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PETA Urges UK Publisher to Not Objectify Animals In the Latest Book Series

by | July 3, 2019

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to the UK-based publisher- Usborne Publishing, to consider modernizing the language of an award-winning children’s book series. The publisher has been urged to change the pronoun structure so as not to objectify animals. Since animal characters in their book series ‘That’s not my…’ is being referred as ‘it’ instead of ‘he or she.’ Read further to know more about the letter sent to the publishers by PETA Senior Director.

PETA Urges UK Publisher to Not Objectify Animals In the Latest Book Series
By Szilvia Pap – Kutasi/ Shutterstock

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PETA Urges UK Publisher to Not Objectify Animals In the Latest Book Series

In a letter sent to the United Kingdom-based publisher- Usborne Publishing, the animal’s rights charity PETA urges the publisher to reconsider identifying animals to suit the modern outlook. In their children’s book series- “That’s not my…” animals are identified as ‘it’ instead of using personal pronouns like ‘he or she,’ according to PETA in an official statement.

Credit: @TeamUsborne/ Twitter
PETA Urges UK Publisher to Not Objectify Animals In the Latest Book Series

Since animals are living individuals, identifying them using an inanimate pronoun, subtly objectifies them. “PETA is encouraging this leader in children’s literature to do right by animals and young readers by using language that shows respect for every living, feeling being,” Senior Director Marta Holmberg writes in the letter to the publishing house, urging on behalf of PETA, PETA UK, and the 8.5 million supporters. She says, “words matter” and objectifying animals only kindles to “widen the perceived but nonexistent gulf between us and them.”

In the Letter

“I’m writing both as a mother and on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and PETA UK and our more than 8.5 million members and supporters combined worldwide,” the letter reads, where the PETA Senior Director starts by humbly applauding and acknowledging the success of the award-winning book for children by Fiona Watt.

Holmberg writes in the letter, urging the editors to update the series and refer the animal characters in the books by using personal pronouns like ‘he or she’ instead of ‘it’ so that the interest of children, turn into empathy. “As you know, words matter,” she writes, elaborating the consequences of the wrong choice of words that can send a ‘mixed message’ to even the youngest reader, about the human-animal relationship and the importance of empathy.

She stated how the current series identifies the animal character like hamster, frog, and lamb as ‘it’ in the same way like identifying tractors and car. This, in the hindsight, hints that animals are inanimate objects and not feeling, living individuals. PETA has urged to change the pronoun structure so as to not objectify animals.

Marta exemplifies herself, as to how she reads the copy of “That’s Not My Elephant” to her daughter, who loves to explore the pages. She replaces the inanimate pronoun with personal ones, as she wants her daughter to grow up knowing the value of animals and not them as objects. She says, like her, there are many parents who feel the same way.

“Because you’re a leader in children’s literature, we urge you and your staff to begin referring to animals as animate beings—” he” and “she”—in all future publications,” the letter reads.

I wish Usborne Publishing realizes the need to invoke the compassionate attitude for animals, and that it has to start from an as tender age as possible. What do you think about the objectification of animals? Comment below.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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