PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an American animal rights organization that strongly believes that animals are not ours to eat, wear, or experiment on (“What PETA Stands For”). Their goals are to promote vegan diets and to end animal cruelty. They believe animals are compassionate just like you and that people should give them a voice and be their heroes by learning about these issues and taking action. Their website has a combination of many articles, photos, and videos that reach out to the audience with rhetorical appeals such as logos, ethos, and pathos. PETA’s audience includes everyday people around the world; they target a global audience. All the rhetorical appeals are important to reach out to different audiences and to sell the ideas to consumers. This organization uses mostly the rhetorical appeal of pathos to connect with their audience emotionally and to persuade them to support their efforts in illuminating the abuse of animals in every way.
We can find rhetoric without even realizing it. PETA’s article “Animals Used for Food” describes the different issues that tie along with animal cruelty. The issues presented in this article are trying to get the message across to not use animals for food. It has different passages that display ethos, pathos, and logos that help advertise PETA ‘s message. The beginning of the article immediately starts talking about the meat industry’s “rampant abuse of animals.” Pathos plays a strong role by using descriptive, gruesome vocabulary to describe the torture that these animals go through. This article will make readers think twice about their meat-eating lifestyle. It also states that more and more people are ending their meat-eating habits and embracing a new vegan diet. This statement shows a bit of logos because the stance is trying to appeal to the audience and is making the reader question if their meat-eating habits are really doing terrible damage. It’s logical for people to question their motives if someone says they are bad. If more and more people are turning vegan, then shouldn’t I?
A section in the article says that farm animals are just as intelligent and vulnerable to pain as dogs and cats, the true human companions. It’s basically saying that a person would never eat a dog or cat, so why eat a farm animal? Logos and pathos are both displayed in this statement. It uses logic and sensitivity to let the reader think about dogs and cats being beaten and eaten. It would just seem unethical for dogs and cats to be eaten because these animals are a part of our everyday lives. Logos is presented again with the statistic that 16 billion animals are killed for food and have very little legal protection from cruelty, and that it would be illegal if we turned the tables and starting talking about dogs or cats. Dramatic language describes how these farm animals are being abused and what happens to them during the process of being slaughtered. This section of the article contains a lot of pathos within it. They want to make the reader feel sympathy toward these animals and agree with the fact that eating meat is wrong. They also state that they want the audience to go vegan because it is “the best way to stop atrocities” (“Animals used for Food”).
PETA feels strongly about the issues pertaining to eating meat. The article states that giving up meat is the best way to have a lifetime of good health. It goes into detail stating that vegan foods provide nutrients, and subtract saturated fat and cholesterol. Logos is selling this section of the article to the audience by using concrete examples on how to promote healthy lifestyles. What person wouldn’t want to be protected from cancer and live ten years longer than meat eaters do?
“America’s meat addiction poisons our drinking water and clean air” (“Animals Used for Food”). This statement presents logos and ethos because people assume PETA is a reliable source and will believe what they have to say. They continue to use pathos in the article when going into the issue of world hunger. The audience does not want to be the person who “steals food from hungry people” (“Animals used for food”). It states if we stopped breeding farm animals and grew crops to feed humans instead, then we would be able to feed every person on the planet with “affordable” vegetarian foods. This article sells the audience their ideas and beliefs by using ethos, pathos, and logos.
Articles are not the only documents that contain these rhetorical appeals. Logos, ethos, and pathos can also be found in photos and videos as well. PETA is notorious for their graphic photos of animals being neglected, abused, and killed. A photo revealing a neglected dog living in a cold, hard doghouse in horrible conditions is one of the many pictures PETA has on their website. This dog is surrounded by dirt and mud puddles, with no free space to run or even walk in. The house looks dirty and ruined by the weather conditions. A chain links this poor animal to the doghouse, so he has no freedom whatsoever. The dog looks sad and hopeless while the bones on its body show through the skin. The dog is placed in the dead center, making sure that viewers’ eyes go straight to the animal. His back is hunched over a dirty bowl which is probably empty. This would be a sign of pathos because people see this and feel bad for the dog.
Pathos is all about feeling emotion and relating that emotion to the audience and this photo reaches out to the audience in an emotional way. Many objects can speak for themselves, and this chain has a lot to say. The photo expresses logos by using the chain to represent imprisonment and neglect. It is logical to think that most animals that are chained up to a beaten down house are imprisoned and neglected. Pathos is primarily used to show people that animals all across the world are tied up and neglected. People will see this image and feel the pain and sadness that this dog is experiencing on a daily basis. Most people do not enjoy seeing disturbing images of animals being neglected such as this one. Using pathos to sell a message or idea could be very effective. It’s easy to say that most people that wear their heart on their sleeve will be most affected by the rhetorical appeal of pathos.
PET A also has some eye opening videos that appeal to the audience using logos, ethos, and pathos. PET A continuously shows these videos to help promote their ideas to the world. They want audiences to see what they see in terms of animals being abused, neglected and mistreated. The titles for their videos are very clear and straight forward, so the images in the video can speak for themselves. The video called “Why I Don’t Eat Chicken” is briefly fifty-two seconds long. The video is very well played out. In the beginning, a happy trumpet melody is playing. The screen starts flashing as the song starts to distort and both the image and the sound change tone completely. It’s as if you are watching a scary movie where the killer is disposing of all the dead bodies. It shows dead chickens all hung by their feet, getting dragged in a line. It zooms in on the cuts and open wounds, where some of the chickens are still sadly moving. The video consists of fast scenes changing and showing different images of the chickens being beaten and slaughtered. They are very gruesome and disturbing to where most people would keep this image in their minds for a long time. They used rhetorical appeals such as pathos by hitting the audience with the sensitivity that comes along with seeing harmless animals being beaten and killed. It is sad to see people actually kill the chickens, and most people would feel remorse and sadness while watching this video. Most might even feel disgust. The video is real and is showing real footage of the process of getting chicken ready to sell. Good advertisers use these rhetorical appeals to reach out to many different kinds of people.
Promoters try to send messages through articles, images, and words using the rhetorical appeals of pathos, logos, and ethos. Most of the time logos, ethos, and pathos can be found together but sometimes advertisers specify on one to reach out to a specific audience. PETA for example primarily uses pathos to get their messages across; however, pathos and logos can be found as well. They want to hit the audience with emotion and gain sympathy from them. We go about our day from what we read, see, and feel and we are moved by these rhetorical appeals. It is safe to say that everywhere we go logos, ethos, and pathos influence our lives significantly.
“Animals Used for Food.” PETA.org. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012
Neglected Animals With No Escape. Photograph. PETA. Peta.org, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.
Why I Don ‘t Eat Chicken. PETA. Peta.org, 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2012