BURLINGTON -- Love them or hate them, you have to admit the animal-rights activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) know how to attract attention. Last Friday at noon, PETA's Amy Jannette painted a butcher's diagram on her body and sat at the corner of Church and Main streets in downtown Burlington, wearing only lacy black panties. Holding a small rectangular piece of cardboard in front of her chest, she sat cross-legged beneath a banner that read, "All Animals Have the Same Parts." Even the committed carnivores in line at the Kevin's Wicked Hot Dogs cart couldn't look away.
Jannette and her companion, Chris Link, came to Burlington from PETA HQ in Norfolk, Virginia. Their summer tour to dissuade meat eaters includes stops in Albany, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Link's job is to hold the banner and answer questions from passersby, such as Darryl Dawson.
The twentysomething Burlington resident wandered over after a friend told him about "the naked girl" at the bottom of Church Street. He read the writing on Jannette's back out loud. "We got chuck, chuck, rib, rib, and . . . rump," he said, his eyes lingering on her posterior. "That's funny!"
Dawson explained that he eats meat because of the taste, the texture and the carbohydrates. "Actually," Link corrected, "meat doesn't contain carbohydrates. Just protein."
"Protein," Dawson agreed, his eyes still fixed on Jannette, "that's what it is."
Link handed him a pamphlet, which Dawson scanned distractedly. He promised he'd learn more about why he shouldn't eat meat, and complimented the activists for opening his eyes to vegetarianism. "Presentation," he said, slowly backing away, "is everything."