I realize this is older than dirt, but it's new to me!
So there’s a tradeoff here, with Vegan Outreach on one side and PETA on the other.
Vegan Outreach can get everyone to agree in principle that factory-farming is bad, but no one will pay any attention to it.
And PETA can get everyone to pay attention to factory farming, but a lot of people who would otherwise oppose it will switch to supporting it just because they’re so mad at the way it’s being publicized.
But at least they’re paying attention!
PETA doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot because they’re stupid. They shoot themselves in the foot because they’re traveling up an incentive gradient that rewards them for doing so, even if it destroys their credibility.
It's written from a left-wing perspective (Does every reasonable person really believe that factory farming is evil or that Eric Garner was murdered?). But, regardless, it's a good elaboration on the reasons social justice warriors and the media love stupid causes.