Go Vegan, Detroit, And PETA Will Pay Your Overdue Water Bill — Which Is Definitely Not OK

The aggressive water shutoffs in Detroit have been heavily criticized by the United Nations, which stated that cutting water supply in homes with past-due bills is a "violation of the human right to water." Now, thousands of families left with their service cut can apply for help from an unlikely source. PETA offered to pay overdue water bills for 10 Detoit families ... if they pledge to eat vegan for a month.

PETA is accepting applications until Friday for families willing to change their eating habits to get their water bill paid. Currently, only five people have applied for the program. The animal rights activists start successful applicants with a basket of vegan foods and recipes.

While PETA is patting itself on the back for its generosity, it seems strange to bully people in a time of need into changing their eating habits to match what is essentially the group's political stance on animal rights. The offer comes amidst protesting and heavy criticism from across the nation, giving PETA a public platform for the deal.

The city is currently digging itself out of massive debt, and is starting by cracking down on water bills managed by the city. The Washington Post reported that as of July 1, $89 million in past-due bills was owed to the city, with service in 7,200 homes being cut in June alone.

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This move gives PETA good "humanitarian" exposure, but if they really wanted to help ease the burden on Detroit families they probably just should have donated without a stipulation attached. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as of May 2014 that 8 percent of the Detroit area is facing unemployment.

It's not like Detroit residents are willfully ignoring overdue bills because they feel like it. They are having to make tough choices on what bills to pay. Finding protein substitutes can cost two to three times as much as meat, although PETA says that that families making the switch can see economic benefits on long-term health bills associated with heart disease and obesity. Putting people already struggling to pay for essentials in the position of having to figure out how to eat cheaply doesn't seem so innocent.

Veganism is a life choice that people make, not a way to get them out of a financial hole. And "helping" Detroit families by making a political statement rings of false altruism.