People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA (/'pi?t??/); stylized PeTA) is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A nonprofit corporation with 300 employees, it claims that it has 3 million members and supporters (5 million in total) and is the largest animal rights group in the world. Its slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way." Founded in March 1980, by Newkirk and fellow animal rights activist Alex Pacheco, the organization first caught the publics 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 ten years, involved the only police raid on an animal laboratory in the United States, triggered an amendment in 1985, to that countrys 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 animals in entertainment. 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. The group has been the focus of controversy, both inside and outside the animal rights movement. Newkirk and, formerly, Pacheco are seen as the leading exporters of animal rights to the more traditional animal-protection groups in the United States, but sections of the movement nonetheless say that PETA is not radical enough—law professor Gary Francione lists the group among what he calls "the new welfarists", arguing that its work with industries to achieve reform, which continues in the tradition of Henry Spira, makes it an animal welfare group, not an animal rights group. Newkirk told Salon in 2001 that PETA works toward the ideal but tries in the meantime to provide carrot-and-stick incentives. There has also been criticism from feminists within the movement about the use of scantily clad women in PETAs anti-fur campaigns and others, but as Norm Phelps notes, "Newkirk has been consistent in her response. No one, she says, is being exploited. Everyone ... is an uncoerced volunteer. Sexual attraction is a fact of life, and if it can advance the animals' cause, she makes no apologies for using it." Also, Phelps notes that some activists believe that the groups media stunts trivialize animal rights, but he qualifies this by saying, "its hard to argue with success and PETA is far and away the most successful cutting-edge animal rights organization in the world." Newkirks view is that PETA has a duty to be "press sluts". She argues, "It is our obligation. We would be worthless if we were just polite and didn't make any waves."