As Detroit officials vow to cut off water for between 1,500 and 3,000 people every week for delinquent water bills in the struggling city, one unlikely organization is claiming their ally-ship in the most bizarre of ways.
By offering to pay residents’ water bills if they go vegan, PETA – the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – is dangling hope over the heads of poverty-stricken communities by forcing them into an eating lifestyle they may not be able to afford.
It must be noted, Detroit’s water situation has gotten so bad that the United Nations has had to step in and tell the city that such massive water shut-offs are a violation of human rights. The city plans to shut off water for 15,000 residents.
Ethical treatment, eh?
“[W]ith the help of a generous PETA member, we have come up with one small way to assist Detroit residents and save animals, too,” PETA writes in its post. “Thanks to this donor, PETA will be able to pay off the water bills for 10 families who commit to going vegan for one month. We’ll also help them get started by giving each family a basket of healthy vegan foods and recipes.”
The group asks people who are interested to take photos of their overdue bills and send them in along with a pledge to go vegan. It gives no indication of what it would do should someone accept the funding and then immediately start eating meat again.
To further humiliate these struggling communities, PETA also adds that poor residents should take interest in the health effects of their vegan lifestyle.
“The last thing that people who are struggling need is increased health-care costs,” the blog post says. “By accepting our offer to go vegan, not only will families be getting an immediate financial boost and helping animals, if they stick with it, they’ll also lower their risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes.”
Never mind that most of the Detroit residents in question live in absolute food deserts that don’t give them access to fresh fruits and vegetables. According to Think Progress, 18 million families in the U.S. were unable to get a sufficient amount of food to be healthy in 2012.
How about we combat that first, shall we?
Good intentions, bad idea. PETA, you’re cool and all, but this is a bit ill-advised and hoity-toity, no?
If you want to help (with no strings attached) here’s what you can do. Thanks to entrepreneur Tiffani Ashley Bell and designer Kristy Tillman, you can donate to help pay the $90 million in past due water bills in Detroit.
Turn on Detroit’s Water matches individual customers — not corporations — who owe $250 or less to the DWSD are with donors who will make a payment on their behalf to the agency. Donors can pledge any amount, as little as a few dollars to help ease the burden.
Those who want to help supply an email address and are paired with someone in need of help paying their water bill. The donor won’t know the identity of the recipient, unless the customer chooses to reveal it.
You can check out the program here.