I’m a little star struck today. Founder and president of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Ingrid Newkirk has spent the past 4 decades getting people to see who animals are, and to change their lives to stop hurting them and start helping them.
As head of the largest animal rights organisation in the world, Ingrid and her team have been incredibly effective.
For just a bit of official bio: In 1980, Ingrid was named Washingtonian of the Year, and has since received many other accolades and awards, including a 1995 Courage of Conscience Award, a 2001 Animal Protection Hall of Fame Award, 2002 Living Legacy Award and 2004 Activist of the Year Awards.
Whether you support the at times controversial and provocative approaches PETA deploy to defend animals, its indisputable the organisation is without equal so far as getting press coverage and way beyond that, most importantly actually effecting positive change.
As a vegan and animal rights activist I’m regularly faced with the accusation “You’re not one of those PETA supporters (extremists, lunatics!) are you?”
I’ll come clean upfront as to where I stand: Ingrid is a hero to me. I have so much respect for her relentless, uncompromising activism and her strength of focus to push forward fighting for the rights of animals without ever being derailed by either the cruel and misleading media or animal harming industry spin directed at PETA or the vocal opposition of other activists who disagree with her approach.
I believe intention is everything. Effectiveness and longevity are also vital and since founding PETA in 1980, Ingrid today is at least as fired up and fiercely committed as she ever was, to ensuring all humans know animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment or abuse in any other way.
In this chat we cover:
- Speciesism: the human-held belief that all other animal species are inferior.
Ingrids amazing amazing quote: “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Each one values his or her life and fights the knife.”
- Media “spin” on animals rights actions and activism? The power of being provocative.
- How much time / energy does Ingrid / the PETA team give to reading, engaging with and countering bad / misleading press.
- Ingrid grew up in India. We discuss changing food habits with Western influence of the SAD diet.
- Ingrid’s solutions to stay positive when the extent of animal exploitation globally can be so daunting.
- How to make kind choices as individual consumers.
- What’s something often mis-understood about Ingrid personally, or PETA that she’d like to shine a light on.
And so much more!
That chat was such a joy. Although it got dark too. I’m sure you noticed the incredible skill Ingrid has at painting the horrific picture of the torture we humans inflict on animals. I’m not sure how much YOU knew about PETA before coming to this conversation. Perhaps you’re a little awe-struck like me.
Or maybe you’re more conscious of the showy headlines and “extreme” actions like the “dog on the BBQ” stunt last Australia Day here in Sydney?
Perhaps you’ve even heard some of the rumours that PETA kills stray dogs or even companion animals? I’d heard those rumours too. Although they made me a little uncomfortable I didn’t give them much credit because since adopting a vegan lifestyle I’ve become all too aware of the powerful forces seeking to maintain status quo in the animal harming industries. Forces with all the incentive and money to propagate false media aimed at discrediting organisations such as PETA.
So far as the free service PETA provides to animals turned away by “no kill” shelters and some of the other more prevalent smear campaigns / myths Ingrid did a great heartfelt and heart-breaking interview on The PETA Podcast. It’s season 1, episode 48 and I’ll link to it.
The scope of the work PETA does really is colossal. There are the campaigns that get press coverage like if we travel back to 1993 when: All car-crash tests on animals stop worldwide following PETA’s hard-hitting campaign against General Motors’ use of live pigs and ferrets in crash tests.
Or more recently just this month in 2019: PETA Pressure Ends Texas A&M Dog Breeding for Muscular Dystrophy Experiments.
I discussed these vile experiments and just how utterly ineffective they are in show 622 with the amazing anti-vivisection activist Theodora Capaldo.
“Following intense pressure from PETA, 500 physicians, many scientists, a number of celebrities, and hundreds of thousands of activists, the canine muscular dystrophy (MD) laboratory at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has stopped breeding dogs to develop the crippling disease in its useless effort to find a cure for humans with MD. So there will be no more puppies born into imprisonment at TAMU and doomed to die shortly after birth or spend a lifetime suffering from the painful, debilitating symptoms of the illness.”
Perhaps (like me) you didn’t know, PETA does more undercover investigations each year than any other animal protection group.
Or, PETA sends out more than a 1/2 million vegan starter kits a year in response to consumer requests.
I’m sharing all this not just as a fan girl (!) however more-so because it frustrates me that an organisation doing so much good for animals has to cop so much flack for their efforts. Though as you heard, Ingrid has pretty impressively tough skin and seems fairly impervious to the rubbish. She’s directing her anger at actually making progress on the many battles ahead of us to make the world a kinder place for animals and I guess there’s a lesson in that.
Anger at the injustices in our world is a powerful fuel. So long as you direct it towards change and don’t just let it boil in side you.
There’s an absolute abundance of free resources via www.peta.org to help you take action in whatever capacity you can. Remember Ingrids personal goal to have 3 times each day that she makes a difference beyond the work she does at the office? I think each of us can aim for that.
If you’re looking for more ideas / inspiration here’s a link to Ingrids book Making Kind Choices. Of course then in Jan 2020 her latest book will be released and that’s called: Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and the Remarkable Ways We Can Be Kind to Them.
Finally across the socials you’ll find PETA everywhere. From the home site (peta.org) you can navigate to both the international sites and also the social media accounts:
That’s it for this week in Healthification. Huge thanks to YOU for sharing this week with me. You rock and I appreciate your support!
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If you liked “PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk | Animals Are Not Ours To Experiment On, Eat, Wear, Use For Entertainment or Abuse In Any Other Way” you’ll also like 533: Interview with Keith Burgeson from PETA’s Vegan Mentor Program.
If you liked “PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk | Animals Are Not Ours To Experiment On, Eat, Wear, Use For Entertainment or Abuse In Any Other Way” you’ll also like E622: Theodora Capaldo and Why Non-animal Testing Methods Are Superior On All Fronts.
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