People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. The nonprofit corporation claims 6.5 million supporters. Its slogan is "Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way."
Founded in March 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and fellow animal rights activist Alex Pacheco, the organization first caught the public's attention 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 10 years, involved the only police raid on an animal laboratory in the United States, triggered an amendment in 1985 to the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, and established PETA as an internationally known organization. Today, it focuses on four core issues—opposition to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and the use of animals in entertainment. It also campaigns for a vegan lifestyle and against eating meat, fishing, the killing of animals regarded as pests, the keeping of chained backyard dogs, cock fighting, dog fighting, beekeeping, and bullfighting.
The group is the focus of controversy, both inside and outside the animal rights movement and around the world.