PETA Can't Keep Their Noses Out Of Cities' Business

Do you know the history of your city's name? Do you know where it comes from, who it was named for, or what it means? Maybe your parents told you. Maybe you learned it in school. Or maybe you've heard of Google and Wikipedia.

And because you're reasonably intelligent and naturally curious, you probably know things, like the fact that New York was once called New Amsterdam, so named by the original Dutch settlers who named it after their capital city. Or that when the English took it over, they named it after the Duke of York, who later became King James II of England.

Indianapolis' name comes from the Greek word "polis," which means city, and the word "Indian" referred to the natives who lived in the area. It literally means "Land of the Indians."

Other places are named after nearby geographic features. There's the city of Minneapolis ("City of Water"), the state of Vermont ("Green Mountain"), or even the entire country of Iceland (literally "Land of Ice").

And then there's Wool, England.

Wool is a small village of roughly 5,000 people, located in Dorset, 120 miles southwest of London. The 1,000-year-old village has enjoyed a relatively quiet and anonymous existence, never bothering anyone, just going about its business.

But they recently made the news after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent the village council a letter asking them to change their name to Vegan Wool as a way to bring awareness to the way sheep are treated during the shearing process.

First, there is no such thing as Vegan Wool. That's called polyester, and it's made from plastic, which is a petroleum-based product. Petroleum is pumped from below the Earth's surface and is very polluting.

But PETA suggested some non-polluting alternatives, like one made from hemp and coconut husk fibers, or others made from organic cotton, banana bark, and bamboo.

Second, you don't have to kill sheep to get wool. It's basically a haircut for them.

Admittedly, there are some cruel practices by sheep shearers around the world, but that's a symptom of bad people, not a bad industry. Besides, I don't think PETA can take the moral high ground on this one.

That's because, according to, PETA is a notorious animal killer themselves, running a shelter in Norfolk, Virginia that kills a majority of the animals it takes in.

According to PETA Kills Animals, PETA has regularly killed thousands of animals every year since 1998. In 2017, they slaughtered 1,809 dogs and cats, or 74% of the total number of animals they took in that year. In 2014, they killed 2,324 animals, or 88.3% of the animals they took in. They've even been sued for stealing people's pets right from their property. backs up all of their claims with reports and statistics from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

So when it comes to calling attention to animal cruelty and inhumane treatment, PETA needs to focus its attention on PETA.

But they would rather make fools of themselves by asking cities like Wool to rename themselves because they apparently lack a basic curiosity or willingness to do simple research.

If they had just checked Wikipedia, they would have learned that the village of Wool was also known as Wyllon, Wille, and Welle, which means "springs" or "wells." It has nothing to do with sheep or sheep shearing.

Local council member Cherry Brooks told the London Daily Mail, "It is a ridiculous request and it’s caused quite a stir in the village."

Still, Brooks said they'll discuss it at their next parish council meeting, but only as a formality, since they received a written letter. The Daily Mail predicted "the matter is likely to be laughed out of the room."

Some of PETA's past requests include asking Turkey, Texas to change their name to "Tofurkey;" suggesting Nottingham, England change its name to "Not-Eating-Ham;" and asking Slaughter Beach, Delaware (named after William Slaughter) to rename itself "Sanctuary Beach." They once even asked the British pop band Pet Shop Boys to rename themselves the Rescue Shelter Boys.

In 2009, running out of cities to hassle, PETA tried to rename fish "sea kittens" because they didn't think people would want to eat a kitten. The rest of the world agreed that it was stupid and continued to eat fish because they're delicious.

Needless to say, all of PETA's requests have been met with well-deserved derision, mockery, and considerable eye rolling.

Of course, like every other spoiled child screaming "Watch me! Mommy, watch me! Mommy!" PETA is only doing this so we'll pay attention to them. And I know that by writing about this, I'm only drawing further attention to them and their asinine ideas.

Meanwhile, let me remind you that, according to, PETA has killed 44,846 cats and dogs in Virginia between 1998 and 2017, despite their moronic publicity stunts.

The next time PETA wants a town to change its name to some fatheaded name, they should rethink what "Ethical" actually means, and replace it with something that better represents their own actions.

Like "Inhumane," for instance. And the new word, PITA, can stand for something else the organization has been for so long.

Photo credit: Chris Downer (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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