Ingrid Newkirk

About Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk (born June 11, 1949) is an English-born British American animal rights activist and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization. She is the author of several books, including Making Kind Choices (2005) and The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights – Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble (2009).

Newkirk has worked for the animal protection movement since 1972. Under her leadership in the 1970s as the District of Columbia's first female poundmaster, legislation was passed to create the first spay/neuter clinic in Washington, D.C., as well as an adoption program and the public funding of veterinary services, leading her to be among those chosen in 1980 as Washingtonians of the Year.

Newkirk founded PETA in March 1980 with fellow animal rights activist Alex Pacheco. They came to public attention in 1981, during what became known as the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Pacheco photographed 17 macaque monkeys being experimented on inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The case led to the first police raid in the United States on an animal research laboratory and an amendment in 1985 to the Animal Welfare Act. Since then, Newkirk has led campaigns to stop the use of animals in crash tests, has convinced companies to stop testing cosmetics on animals and to press for higher welfare standards from the meat industry, and has organized undercover investigations that have led to government sanctions against companies, universities, and entertainers who use animals. She is known in particular for the media stunts she organizes to draw attention to animal protection issues. In her will, for example, she has asked that her skin be turned into wallets, her feet into umbrella stands, and her flesh into "Newkirk Nuggets," then grilled on a barbecue. "We are complete press sluts," she told The New Yorker in 2003. "It is our obligation."

Although PETA takes a gradualist approach to improving animal welfare, Newkirk remains committed to ending animal use, and the idea that, as PETA's slogan says, "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." Some animal rights abolitionists, most notably Gary Francione, have criticized PETA for this position, calling them the "new welfarists." Newkirk has also been criticized for her support of actions carried out in the name of the Animal Liberation Front. Her position is that the animal rights movement is a revolutionary one, and that "[t]hinkers may prepare revolutions, but bandits must carry them out."

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Quotes By Ingrid Newkirk

Today, I marvel at the vegan foods in the supermarket, at the cruelty-free clothing choices in stores, and at the fantastic alternatives to dissection in schools, the modern ways to test medicines without killing rabbits and beagles, the many forms of entertainment involving purely human performers.

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Recognize meat for what it really is: the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.

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Eating meat is primitive, barbaric, and arrogant.

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Cheap meat is the problem. The answer is to replace meat recipes with vegan meals.

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Quote Of The Day

Animals should not require our permission to live on earth. Animals were given the right to be here long before we arrived.

Anthony Douglas Williams