Animal-based idioms such as “flogging a dead horse” or “taking the bull by the horns” can be compared with homophobic and racist language, according to animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon,” PETA said on Twitter.
The group also posted a graphic on Twitter showing some possible alternatives to meat-related expressions.
Instead of “kill two birds with one stone,” say “feed two birds with one scone,” and instead of “being the guinea pig,” say “be the test tube,” PETA said.
Alongside the photo, PETA captioned the post with, “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it.”
PETA’s latest tweet comes after a United Kingdom-based academic argued last month that an increased awareness of vegan issues might lead to new modes of expression.
“Metaphors involving meat could gain an increased intensity if the killing of animals for food becomes less socially acceptable,” Shareena Z. Hamzah of Swansea University wrote in the Conversation. “If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and our literature.”
Naturally, PETA’s post attracted lots of attention, and even led to the organization getting dogged by users.
HuffPost reporter Nick Wing addressed the elephant in the room, or actually the gorilla in a tweet that read, “We should also address the 800-pound gorilla in the room who is the perfect weight because we don’t body shame here.”
Another user wrote, “Raising awareness and teaching us new phrases? thats killing two birds with one stone right there.”
One user even poked fun at PETA’s insensitivity to other issues, writing, “bringing HOME the bagels”? could you be more insensitive to the plight of the homeless not to mention those with non celiac gluten intolerance.”
By: Maytinee Kramer