Document Type



How different are humans from animals? The animal rights movement has been tackling this question and more on its quest to establish basic human rights for animals. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one of the most recognizable organizations within the animal rights movement due to their attention grabbing antics and controversial advertisements. Through visual rhetoric PETA attempts to answer the question of human and animal division. In both PETA’s PSA and print advertisements they attempt to create shared physical and mental substance between humans and animals. In creating a shared identity PETA could establish a foundation for equal treatment between the species. The ways in which PETA attempts to construct equal moral and physical substance between humans and animals is flawed. While PETA is successful in creating visual rhetoric that appeals to the audience’s cognitive reasoning and emotions they are not successful in catalyzing actual behavior change. Through the analysis of PETA’s visual rhetoric it becomes clear that their attempt to create a collective human and animal identity is unsuccessful due to conflict within their own advertisements.


Communication Studies

Thesis Comittee

Melanie McNaughton (Thesis Director)

Jason Edwards

Bjorn Ingvoldstad

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.