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Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid Newkirk
Ingrid Newkirk with Little Man, her photographer's chihuahua, during an interview for Wikinews in 2007.
Born (1949-06-11) June 11, 1949
Surrey, England
Residence Virginia, United States
Citizenship British and American
Occupation President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Spouse(s) Steve Newkirk (divorced 1980)
Website Official website

Ingrid Newkirk (born June 11, 1949) is an English-born British-American

  • Galkin, Matthew (director) "I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA", a television production for HBO, November 2007.
  • Fowler, Hayden. "Interview with Ingrid Newkirk about the HBO documentary on YouTube, retrieved February 24, 2008.
  • Interview with Ingrid Newkirk in Imagineer Magazine

External links

  1. ^ "Ingrid Newkirk: Animal Rights Crusader", Encyclopaedia Britannica's Advocacy for Animals, April 30, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  2. ^ For Newkirk's background, see Guillermo, Kathy Snow. Monkey Business. National Press Books, 1993, pp. 34-37.
    • For a list of Washingtonians, see "Past Washingtonians of the Year", The Washingtonian. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  3. ^ For the Safeway story, see "After losing 'Shameway' label, Safeway now praised by PETA", Business Times, February 22, 2008.
    • Examples of the undercover investigations:
    • For University of Pennsylvania, see Carbone, Larry. What Animals Want: Expertise and Advocacy in Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 90.
    • Rudacille, Deborah. The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The Conflict between Animal Research and Animal Protection. University of California Press 2000, pp. 145–147.
    • For Bobby Berosini, see Hearne, Vicki. Can an ape tell a joke?, Harpers, November 1, 1993.
    • "High court throws out $4.2 million judgment animal trainer won in libel, privacy suit", The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, February 22, 1994, accessed June 26, 2010, and "PETA v. Bobby Berosini", Supreme Court of Nevada, May 22, 1995, accessed June 28, 2010.
    • For Belcross Farm, see "PETA probe spurs indictment of three for cruelty to pigs", Associated Press, July 9, 1999.
  4. ^ Millard, Rosie. "A human carrot in bright orange felt walks in, announcing itself as "Chris P Carrot'", New Statesman, October 6, 2003.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Specter, Michael. "The Extremist: The woman behind the most successful radical group in America", The New Yorker, April 14, 2003.
  6. ^ Francione, G. L. Rain without thunder: The ideology of the animal rights movement. Temple University Press, 1996.
  7. ^ Bockman, Jon. "Welfarists or Abolitionists? Division Hurts Animal Advocacy", Animal Charity Evaluators, March 17, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Newkirk, Ingrid. "The ALF: Who, Why, and What?", Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals. Best, Steven & Nocella, Anthony J (eds). Lantern 2004, p. 341./
  9. ^ "Does PETA advocate the use of violence?",
  10. ^ a b Saunders, Debra J. "Better dead than fed, PETA says", San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2005.
  11. ^ Killoran, Ellen. "PETA Responds To Animal Cruelty Charge From No-Kill Shelter Advocate, With An Expose Of Its Own [EXCLUSIVE"], International Business Times, April 5, 2013.
  12. ^ Kate McCabe, "Who Will Live, Who Will Die," The Washingtonian, August 1985.
    • See also Morrison, Adrian. "Making choices in the laboratory", in Paul, Ellen Frankel and Paul, Jeffrey. Why Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research. Transaction Publishers, 2001. p. 50.
  13. ^ Redwood, Daniel. "Making Kind Choices",, p. 1. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  14. ^ For what happened to the dog, see Guillermo, Kathy Snow. Monkey Business. National Press Books, 1993, pp. 34-37.
    • For her comment to the Financial Times, see Glass, Suzanne. "The Peta principal", Financial Times, November 7, 2008 . Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c Guillermo, Kathy Snow. Monkey Business. National Press Books, 1993, pp. 34–37.
  16. ^ Ryder, Richard. Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes Towards Speciesism. Basil Blackwell, 1989; this edition Berg, 2000, p. 5.
  17. ^ a b Schwartz, Jeffrey and Begley, Sharon. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. HarperCollins, 2002 p. 161.
  18. ^ Guillermo, Kathy Snow. Monkey Business. National Press Books, 1993, p. 18.
  19. ^ a b Pacheco, Alex and Francione, Anna. "The Silver Spring Monkeys" in Singer, Peter. In Defense of Animals. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1985, pp. 135-147.
    • Also see Boffey, Philip M. "Animals in the lab: Protests accelerate, but use is dropping", The New York Times, October 27, 1981.
    • Raub, William and Held, Joe. Neuroscience Newsletter, April 1983, cited in Schwartz, Jeffrey and Begley, Sharon. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. HarperCollins, 2002 p. 149.
    • Dajer, T. "Monkeying with the Brain," Discover, January 1992, pp. 70-71.
  20. ^ Johnson, David. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental ForceReview of ,; see also Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself. Viking Penguin 2007, p. 141.
  21. ^ Carlson, Peter. "The Great Silver Spring Monkey Debate," The Washington Post Magazine, February 24, 1991.
  22. ^ Guillermo, Kathy Snow. Monkey Business. National Press Books, 1993, p. 25.
  23. ^ For Taub's position, see
    • For the six counts and for Taub's view, see Carlson, Peter. "The Great Silver Spring Monkey Debate," The Washington Post Magazine, February 24, 1991.
    • Also see Taub v. State, 296, Md 439 (1983).
  24. ^ Carbone, Larry. '"What Animals Want: Expertise and Advocacy in Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 76, see figure 4.2.
  25. ^ a b Interview with Ingrid Newkirk, David Shankbone, Wikinews, November 20, 2007.
  26. ^ Government sentencing memorandum of U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer in USA v. Rodney Coronado, July 31, 1995, pp. 8-10.
  27. ^ Galkin, Matthew (director) "I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA", a television production for HBO, November 2007.
  28. ^ "Interview with Sam Simon, Producer of 'The Simpsons', Origin: The Conscious Culture Magazine, May 1, 2014.
  29. ^ "Making Kind Choices"Praise for Ingrid Newkirk and Making Kind Choices, St. Martin's Griffin, 2013.
  30. ^ Euthanasia: The Compassionate Option., Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  31. ^ The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List
  32. ^ Foreword by Carol J. Adams


