PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

Budget (2023): $68.8 million

Headquarters: Norfolk, VA

CEO: Ingrid Newkirk

Cats and Dogs Killed in 2023: 2,471

Cats and Dogs Adopted in 2023: 38

Animals Killed since 1998: 49,000+

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Background and Goals

PETA is an extreme animal liberation group that opposes the use of animals by people and demands a vegan lifestyle. PETA opposes pet ownership and seeks to ban farm-raised meat, eggs, and dairy. PETA opposes zoos and aquariums, comparing them to slavery. Its “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign compared chickens to Jewish victims of the Holocaust and farmers to Nazis. The PETA activist who created the campaign now works for another corporate pressure group, The Accountability Board. (Read more at: The Accountability Board.)

Corporate Activism

For years, PETA has engaged in corporate pressure campaigns, accusing companies of supporting animal cruelty.  In recent years, PETA has focused its campaigns on the fashion industry. PETA opposes wool, leather, silk, fur, and any other natural materials that are animal-based.

Social Responsibility and Governance Criticisms

PETA’s Pet Killing

PETA has killed thousands of cats and dogs at the animal shelter at its headquarters, according to government records. Since 1998, PETA has killed nearly 50,000 animals at its headquarters, for a high kill rate of more than 80%.

PETA Attacks Medical Charities

PETA has attacked medical charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes. Why? Because these charities support the use of animal research to find cures for deadly diseases like cancer. Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president, has said, “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”

Support for Extremists

PETA gave $70,000 to the legal defense of Rodney Coronado, who was convicted of fire-bombing a university under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front. Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president, has said, “I will be the last person to condemn ALF” and called Coronado a “fine young man.” PETA also gave $1,500 to the Earth Liberation Front, a domestic terrorist group linked to dozens of crimes.

“Our nonviolent tactics are not as effective,” said Newkirk in an interview with US News & World Report. “We ask nicely for years and get nothing. Someone makes a threat, and it works.”

Comparing Chickens to Holocaust Victims

PETA has created offense on numerous occasions with its stunts. In one campaign, called “Holocaust on Your Plate,” PETA compared chickens to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. “Anybody who eats meat is guilty of holding the same mindset that allowed the Holocaust to happen,” said a PETA rep.

PETA has also compared zoo animals to African slaves, and has been accused of “fat shaming” women into becoming vegans.

Targeting Children With Violent Propaganda

PETA has make violent comics called Your Mommy Kills Animals, with a cover featuring a knife-wielding mom stabbing a rabbit, and distributed them to children. It has distributed “Unhappy Meals” to kids which include a “blood” (ketchup) packet and a Ronald McDonald character with a butcher knife. “Our campaigns are always geared towards children and they always will be,” said a PETA rep.


“In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether.” – Ingrid Newkirk, PETA co-founder and president

“Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.” – Ingrid Newkirk

“I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows… Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.” – Then PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich

“[Eating meat] is not your personal decision, any more than, you know, whether somebody beats their child is their personal decision.” – Bruce Friedrich

“There’s no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all animals.” – Ingrid Newkirk

“Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.” – Ingrid Newkirk