Conservation Influencers

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

USA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an extremist US-based animal rights group that was founded in 1980 by the British-born Ingrid Ward and American-born Alexander Pacheco. PETA opposes, what it calls, ‘speciesism’. That’s an ideology premised on the concept of ‘human supremacism’, which views humanity’s rights as being more important or superior to those of animals.

Heavily influenced by the thinking of the Australian ethicist Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation (1975), PETA opposes all forms of humanity’s exploitation of animals. This means, for example, that it opposes domestic control measures that involve the eradication of pests, including rats, mice, cockroaches and all other forms of bugs. According to PETA’s worldview, even ‘shearing sheep equates to stealing’, and anyone who buys products with wool in them ‘supports a cruel and bloody industry’. 

But PETA is not a marginal outlier in the realm of animal welfare and animal rights NGOs. It is in fact, as it claims on its website, ‘the largest animal rights organization in the world’, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters. It regularly leads or supports the work of other animal rights and welfare NGOs. For example, PETA supports Humane Society International’s relatively moderate manifesto for animals in the UK, which is backed by 40 leading animal rights NGOs, including IFAW, Environmental Investigation Agency, Born Free and the RSPCA. 

PETA claims to be opposed to violence. But it maintains close links with the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front (ELF), including by providing financial donations. (See: Eco-terrorism specifically examining the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Committee on Environment and Public Works, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress.)

Leaders

Ingrid Newkirk, President.

Governance

Executive Board, led by Ingrid Newkirk, President.

Finance

According to PETA’s website, its revenues in 2019 were $50,871,312 and its operating expenditure was $55,974,945.

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.

Featured

Franz Weber Foundation

From 1990 until 2015, Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) managed the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, which was, according to an in-depth investigation by Duke University, ‘established by forcing the local communities off their land and without taking into consideration their point of view’. That same study cited convincing evidence from reports published in 1990, confirming that competition for land use was already ‘creating conflict between the local communities and park managers’. In 2015, Togo refused to renew FFW’s contract because, the report says, ‘local communities were still excluded from the management of the natural resources of their land’ and FFW had ‘failed to fulfil its contract’. Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. Contrary to the wishes of the range states in Southern Africa, which manage most of the world’s wild elephant populations, the AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And the AEC uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair, which Southern African nations wish to legalise.

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