See also

  • The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights - Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble. St. Martin's Griffin, May 2009, ISBN 978-0-312-55994-6
  • One Can Make a Difference: Original stories by the Dalai Lama, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Dennis Kucinich, Russell Simmons, Bridgitte Bardot…. co-author Jane Ratcliffe, Adams Media (September 17, 2008)ISBN 1-59869-629-7
  • Let's Have a Dog Party!: 20 Tail-wagging Celebrations to Share With Your Best Friend. Adams Media Corporation, October 2007. ISBN 1-59869-149-X
  • 50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals. Warner Books, November 1, 2006. ISBN 0-446-69828-8
  • Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living. St. Martin's Griffin, January 1, 2005. ISBN 0-312-32993-8
  • Peta 2005 Shopping Guide For Caring Consumers: A Guide To Products That Are Not Tested On Animals. Book Publishing Company (TN), October 30, 2004. ISBN 1-57067-166-4
  • Speaking Up For the Animals. DVD, PETA, June 1, 2004.
  • Animal Rights Weekend Warrior. Lantern Books, March 1, 2003. ISBN 1-59056-048-5
  • Free the Animals: The Story of the Animal Liberation Front. Lantern Books, 2000, ISBN 1-930051-22-0
  • You Can Save the Animals: 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty. Prima Lifestyles (January 27, 1999) ISBN 0-7615-1673-5
  • 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You. Fireside, May 15, 1998. ISBN 0-684-83648-3
  • Compassionate Cook: Please don't Eat the Animals. Warner Books, July 1, 1993. ISBN 0-446-39492-0
  • Kids Can Save the Animals: 101 Easy Things to Do. Warner Books, August 1, 1991. ISBN 0-446-39271-5
  • A chapter of Lisa Kemmerer's anthology Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice, May 23, 2011. ISBN 978-0-252-07811-8[32]


