourself" (instead of wearing real animal skins).
Still, some people were shocked to learn of our plans to register the PETA.xxx website. But they shouldn't be. While people bothered by online erotica resort to heated discussions, a great many others enjoy taking a peek at what's getting everyone so hot and bothered in the first place, judging from the massive popularity of X-rated sites. And it's as important for PETA to reach people who visit triple-X sites as it is for us to interact with sports buffs or music fans so that we can show everyone why stopping the truly obscene abuse of animals is worth bothering about.
Yes, PETA.xxx will feature uncensored graphic material. This is no mere tease. Those who like to watch may find anything from exotic skin flicks to shocking hidden-camera video footage that reveals what really goes on behind closed doors. "Naughty" is too mild a word to describe it. Visitors to the site can expect more than just cheesecake or beefcake (while picking up facts about why beef and cheese are bad not only for your heart and waistline but also for your love life).
We firmly believe that no one will feel cheated but that anyone visiting PETA.xxx for cheap thrills will come away better for it.
While it would be nice to just hold a news conference in our office attire and have animal-related issues widely covered, in a world of nonstop multiplatform media, it is often our racier actions that get people to pay attention to the plight of animals. And getting the word out can mean the difference between life and death.
So we hope that people who gravitate toward NSFW sites will give PETA.xxx a peep, while those who might find it objectionable are invited, as always, to visit our main website, PETA.org. Whether titillated, offended or somewhere in between, we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to create a kinder world for animals.
Lindsay Rajt is the associate director of campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.