PETA is the largest animal rights and animal activist organization in the world while the Humane Society is the largest of the animal welfare groups. Note the distinction between animal rights and animal welfare. Both are deeply concerned with animal welfare but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals take it a step further by bestowing rights on animals.They claim "over 2 million members and supporters" and from the PETA website we see that their main work is split among four areas:
The focus areas are those in which the "largest numbers of animals suffer most intensely for the longest period of time". They are active in numerous other areas and often duplicate the efforts of the Humane Society; most notable is the "Save the Seals" campaign to stop the annual Canadian slaughter of thousands of baby seals by clubbing.
The term "animal activist" fits this group to a tee. They are "in-your-face", outrageous, regularly schedule highly visible shocking public displays of ongoing cruelty in the factory farms, laboratories, animal breeding operations and anywhere else animals might be abused.
On occasion they engage in trespass, breaking and entering, and property damage; thus the "terrorist" label from some of their targeted opponents.
You gotta love these guys! The fact is that they intensely believe in their cause and when mainstream media won't cover the animal cruelty behind our cosmetics, prescription drugs, meat and dairy products, furs and leather, or working animals, they go to extremes to force the media to take notice.
Unlike the large food and drug corporations with deep pockets and unlimited PR budgets, the organization is funded by memberships and charitable donations and has to rely on free advertising or free coverage by the media. Outrageous acts get attention and they have been very successful with their methods.
Most successful has been their efforts in attracting big name animal activist celebrities to champion the cause.
Personalities that have come forward to help PETA include such names as Pamela Anderson, Charlize Theron, Lea Michele (Glee), Daniella Monet (Trina on Nickelodeon’s Victorious), Yvonne Strahovski (agent Walker on NBC's Chuck), Bea Arthur, Anjelica Huston, Martin Sheen, Alicia Silverstone, Holly Madison (The Girls Next Door) and many, many others.
The founder and still president of PETA is Ingrid Newkirk, a British born animal activist, currently residing in Virginia.
She founded the group in 1980 and became a public figure in 1981 after exposing the cruelty inflicted on 17 macaque monkeys at the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. Alex Pacheco, her boyfriend at the time, worked at the institute as a volunteer and was able to photograph and document the treatment of the monkeys.
Their expose’ resulted in the first police raid on an animal-research facility in the United States and the first conviction of an animal researcher.
One of their campaigns that is gaining momentum and widespread support is to get a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City, Chicago and other major cities where traffic, noise, heat and cold is a threat to the animals.
Among the more powerful backers is none other than New York Mayor DeBlasio. This will either be decided by the courts or the voters; we will see.
Another ongoing campaign is against Seaworld and its captive orca whales and porpoises. This is worth looking into on their website via te link above.
Anytime you hear the slogan, "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way", think about Ingrid Newkirk and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Leave PETA and return to Home Page
Navigate to the Humane Society of the U.S.
Read about the farm sanctuary movement in the U.S.
Navigate to the lead-in page on factory farms
Examine factory farms by types of species
Navigate to the impacts of factory farms on health
Look at the environmental impacts of factory farms
Read about the infectious organisms from factory farms