The Peace Abbey, in Sherborn, MA, awarded her with the Courage of Conscience award on March 20, 1995.[31]

Newkirk and PETA both oppose animal testing out of principle as well as on practical grounds. Specter asked whether she would be opposed to experiments on five thousand rats, or even chimpanzees, if it was needed to cure AIDS. She replied: "Would you be opposed to experiments on your daughter if you knew it would save fifty million people?"[5]

Newkirk has been accused of employing a double standard for her organization's practice of euthanizing animals for which it has neither the space nor resources to shelter. Debra Saunders, a critic of Newkirk, argues that "PETA assails other parties for killing animals for food or research. Then it kills animals – but for really important reasons, such as running out of room."[10] PETA, however, believes that euthanasia is the most humane method of dealing with animals forced to spend a long time in cages in shelters or who have certain kinds of illnesses.[30]

Newkirk has had celebrity friends and admirers who have spoken highly of her. Sam Simon said in an interview: "I learned about animal rights from my favorite person in the whole world, Ingrid Newkirk at PETA."[28] Also, Alec Baldwin contributed the following blurb to Newkirk's book Making Kind Choices: "Ingrid Newkirk is not only a thoughtful animal rights and environmental activist. She is an inspirational leader. A heroine. A woman upon whom so many depend, around the world, for information and guidance. In a world where all animals, everywhere, are more threatened than ever, Ingrid Newkirk is their champion."[29]

In this business I am very easy to cubby hole. As someone said to me the other day—they had seen the HBO special—and they said, "Are you really a sad obsessed person?" And I thought, No, I'm not really a sad person, except when I lie awake at night in winter thinking about all the animals out without shelter, and then I'm sad! Who wouldn't be? Wouldn't anybody be sad if they have a heart? It's just that I've seen so much.[25]

Elsewhere, Newkirk has said:

Specter also questioned her about a 2003 letter that she wrote to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to protest the use of a donkey as a suicide bomber. "We are named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals," she replied. "There are plenty of other groups that worry about the humans."[5]

Newkirk is well read, and she can be witty. When she is not proselytizing, denouncing, or attacking the ninety-nine per cent of humanity that sees the world differently from the way she does, she is good company. After years of detestable public behavior, however, she has the popular image of a monster. Whenever I mentioned her name to friends, they would recoil. And she becomes more disliked with every peta stunt; she can't walk through an airport without accosting any woman who is wearing fur. She no longer takes vacations in tropical or poor countries like Mexico, because "I spend the whole time rescuing animals from their horrid owners."[5]

Newkirk and her cause provoke strong feelings, both positive and negative. Specter, a meat-eater who did not see eye to eye with her, wrote:

Newkirk and Matthew Galkin, who directed I Am an Animal, the story of Newkirk's life[27]

Public image

She has been accused of having had advance knowledge of one ALF action. During the 1995 trial of Rod Coronado, in connection with an arson attack at Michigan State University (MSU), U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer alleged that Newkirk had arranged, in advance of the attack, to have Coronado send her stolen documents from the university and a videotape of the action.[26]

I do support getting animals out in the same way I would have supported getting human slaves out, child labor, sex slaves, the whole lot. But I don't support burning. I don't support arson. I would rather that these buildings weren't standing, so on some level I understand. I just don't like the idea of that. Maybe that is wishy-washy of me, because I don't want those buildings standing if they are going to hurt anyone. And the ALF has never hurt mice nor mare.[25]

Newkirk has been criticized for publicizing actions carried out in the name of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). She supports the goals of the ALF, arguing that "Not until black demonstrators resorted to violence did the national government work seriously for civil rights legislation ... In 1850 white abolitionists, having given up on peaceful means, began to encourage and engage in actions that disrupted plantation operations and liberated slaves. Was that all wrong?"[8] She has said that she understands, but shrinks from, actions that involve arson:

