Participants & Speakers
Ingrid Newkirk is cofounder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the largest animal rights organization in the world. She has spoken internationally on animal rights issues, from the steps of the Canadian Parliament to the streets of New Delhi, India, where she spent her childhood.
Ingrid served as a deputy sheriff; as a Maryland state law enforcement officer with the highest success rate in convicting animal abusers; director of cruelty investigations for the second oldest humane society in the U.S.; and Chief of Animal Disease Control for the Commission on Public Health in the District of Columbia.
During her work as a humane officer, Ingrid discovered the enormous amount of animal abuse taking place behind closed doors in laboratories, on factory farms, etc. She met Alex Pacheco when he volunteered at the shelter she worked at, and he gave her a copy of Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation. It inspired her to found PETA in 1980 with the goals of investigating, publicizing and ending animal cruelty.
Since its founding, PETA has exposed horrific cruelty in animal laboratories, leading to canceled funding, closed facilities, and hundreds of charges filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; closed the largest horse-slaughtering operation in North America; convinced dozens of designers to stop using fur; cleaned up substandard animal shelters; helped schools find alternatives to dissection; provided information on vegetarianism, companion animal care, and countless other issues to millions of people.
Under Ingrid's leadership, legislation was passed to create a spay/neuter clinic in Washington, D.C. and she coordinated the first arrest in U.S. history of a laboratory animal scientist on animal cruelty charges and helped achieve the first anti-cruelty law in Taiwan. She spearheaded the closure of a Department of Defense underground "wound laboratory," and has initiated many other campaigns against animal abuse, including ending General Motors' crash tests on animals.
Every day, thousands of people visit PETA's vegetarian campaign Web site, GoVeg.com, to request free vegetarian starter kits filled with recipes and tips on making the switch. PETA convinced McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's to make groundbreaking changes in the way their suppliers treat the animals killed for their restaurants. PETA has also successfully campaigned to improve the treatment of animals used for food at Safeway and other retail giants.
PETA's video footage, narrated by designer Stella McCartney, from a PETA undercover investigation on a fur farm, which shows foxes with exposed bones and animals gone mad from confinement, resulted in a successful prosecution of the fur farmer. More than 550 cosmetics companies and 221 health charities have signed PETA's statement of assurance never to test on animals. PETA has rescued many animals from miserable conditions in the entertainment industry and retired them to sanctuaries to spend the rest of their lives in peace. PETA also operates a spay/neuter clinic and has sterilized thousands of animals belonging to low-income families.
Ingrid Newkirk is the author of Save the Animals! 101 Easy Things You Can Do; Kids Can Save the Animals! 101 Easy Things to Do; The Compassionate Cook; 250 Ways to Make Your Cat Adore You; You Can Save the Animals: 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty and Free the Animals!, Making Kind Choices, as well as numerous articles on the implications of our treatment of animals in our homes, slaughterhouses, circuses, and laboratories.