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Sunday, 1 March 2009

image for PETA members demonstrate fully clothed
PETA's modest new image

PETA members demonstrate fully clothed

It has come to the attention of The Spoof that, to the consternation of some people and the relief of others, leading animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are apparently abandoning their hallmark 'naked' campaigns in favour of more conventional methods.

Outside a furriers in Aberdeen, instead of the usual unclad models coyly sheltering behind a large sign announcing their preference for nakedness over animal hair, we saw an assortment of ordinary-looking humans ranging in age from 18 to 75, wearing boots, coats, hats, scarves, and gloves (all from non-animal materials), and holding a large banner that read 'We'd rather put on a nice warm anorak than wear fur' - which, although more sensible than the original motto, seemed somewhat lacking in oomph.

One ex-nude demonstrator, Miss Kirsten Kindheart, declared 'It's too bloody cold here for that naked carry-on, and I was getting fed-up of it, so I'm happy about the new approach. After all, if some pervert gets a thrill out of looking at goosebumps, there's a special website for the purpose, www.desire.com (Demented Exhibitionists Shivering In Rainy Environment), that he can watch in his own home.'

For his part, the besieged furrier expressed mixed feelings about the change, explaining, 'Before, it was making me cold just looking at those girls, but there's no doubt it was good for trade.'

However, the proprietor of a nearby restaurant serving foie gras was unambiguously hostile. According to Mr Harry Heartless, 'When we were picketed by models wearing only red knickers and red high heels, business was booming, but now that we've got these students, housewives, and pensioners, dressed like students, housewives, and pensioners, and handing out boring leaflets, people are crossing the street to avoid us.'

Further disappointment was found at the site of the Queen's Guards, where protest against the use of real bearskin for the guards' ceremonial hats had formerly consisted of female rear ends painted with Union Jacks, advertising their owners' determination to 'bare all for the bears'. An American sociology professor, in Britain to do valuable research into neo-postmodernist countercultural semiotics, said he felt cheated. For having crossed the Atlantic to investigate the many-layered significance of the painted posteriors, he found not a shred of significance lurking within the new crowd of bundled-up demonstrators waving little souvenir flags and holding placards that proclaimed 'We can't bear cruelty to bears'. 'Now that, you have to admit, is beyond feeble', sneered the academic. 'Whatever happened to the special relationship?'

Tourism in Spain may be similarly undermined, since next year's Running of the Bulls in Pamplona will be accompanied not by PETA's customary Running of the Nudes, but by the organization's activists clad head to toe in loose-fitting bull costumes, with tabards saying things like 'Hemingway Sucks' and 'Leave the Poor Animals Alone'. One prospective visitor declared, 'I've been attending this event for years, but no more. My next holiday will be in Texas, where I'm told there's some great canned hunting to be had.'

The highest reaches of political power have been affected by the change. Mr Al Gore nearly wept when, looking out the window after his steak breakfast, he saw a gaggle of PETA supporters of both sexes, wearing clothes and bleating on about vegetarianism and ecology, instead of the pulchritudinous young campaigners, sporting only small heads of lettuce over their primary and secondary sexual characteristics, to whose presence he had become accustomed. 'It's all nonsense, of course,' he argued. 'There's a limit to how much inconvenience one can reasonably be expected to endure for the sake of the cause. But I do miss my lettuce ladies so much!'

If the former Vice-President nearly wept, Mr Lech R. O'Leery of Leith nearly smashed his computer on being unable to locate anywhere at all in cyberspace his favourite erotic video, PETA's 'Vegan Viagra: Venus's Voluptuous Vegetables'. 'Not this too,' he shouted, desperately clicking on link after link in the hope it was hidden away somewhere. 'Has the poison of prudery spread this far?' But all he could find was 'some depressing film about abattoirs and calves being taken away from their mothers, which was a complete turn-off. In fact, I had got the message from the earlier video,' he insisted. 'These days I always have a good helping of curried asparagus along with my cheeseburgers.'

What do rank-and-file PETA members think of the new policy? One woman told us, 'In a way it was a relief when I received my copy of Animal Times with a picture of some animals on the cover, instead of a pin-up girl and a suggestive slogan. Frankly, I was starting to wonder what the postman must be thinking of me, and had even considered asking that the magazine be sent in a plain wrapper. On the other hand, I hope that this development, welcome though it is, doesn't mean that the staff of PETA are ill or anything.'

For it appears that only in equatorial Africa, where the hot climate is conducive to undressing, is PETA's proud tradition of crusading nudity being maintained, as topless, and largely bottomless, young women campaign against the poaching of elephants and gorillas. 'Unfortunately,' lamented one recently returned participant, 'down there nobody seems to take a blind bit of notice.'

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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