Attitude toward the ALF

Newkirk and Pacheco found themselves thrust overnight into the public eye. The images of the restrained animals became iconic after The Washington Post published one of them on its front page.[24] It was the first police raid on an animal-research facility in the U.S. and the first conviction (subsequently overturned) of an animal researcher. The controversy led to an amendment to the 1985 Animal Welfare Act, became the first animal-rights case to be heard before the United States Supreme Court, and established PETA as an internationally known animal-rights group, with Newkirk as its outspoken president.[17]

Pacheco repeatedly went into the lab at night to take photographs and to escort scientists, including veterinarians and a primatologist, through it to secure their testimony.[21] Newkirk lay crouched on the back seat of a car outside, hidden under a large cardboard box with holes for her eyes, using a walkie-talkie from a toy store to alert Pacheco if anyone else entered the building.[22] The monkeys' living conditions documented by Pacheco were graphically disturbing. Having collected the evidence, Newkirk and Pacheco alerted the police, who raided the lab, removed the monkeys, and charged Taub with 113 counts of cruelty to animals and six counts of failing to provide adequate veterinary care. Taub maintained that he had been set up by Newkirk and Pacheco while he was on vacation and that several of the photographs had been staged. The judge found Taub guilty of six counts of cruelty to animals for failing to provide adequate veterinary care and fined him $3,000. A later jury trial saw five of these counts dismissed, and the sixth was overturned on appeal because of a technicality.[23] The National Institutes of Health, which had funded Taub's research, was among the scientists and other professionals who criticized the conditions in which Taub had kept the monkeys, though the NIH later reversed its decision when the charges against Taub were overturned.[19]

In the summer of 1981, Pacheco took a job as a volunteer inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, so that he and Newkirk would have some firsthand knowledge on which to base their campaigns. Edward Taub, a psychologist, was working there on 17 monkeys. He had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to their arms and legs, then used physical restraint, electric shock, and withholding of food to force them to use the limbs. The idea was to see whether monkeys could be induced to use limbs they could not feel.[20]

The case of the Silver Spring monkeys, an animal-research controversy that lasted ten years, transformed PETA from just Newkirk, Pacheco, and a small group of friends into an international movement.[19]

One of the Silver Spring monkeys in a restraint chair

Silver Spring monkeys

[18] The concept of animal rights was at that time almost unheard of in the U.S. The modern

In 1980, Newkirk met Alex Pacheco in a D.C. shelter where he was working as a volunteer. It was Pacheco who introduced Newkirk to the concept of animal rights. Pacheco presented her with a copy of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation (1975). She has said that Singer had put into words what she had felt intuitively for a long time, and she called Pacheco "Alex the Abdul," a name given to messengers in Muslim stories.[15]

Alex Pacheco

Founding of PETA

Newkirk's work with PETA

She blew the whistle on the shelter and became an animal-protection officer, first for Montgomery County, Maryland, then for the District of Columbia. She became D.C.'s first female poundmaster, persuading the city to fund veterinary services and to set up an adoption program, an investigations department, and a pet sterilization program.[15] By 1976, she was head of the animal-disease-control division of the District of Columbia Commission on Public Health.[5]

I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, "John is kicking the dogs and putting them into freezers." Or I would say, "They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don't care." In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn't stand to let them go through that. I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day. Some of those people would take pleasure in making them suffer. Driving home every night, I would cry just thinking about it. And I just felt, to my bones, this cannot be right.[5]

Newkirk took a job in the kennels, witnessing the mistreatment of the animals, including physical abuse. Kathy Snow Guillermo writes that Newkirk disinfected kennels by day, and by night studied animal care, animal behavior, and animal-cruelty investigations.[15]

When I arrived at the shelter, the woman said, "Come in the back and we will just put them down there." ... I thought, How nice—you will set them up with a place to live. So I waited out front for a while, and then I asked if I could go back and see them, and the woman just looked at me and said, "What are you talking about? They are all dead." I just snapped when I heard those kittens were dead. The woman was so rude. The place was a junk heap in the middle of nowhere. It couldn't have been more horrible. For some reason, and even now I don't know what it was, I decided I needed to do something about it. So I thought, I'm going to work here.[5]

