Top Ten Interesting Facts About PETA

What is PETA? What does PETA stand for? What does PETA do? Who started PETA? What are some of the good things PETA has done to help save animals? Does PETA kill pets that are surrendered to them? Why does PETA use extreme tactics to get their messag

Most people know that PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but what are some other interesting facts about PETA?

1.  PETA was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. Newkirks pivotal moment may have came in 1969 when she took a litter of kittens to an animal shelter and was disgusted by the conditions, she went to work as an animal protection officer, being frequently horrified by the lack of compassion being given to shelter pets during and after euthanasia. Pacheco had worked with the Sea Sheppard Conservation Society, and was a political major when he met Newkirk. He has since left PETA.

2.  The first public battle PETA was involved in was the Silver Springs Monkeys, which exposed to the world 16 wild monkeys, and one that was purchased as a day old baby, that were used in experiments.  Since then they have also encouraged McDonalds to provide better care to its livestock animals, encouraged many oil companies to cover their stacks to prevent killing millions of birds and bats every year, exposed horrific abuse on some farms (including a pig being skinned a live) leading to the first ever felony indictments of farm employees.  PETA has encouraged PETCO to treat their animals better, and for some cosmetic companies to stop testing on animals.

photo source - note the open area on this monkey's arm.

3.  PETA is an animal rights group (not to be confused with animal welfare groups), whose motto is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment”.

4.  PETA's four main areas of focus are on stopping cruelty in: Factory farms, the clothing industry, laboratories, and the entertainment industry.

5.  Although many people accuse PETA of being too extreme, those involved with other animal rights groups often criticize them for not being extreme enough. Many PETA supporters own pets; pet ownership is something that most animal rights supporters object to.

6.  PETA has more than 3 million members and 300 employees.  They are an international charity with their base is in Norfolk, Virginia.

7.  One of PETA's largest, and best known, campaigns is against killing animals for fur. They featured ads that typically had a naked celebrity and the caption “I'd rather go naked than wear fur”. These ads mostly featured women, but Steve-O was one of the men who posed naked for their ads.

8.  Numerous websites have been set up against PETA, including some pointing out that PETA does euthanize animals surrendered to them. In PETA's defense, they are not an animal welfare group, and it should be noted that in the USA alone more than 4 million pets are euthanized by other animal shelters (as reported by the Humane Society). The problem is not PETA, it is lack of homes for animals and the fact that not enough people are spaying or neutering their pets.

9.  PETA defends there often criticized controversial tactics because they are one way to get attention to their causes. This is especially true when one realizes PETA stands up against some billion dollar companies and industries.

10.  Some of PETA's views include:

  • Disagreeing with keeping pet birds in cages.
  • Catch and Release fishing is cruel, not a harmless pastime.
  • Keeping dogs on chains in the backyard is cruel.
  • Owning pets is alright, but buying them from pet stores is wrong, as is breeding more pets. PETA encourages adopting pets and actually suggests adopting 2 so they can be companions. This of course assumes that they are going to be well cared for, and are spayed or neutered.
  • Against keeping animals zoos.
  • Vegetarian lifestyles help end animal suffering.

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