Ingrid Newkirk was studying in the US to become a stockbroker but after trying to leave some abandoned kittens in a shelter, she was horrified by the conditions and even more horrified when she discovered what happened to most of the animals.
Newkirk met Alex Pacheco at George Washington University. He also volunteered at the shelter. They moved in together and Newkirk convinced Pacheco to form the non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 1980.
The group became well-known only a year later after disputing how monkeys were used in research. Pacheco went to the laboratory at night, taking photographs that showed the monkeys living in what the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research’s ILAR Journal called “filthy conditions.” He passed his photographs to the police, who raided the lab and arrested Taub. Taub was convicted of six counts of cruelty to animals, the first such conviction in the United States of an animal researcher; the conviction, though, was overturned on appeal.
PETA operates an animals rights platform that opposes using animals in any way, including for food, clothing, labor, entertainment, or research.
The organization is known for its aggressive media campaigns, which some say have hurt the organization more that it has helped animals.
PETA is also asking Americans to give turkeys a break and have a ThanksVegan celebration in 2021.
PETA maintains a corporate office in Norfolk, Virginia.