Until she was 22, Newkirk had given no thought to animals rights or even vegetarianism. In 1970, she and her husband moved to Poolesville, Maryland, where she studied to become a stockbroker. A neighbor abandoned some kittens, and Newkirk decided to take them to an animal shelter. She told Specter:

Introduction to animal protection

When she was eighteen, her father joined the United States Air Force and the family moved to Florida, where he worked on designing bombing systems. It was there that she met her husband, Steve Newkirk; the couple divorced in 1980. He introduced her to Formula One racing, which—along with sumo wrestling—remains one of her great passions, according to The New Yorker: "It's sex. The first time you hear them rev their engines, my God! That noise goes straight up my spine."[5]

Newkirk helped her mother out in the leper colony—packing pills and rolling bandages, stuffing toys for orphans, and feeding strays—and says that this informed her view that anyone in need, including animals, was worthy of concern, along with her mother's advice that it doesn't matter who suffers, but how.[13] She tells the story of an early experience of trying to rescue an animal, when she heard laughter in the alleyway behind the family home in New Delhi. A group of people had bound a dog's legs, muzzled him, then lowered him into a muddy ditch, laughing as they watched him try to escape. Newkirk asked her servant to bring the dog to her, and tried to get him to drink some water, but someone had packed his throat with mud, and he died in her arms. She told the Financial Times that it was a turning point.[14]

Newkirk was born in Britain, where she lived in the Orkney Islands and in Ware, Hertfordshire. Her father was a navigational engineer, and when she was seven, the family moved to New Delhi, India, where her father worked for the government, while her mother volunteered for Mother Teresa in a leper colony and a home for unwed mothers. Newkirk attended a convent boarding school in the Himalayas for well-to-do Indian nationals and non-natives. "It was the done thing for a British girl in India," she told Michael Specter for The New Yorker. "But I was the only British girl in this school. I was hit constantly by nuns, starved by nuns. The whole God thing was shoved right down my throat."[5]

Newkirk talking to Wikinews about herself and her legacy

Early life



  • Background 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Introduction to animal protection 1.2
  • Newkirk's work with PETA 2
    • Founding of PETA 2.1
    • Silver Spring monkeys 2.2
    • Attitude toward the ALF 2.3
    • Public image 2.4
  • Works 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Although PETA takes a gradualist approach to improving animal welfare, Newkirk remains committed to ending animal use and the idea that, as PETA's slogan says, "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment."[5] Some animal rights abolitionists, most notably Gary Francione, have criticized PETA, calling it and other groups "the new welfarists."[6] Some members of the animal advocacy movement have responded that Francione's position is unnecessarily divisive.[7] Newkirk has also been criticized for her support of actions carried out in the name of the Animal Liberation Front. Newkirk's position is that the animal rights movement is a revolutionary one and that "[t]hinkers may prepare revolutions, but bandits must carry them out."[8] PETA itself, however, "maintains a creed of nonviolence and does not advocate actions in which anyone, human or nonhuman, is injured."[9] Newkirk and PETA have also been criticized for euthanizing many of the animals taken into PETA's shelters,[10] and PETA has responded to this line of criticism.[11]

Newkirk founded PETA in March 1980 with fellow animal rights activist [4] "We are complete press sluts", she told The New Yorker in 2003. "It is our obligation. We would be worthless if we were just polite and didn't make any waves."[5]

Newkirk has worked for the animal-protection movement since 1972. Under her leadership in the 1970s as the District of Columbia's first female poundmaster, legislation was passed to create the first spay/neuter clinic in Washington, D.C., as well as an adoption program and the public funding of veterinary services, leading her to be among those chosen in 1980 as Washingtonians of the Year.[2]

(2009). The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble (2005) and Making Kind Choices She is the author of several books, including [1]

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