Do you think it's possible to preemptively cock-block an unborn child? How about if said blocking will eventually come about not thanks to the horrifically embarrassing name you've given him, but thanks to the chicken sandwich you ate a decade and a half ago?
PETA—you know, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—sure as hell seems to think so. After all, the iconic and often controversial nonprofit just launched an online campaign warning against the alleged dangers of chicken consumption. More specifically, they say it could potentially wreak havoc on your unborn child's yet-to-exist junk. (Incidentally, now might be a pretty good time to get into the micropenis condom game.)
The earthshattering claim is attributed to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. PETA says the study found a definitive link between phthalates and penile development. In fact, the study linked reduced penile size to phthalates but not necessarily to chicken; the researchers mention that phthalates are "pervasive" and can be found in toys, personal care products, many types of food, and even the air. They're also in our tap water and in pesticides sprayed on plants.
But PETA is focusing on phthalates found in the flesh of chickens. Their video campaign says, "A recent National Institutes of Health-funded study showed that a mother's poultry consumption during pregnancy correlated with her kid's penis size. The more chicken consumed, the smaller the d***."
Can this be true? We simply had to get to the bottom of this most foul—or should we say fowl?—situation, so we reached out to the folks over at PETA.
Ben Williamson, Senior International Media Director at PETA, told us the following: "PETA's humorous new video is simply trying to warn potential new parents about the link between eating chicken and stunted penis growth. Chicken flesh has been shown to cause higher levels of the phthalate Mono(2-ethylhexyl), or MEHP as it's better known. That's a fancy name for a chemical that can shrink the penises of unborn children. PETA wonders what new parent wouldn't want to know about this. Our new ad is simply trying to help people who are concerned about the development of their unborn child. It's a humorous video with a serious message."
PETA may find their video humorous but some people are far from amused. They are being accused of body-shaming.
Sean O'Callaghan, the blogger known as the Fat Gay Vegan, says: "There is nothing wrong with alerting people to the fact that chemicals in food stuffs can affect the development of their child's genitalia… [But] the campaign is built around the idea that having a bigger penis is better. The second tweet actually reads, 'Your son deserves better.'"
PETA, however, is standing strong. They told The Mirror that the organization has never subscribed to a theory of "bigger is better." They say they want the public to know this: "A vegan diet is optimal for human health while also sparing other animals and their offspring from immense suffering and death." And small penises.
Interestingly enough, the 2008 study on phthalates that PETA cites for their campaign doesn't specifically mention chicken or meat consumption a single time.