It's open season on Mexican-Americans, whether you're a bigot running for president, or an "animal rights" organization fighting for its right to kill pets.
It's rare that Trump and PETA are mentioned in the same breath, but get used to it. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal, as you may or may not know, is currently being sued for stealing and killing Maya, a little girl's pet Chihuahua: not an especially unusual act for PETA, but one that was -- uniquely -- captured on surveillance video.
Despite PETA's numerous animal-positive arguments -- that the family ought not to be able to sue, because dogs are "worthless" (I kid you not); and that a reasonable person would not consider the theft and killing of a pet "outrageous" (er, really?) -- the judge has permitted the case to go to trial.
So what does this have to do with Donald Trump? Nothing much, except that PETA's latest virtuous strategy is to have their lawyers attack the girl's father as not-quite-American, and possibly even Mexican -- God forbid! This is a page straight out of the Trump playbook, of course: Divert attention from crucial issues by scapegoating a prominent minority, preferably Hispanic.
The court documents have been analyzed by Heather Harper-Troje, a former PETA worker who quit in disgust when PETA's president allegedly insisted that her staff kill healthy dogs and hide the evidence. She wrote:
Time and time again Wilbur Zarate, the father of Cynthia, the little girl whose dog PETA stole and killed, was asked about his citizenship status, the citizenship status of his family members, the status of his green card by PETA's attorney during his deposition. He even went so far as to ask if Cynthia was born in the US or in Mexico. Because Mr. Zarate's citizenship status is relevant to the fact that PETA stole and killed his little girl's dog how?
Ms. Harper-Troje has for years stood up to this vicious organization, despite a protracted smear campaign by PETA and its unofficial apologists. She has been targeted in particular by one ardent human, Mary Tully, who isn't on the PETA payroll, but has an entire vast website devoted to justifying PETA's decades of killing. (To be fair, this takes a lot of justifying: we're talking tens of thousands of dead cats and dogs.) Read it... if you can. It's comically dull -- mind-numbing details designed to divert attention from the relevant and indisputable fact: PETA (according to its own documents submitted to the Virginia state government) poisons almost every animal unfortunate enough to be referred to its "shelter of last resort."
Diversion is the strategy of the day. PETA apparently hopes to convince the court that this family -- if indeed they are undocumented immigrants -- deserve to have their pet dog lured from their porch and summarily put to death.
For a long time, this privileged, overwhelmingly white organization has bullied its neighbors, many of whom are not white and not especially well off. Members of the community worry (for good reason) that PETA will go after their pets. Some of them, to be sure, are not documented Americans and are not likely to report the organization to the police. We know, for instance, that PETA killed more animals that day than Cynthia's Chihuahua, but the trailer park in which they rounded them up had a number of residents whose status was questionable. Certainly, the community turned out in force to protest the killing of Maya and to push for legislation curbing PETA's ability to kill animals.
PETA has a lot to lose in this trial: $9.7 million, to be precise. It will be difficult to justify this to well-meaning donors, should the case not go their way. And so Ingrid Newkirk -- who was not born in America, interestingly enough -- has decided to borrow the ugliest tactic from the Trump playbook: When the game get rough, throw down that potent Mexican-American card.
It will be reassuring if this parallel strategy issues parallel results. May this election humiliate Donald Trump, and this lawsuit annihilate PETA.