PETA's president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk (born July 11, 1949) is a British-born animal rights activist, author, and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization.[1] She co-founded PETA in 1980 with American activist Alex Pacheco, and is the author of several books about animal liberation, including Free the Animals, You Can Save the Animals, and Making Kind Choices, which has a foreword by Sir Paul McCartney.

Newkirk is best known for the campaigns and stunts she organizes on behalf of PETA in order to promote animal rights and veganism. In her will, she has directed that her skin be turned into wallets, her feet into umbrella stands, and her flesh into "Newkirk Nuggets" then grilled on a barbecue.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Newkirk was born in England and grew up in New Delhi, India where her mother volunteered for Mother Teresa. She credits her early experiences in India — packing pills for the lepers and rolling bandages for them, stuffing toys for orphans, and feeding strays — and her mother’s statement that "it doesn’t matter who suffers, but how," as contributing to her concern for anyone in need, including animals.[3]

In the 1970s, she worked for Montgomery County, Maryland, and then for the District of Columbia, as an animal protection officer and deputy sheriff, before becoming D.C.'s first female poundmaster in 1978.

Debra Saunders, a conservative newspaper columnist and critic of Newkirk and PETA, argues that this statement shows that Newkirk advocates a double standard regarding the killing of animals. She writes, "PETA assails other parties for killing animals for food or research. Then it kills animals — but for really important reasons, such as running out of room."[4]

Relationship with the Animal Liberation FrontEdit

Newkirk herself has written about how she has frequently publicized actions carried out by activists in the name of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).[5]

She has been accused of having had advance knowledge of one ALF action. According to U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer, writing during the trial of Rod Coronado who was charged (and later convicted) in connection with an arson attack at Michigan State University, Newkirk "arranged ... days before the MSU arson occurred" to have Coronado send her stolen documents and a videotape from the attack. [6]


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

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