Emu Oil Ad Does NOT Belong in Harper’s Magazine

Harper’s Emu Oil Ad

Protest Politely But Firmly:
Please remove this offensive advertisement!

Harper’s Magazine
666 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012

Harper’s Magazine welcomes reader response. Short letters are more likely to be published, and all letters are subject to editing. If you’re sending us a letter to the editor by post, please address it ATTN: Letters Editor. Volume precludes individual acknowledgment.

Email Harper’s at letters@harpers.org

June 2, 2022

John R. MacArthur, President and Publisher
Harper’s Magazine
666 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012

Dear Mr. MacArthur:

I am a decades-long, devoted reader of Harper’s Magazine.

I am writing to you now about an advertisement that Harper’s has been running for a year or more, for a product called Airbrush. This product contains emu oil, which is obtained by raising and slaughtering emus. I respectfully ask you please to stop running this ad promoting slaughterhouse emu oil.

I understand that most people are not familiar with emus other than as a demeaning cartoon character, which has nothing to do with actual emus, who, with ostriches, belong to the oldest living family of birds on earth, the ratites, or nomadic flightless fowl.

I do not wish to overwhelm you and Harper’s with material about emus, although I am prepared to do so if the Airbrush ad continues to appear in Harper’s Magazine. With this in mind, I’m enclosing two copies of our brochures about ostriches and emus entitled Nowhere To Hide.

I also respectfully refer you to our webpage on ostriches and emus at www.upc-online.org/ostriches. I urge you to read about these birds, their natural dignity, their strong family life, their amazing fleetness, and the horror of the slaughter to which they are subjected for their body parts. The high standards of Harper’s Magazine are incompatible with the brutality of the product, fittingly called “Airbrush,” since anyone who does not understand the source and meaning of emu oil is undergoing an airbrush.

I would appreciate receiving a response from you to my letter, and I hope for good news.

That said, thank you very much for your attention. Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.


Karen Davis, PhD, President United Poultry Concerns

Jan Whalen and Bluie the Emu
Jan Whalen and Bluie the Emu in Everett, Washington