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People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals

1043 words - 4 pages

People for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsBy: Jonas TrefzgerPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is an American organization focusing on animal rights. It is a non-profit corporation with 300 employees, and it claims to have three million members including supporters. It also claims to be the largest animal rights group in the world, with its slogan being "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse in any way."Founded in March 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and animal rights activist Alex Pacheco, the organization first caught the public's awareness in the summer of 1981 during what became known as the "Silver Spring monkeys case", a widely publicized dispute about experiments conducted on 17 macaque monkeys inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The case lasted ten years; involved the only police raid on an animal laboratory in the United States, triggered an improvement in 1985 to that country's Animal Welfare Act, and established PETA as an internationally known organization. Today it claims to focus its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely, for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. It also campaigns against eating meat, fishing, the killing of animals regarded as pests, the keeping of chained backyard dogs, cock fighting, dog fighting, and bullfighting.Campaigns/Consumer BoycottsPETA is known for its aggressive media campaigns, combined with a wide range of celebrity supporters such as Pamela Anderson, Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, John Gielgud, Bill Maher, Stella McCartney, and Alicia Silverstone; which have all appeared in PETA ads. Every week, Newkirk holds a meeting, with two dozen of her top strategists gathered round a square table in the PETA conference room, no suggestion considered too outrageous. PETA also gives a yearly prize, called the Proggy Award (for "progress"), to individuals or organizations dedicated to animal welfare or who distinguish themselves through their efforts within the area of animal welfare.Many of the campaigns have focused on large corporations. Fast food companies such as KFC, Wendy's, and Burger King have been targeted. In the animal-testing industry, PETA's consumer boycotts have focused on Avon, Benetton, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Chesebrough-Pond's, Dow Chemical, General Motors, and others. Their method of operation includes buying shares in target companies such as McDonald's and Kraft Foods in order to exert influence. The campaigns have delivered successful results for PETA. McDonald's and Wendy's introduced vegetarian options after PETA targeted them; Petco stopped selling some exotic pets; and Polo Ralph Lauren said it would no longer use fur. Avon, Estee Lauder, Benetton, and Tonka Toy Co. all stopped testing products on animals, the Pentagon stopped shooting pigs and goats in wounds...

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