PETA Protest (MyUpperWest)
With jobs evaporating and city infrastructure crumbling, many Detroit residents are struggling to afford basic human necessities. It is estimated that over 10 million families in Detroit are struggling to pay for their water bills, and over 100,000 people behind on their bills have had their water cut off by the city.
In response to this crisis, an unlikely group has stepped up to help families in Detroit keep up with their bills. Animal rights group PETA has offered to pay the water bills for ten struggling families. The catch is that the families chosen must pledge to go vegan for a month, meaning that they can not eat anything made with animal products, including meat (obviously), cheese, milk, jello, and even most beers and wines.
According to the group’s website, a recent donation from an undisclosed member has given them the ability to pay for ten families’ water bills, and to provide them with a basket of “vegan foods and recipes.” The basket includes two week’s worth of vegan foods and snacks, including oatmeal, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
PETA claims that by doing this they are not only helping Detroit residents keep running water in their homes, but they are also helping to reduce their risk of “obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes.”
While seemingly well intentioned, the group has come under heavy backlash by commentators on both sides of the aisle. Liberal publications such as Think Progress and Jezebel have criticized PETA’s promotion as “tone deaf” and “elitist,” arguing residents who can’t afford to pay their water bills aren’t likely to be able to afford posh vegan cuisine.
PETA officials claim that there is no system in place to monitor if the families chosen by the group actually stick to their pledged diet; they will be held only by the honor system.
Thankfully, other groups have stepped up to help struggling Detroit families without trying to push a political agenda in return. Turn on Detroit’s Water offers people a chance to donate directly to impoverished Detroit residents without any strings attached.
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