Final Word

By Jeff Girod

Posted May 3, 2012 in News
Save the whales! Harpoon a Barbie!

PETA—which, is not just delicious flat bread—has come out in protest of Mattel’s new Whale Trainer Barbie. The animal rights group describes the toy as “barbaric.” Whale Trainer Barbie, which features a SeaWorld tie-in, is sold in a pink and purple wet suit, and accessorized with a toy Shamu whale, dolphin, baby seal and a tiny pool that can be filled with water.

“Barbie”-aric indeed. Do you have any idea how impossible it is to clean whale poop out of a pool filter?

On its website, PETA republished portions of a letter it sent to Mattel: “Children were traumatized when they witnessed [orca] Tilikum pull trainer Dawn Brancheau underwater and kill her by thrashing her into the walls of the tank, separating her scalp and pulling her arm out of its socket . . . Orcas in captivity are held prisoner in tiny concrete tanks, deprived of all that is natural to them. They suffer from extreme physical and psychological distress and what has been described as rage and frustration over their unnatural confinement and loss of family and all freedom.”

Nice work, PETA! Who needs a two-ton whale when you can submerge everyone in your murky, oxygen-free logic, sucking all the innocence and joy out of children’s toys?

And I’m sure the family of deceased animal trainer Dawn Brancheau appreciates having her life’s work and tragic death dredged up and twisted to somehow justify your case against an eight-inch plastic doll.

PETA goes on to write, “If you continue this partnership with SeaWorld, the doll should be made more realistic: It should have detachable limbs and be black and blue.”

Zing, PETA! I can’t wait for your hard-hitting exposé on the link between 9-11, Mr. Potato Head and Connect Four.

It seems that PETA will denigrate almost anything that gets in its way as long as its not covered in fur, capable of having eight babies at once or cleaning its entire body with its tongue. (Yes, I realize I just described half the population of Rubidoux.)

Also, the orca in question at SeaWorld is better known to most as a “killer whale.” It’s the reason why Sea World put Tilikum in a water tank to begin with—to keep everyone else safe. And it’s the same reason the San Diego Zoo doesn’t let Bengal tigers run their soft serve machines.

Emotionally, I’m torn here, because I love animals and I hate animal abuse. But I would love to line up every member of PETA, slather them in Hamburger Helper and unleash a pack of wild raccoons. Then watch how conflicted PETA members were about loving animals as they were gnawed and boxed to the ground by 4-foot masked varmints with opposable thumbs.

PETA is a group of extremists and, aside from Taco Bell’s dollar menu, nothing good ever comes from being “extreme.” Conservatives, liberals, Christians, Trekkies . . . they scream the loudest, they dress the weirdest, and when reasonable, responsible solutions are required, extremists roll around on the ground and beat their hemp sandals on the ground like spoiled, rotten infants.

Extremists make outlandish, incongruent assertions. For example, on PETA’s own website, a commenter named Kerry Ford writes, “Now you intend to add to the appalling objectification of women by associating Barbie with animal cruelty and thereby making it seem desirable. Why not go the whole hog and make a Gestapo Barbie as it appears you have no moral compass to speak of.”

That’s exactly the kind of argument I would expect from a PETA extremist. It’s so slipshod and impatient. You don’t agree with something somebody else does? By all means, immediately compare it to Nazis and the systematic annihilation of 6 million Jews. Why, that’s exactly like an action figure that drives around Toyland in a pink convertible Dream’vette.

PETA may do some good somewhere, but nobody cares. Or worse, people like me grow to despise PETA.

Better PETA said nothing, or showed as much respect for human life as it does for things with flippers. Whale Trainer Barbie would drift out of our collective consciousness and into some Dollar Tree bargain bin.

But then PETA would protest that bargain bins are “barbaric” to dust mites.

Contact Jeff Girod at


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