Mean, thoughtless, and tasteless: PETA crosses the line reports on what may well be the single biggest lapse in good judgment ever to come out of the infamous “animal rights” organization PETA: a billboard with an obviously overweight woman in a swimsuit (depicted from behind, neck to small of back) and the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

I can’t believe even PETA would stoop this low. This is flagrantly sexist; I don’t know how CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom) allowed this to go up, or who PETA bribed to get this out there in this medium. That alone costs PETA much of the credibility they might have otherwise had.

PETA assumes plenty of facts about the majority of cases of obesity that have simply not been proven. There are many cases of obesity out there that changes in diet alone will not solve. I, personally, believe exercise plays a far greater role in losing weight than diet. I dismissed the Atkins diet as the fad that it is (was?).

As some evidence of this, people may think it ludicrous that professional sports franchises gave such high allowances for meals on road games–the NFL’s allowances from 2007 were $17, $25, and $43 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively, probably a bit higher in 2009 due to inflation. Few consider the possibility that the activity levels of many professional athletes actually justify $17 for breakfast, etc. Yet that is probably the reason for the meal allowances being as high as they are! (In the particular case of the NFL, weight is actually an advantage for some positions and so players would need to maintain their weight, specifically eating enough to lose as little as possible. I wouldn’t exactly expect baseball, basketball, soccer, or hockey players to eat like birds, however.)

Until there is hard evidence that a vegetarian or vegan diet alone will result in weight loss with no other changes in lifestyle, the responsible thing to do is for PETA to remove their billboard. Of course, this is the same PETA that has no problem with splashing red paint on fur coats just to advance their ridiculous extremist view. So I’m not sure PETA will ever do the responsible thing. I retain my optimism, however.