A Taste of Their Own Strategy
Australian Wool Innovation Chairman Ian McLachlan has launched legal action against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is a radical NGO, according to its website it believes 'that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment'. It is campaigning against the Australian sheep and wool industry for its live sheep export and the practice of mulesing. AWI is seeking an order in the Federal Court restraining PETA from threatening clothing retailers to have them impose a boycott on Australian wool. PETA has apparently 'convinced' US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to boycott Australian wool.
Well Ian, if that doesn't work, here is another suggestion. Organise a counter attack! Boycott the boycotters. In this case, boycott Abercrombie & Fitch. This will not be too difficult, because A&F has already suffered a boycott of its own.
A&F is a boutique clothing company that is part of the 'strong sensitivity and concern for social responsibility and ethical dealings' crowd. A conservative American NGO, American Decency, however, has been campaigning against the use of pornography by A&F to sell its wares. My oh my, that is an ethical dilemma for ethical investors.
A&F's latest catalogue, 'A Little Naughty Can Do a Lot of Nice' features beautiful young preppy men and women in semi nude pose, with body hair removed and enough 'product' in their hair to gum up the waterways. The deal is that if you drop into their store for Christmas you can have your photo taken with, 'one of our great looking, hotter than hot, in-store brand representatives.' A&F will give a matching dollar donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This mixture of sex and conspicuous compassion has earned them some bad reviews.
The much cleaned version of their catalogue follows a campaign by American Decency and others against the 2003 catalogue, which included nude young adult models in highly suggestive poses, as well as advice on sex - apparently intended to boost the brand among university-age customers. For example, Question: 'My friend told me that if you're 500 miles away from your boyfriend and you fool around with someone, its not really cheating. Can I get confirmation on this rule?' A&F: 'If you just saw your boyfriend yesterday, then you're a bad girl. If you haven't seen him in six months, then PLEASE be a bad girl.' After protests, the retailer recalled the catalogue, saying 'it needed the space on the counter for a new perfume'. Is that an ethical lie?
A&F clothes are sold in Australia, perhaps the Family First Senator can identify those stores in Australia that sell this stuff. By the way Senator, 'Ditch Fitch' T-shirts are available at http://www.americandecency.org
If this all seems a bit far-fetched, it serves to illustrate that the game of blackmailing companies can be turned around. If you don't think A&F deserve it, then maybe you share different morals to those offended by their advertising. More important, you will not fail to be offended by PETA. Try these choice abstracts from one of their principals.
PETA's director of 'vegan outreach', Bruce Friedrich, has been quoted complaining about meat being served at the 2004 World Social Forum, '[I]t's like letting the World Bank or the Ku Klux Klan open up a booth here.'
According to Consumer Freedom, Friedrich believes sport hunters should be viewed 'with the same revulsion we presently reserve for Nazi doctors and slave traders.' He wrote, Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber) 'should not be allowed to take even one more life,' urging the terrorist's warden to serve the condemned prisoner only meatless meals. When McVeigh opted for a vegetarian 'last meal,' Friedrich proclaimed that the decision to abstain from meat 'groups him with some of the world's greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein.'
A final excerpt from the A&F catalogue may convince AWI of the strategy. Question: 'How much masturbation is too much masturbation?' A&F: Once a day is fine, three times a day is a little out of control, five times a day is perfect.'
Show the wankers a thing or two Ian, organise a boycott!