To breed or not to breed…

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for using controversy as a means to activism.  Sometimes it’s tomatoes; sometimes it’s video games.

This time it’s a t-shirt.

Some dog breeders have taken umbrage to PETA’s latest fashion statement, and they’ve called and emailed us to remove this shirt from the system.

We’re not going to remove the shirt, though.

CafePress is, at its core, about self-expression.  Our Terms of Service provide an outline as to what is and isn’t acceptable, and for the most part what is acceptable is expressing yourself in a way that doesn’t infringe on anybody’s rights.

User-generated commerce is just that: user-generated.  It was only a matter of time before bumper sticker activism made its way to the almighty t-shirt, and as of this writing there are 131 million t-shirts in our public catalogue, all created by people like you.  Our t-shirts are a reflection of the public discourse – and it’s not so surprising, really, that a country raised to think independently with the First Amendment as the backbone of our liberties has come to find the t-shirt a perfect canvas to state an opinion.

Thing is, when that many people voice an opinion there’s bound to be some disagreement.  So while breeders might not like the shirt above, I’m fairly certain that PETA supporters can find any number of shirts that they find equally offensive…

Thing is, the shirts aren’t the issue here.  The opinions on the shirts are the issue, and at the heart of t-shirt activism is the desire by the wearer to start a conversation – even if it’s an internal monologue on the part of a viewer.  People make and wear these shirts to raise awareness as to their opinions and causes, and without the shirt that person still has the same opinion.  You just might not know it by lookin’ at them.

So if you’re offended by somebody’s t-shirt, think of it as a chance to start a conversation about the issue at hand.  Or get out there and make your own t-shirt.  And if you’re not someone who likes getting it off your mind and onto your chest, no worries: you can always let the dog do the talking.*

*As far as we know, dressing your dog in a t-shirt is sanctioned by PETA.

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