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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the fur trade, and in the entertainment industry. PETA also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and direct action.

Programs:   PETA receives complaints of cruelty to animals; works for the release of and obtains care for abused, neglected, and at-risk animals; investigates cruelty cases; gathers evidence of law violations; and takes action to ensure the enforcement of laws and regulations in an effort to protect the animals involved. Among other highlights of fiscal year 2009, we publicized the results of our undercover investigation into Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where we documented workers beating and whipping elephants dozens of times in venues across the country. PETA’s undercover investigation showing workers kicking, beating, jabbing, and slamming piglets against the floor at an Iowa Hormel supplier resulted in 22 criminal charges, and our undercover footage of workers stomping, kicking, throwing, and inhumanely killing turkeys at Aviagen's factory farms in West Virginia resulted in 19 indictments for cruelty—the first time in U.S. history that factory-farm employees have faced felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds. We also aided in bringing many other animal abusers to justice, including a New York State Thoroughbred breeder accused of starving and neglecting 177 horses, and two Texas men charged with shooting and killing a dog.

We were victorious in a lawsuit to stop the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) from granting licenses to animal shelters that employ gas chambers, a cruel form of “euthanasia” used to kill cats and dogs, and were instrumental in having the Clay County Animal Control in Florida cited for performing an experiment in which a dog was left in a sweltering car to see if he would suffer from heatstroke. We worked with law enforcement officials to humanely euthanize a suffering “downed” cow; got help for 30 dogs who were being kept in mud-filled pens in South Carolina; and rescued a 140-year-old lobster who had been confined to a tank inside a New York City restaurant. We also operated our highly successful spay-and-neuter program, which makes surgeries available at little to no cost to disadvantaged animal guardians, preventing thousands of unwanted litters and providing relief to overburdened, government-run animal control offices and local animal shelters.


PETA conducts educational campaigns and publishes materials that are distributed to students, teachers, the general public, and supporters. Major publications include materials made available through our programs for younger children, high school and college students, and educators as well as publications such as factsheets, booklets, fliers, posters, and PETA’s magazine, Animal Times. Campaigns involve renowned celebrities, extensive media attention, interactive Web site features that reach millions of viewers, and public service announcements, which are typically placed for free in high-exposure outlets.


PETA organizes campaigns to inform the public about, among other things, how animals are abused in the food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment industries. Among other events in fiscal year 2009, PETA pressured Bolivia to enact their first animal protection regulation against horrific military training exercises; convinced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discontinue testing a sweetener derived from stevia on rats; prompted the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) to ban the use of anabolic steroids for all racehorses and "snapper" whips for harness racing;persuaded Zappos.com, JCPenney, and Urban Outfitters to go fur-free; persuaded the University of Connecticut Health Center, and a Florida medical conference to stop torturing and killing animals in outdated medical training e

Community Stories

52 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

My problem with PETA involves the local work they do rounding up and euthanizing stray pets. They are responsible for the killing of thousands of dogs and cats either directly in the back of vans or by delivering these pets to local high kill shelters. Most recently there have been stories of these animals being killed and loaded into dumpsters. They also are against TNR for feral cat colonies. They seem to prefer to kill dogs and cats without blinking an eye as if to say it's better to be dead than rehomed or taken to a reputable rescue. They certainly have the money to start their own no kill shelters and low cost spay programs. I acknowledge that they do some good work, but I won't give them another dime of my money!

2 Hilary14

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Five years ago, I was an uninformed animal lover who wanted to help animals in need. I knew of PETA through its campaign ads but didn't know much about its inner workings, or how PETA compared to other animal rights/welfare organizations. I was in graduate school at Stanford University and ended up writing a 100 page thesis titled "Ingrid Newkirk and Her Critics." (Newkirk is the co-founder and President of PETA.) After thorough evaluation, I found PETA to be by far the most effective animal rights group. It has helped persuade more people around the world to treat animals with compassion than any other organization. I know I do the most good for suffering animals when I donate to PETA.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a child I knew about PETA's efforts to be a voice to all animals and this mission seem to resonate throughout my life. I am 50 now and have been a vegan for 30 yrs, because I am reminded by PETA's cause that animals are not ours to be used for food, clothing , sports and experiments. Their years of dedication of helping animals and educating humans has taught me that it does not take much to be kind to animals, PETA taught me to have Mercy and Compassion so I am proud to be vegan not because it was a choice but because it is the right thing to do. PETA has done amazing work to help all animals all over the world - so glad that they are a voice and speak for animals - I am glad that I heard that voice. Because of PETA, I now support many animal organizations and educate humans on why I am vegan.

2 Stewart D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I somehow got onto PETA's mailing list in the mid-1980's, and was horrified at the things I learned. I was previously unaware of much of the egregious abuse commonly inflicted upon animals, and that most of the cruelties are routine and legal. This information led me to bring my lifestyle in line with my ethical beliefs, and I will be forever grateful. I have now been a PETA member, volunteer, and vegan for almost 30 years. I am very proud of the time I spent advocating for animals alongside PETA. I have never been around such a great bunch of dedicated individuals, and I believe much of the reason is because of the example set by the co-founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk. Her incredible work ethic and integrity are undeniable and infectious. It became clear once I got to know Ms. Newkirk that what is important to her is the welfare of the animals, not the promotion of the organization or an increase to her bank account. She accepts only minimal compensation, which is is quite rare these days. So many non-profit executives seem much too interested in self-promotion and personal enrichment.

My only complaint about PETA is that I wish they would spend more time explaining the numerous ways they work on behalf animals. Many people know of the organization only because of some of the attention-getting antics. I totally support those antics and have often taken part; they are necessary to call attention to the plight of animals that would otherwise be ignored. But unknown to many are the number of scientists, PhD's, attorneys, and other dedicated professionals on staff who are working around the globe on so many levels to make the world a less cruel place for animals. Thanks to the work of PETA, many abusive practices that were once routine and commonplace have been relegated to the history books. The incredible accomplishments that have been achieved by PETA are even more remarkable in light of the fact that the organization is less than 40 years old. No group in the world has done more for animals than PETA.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff at PETA and founder Ingrid Newkirk are the most courageous people I've ever met. No animal is too small or too large to protect! They are available 24/7 to help the animals and will never let them down or the people who reach out for help. They are strong and determined and work with great professionalism. I've received calls from PETA asking for help in my city, to: rescue a pigeon stuck high in a tree and a mouse stuck in a glue trap. The list goes on. Not only are they strong in the USA but around the world. They've rescued animals who've fallen into deep wells in India, street dogs who've had no one there to protect them. Right now, they are rescuing animals from the floods in Louisiana. Their motto says it all - "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse in any way." I've never been more proud to support such an exceptional organization. They have my deepest respect and admiration. May they go on forever until not one animal is suffering. Thank you, PETA!!

3 laurafrisk

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I believe that PETA is the greatest animal-rights organization in the world and they only have the animal's best interest at heart. I have been a PETA supporter for many, many years. Over those years I have found myself living more compassionately, less selfishly, and in general I have evolved into a kinder person. I have been able to, by my example, convince many friends and family members that animals are not ours to exploit. I have seen changes in many venues that used to abuse animals, because of PETA's tenacity, activism, and drive to do only what is best for the animals.

I have Ingrid Newkirk and her organization to thank for that. Because of PETA, many animals will sleep better tonight. And those that aren't, are waiting for PETA to come and help them. I wholeheartedly support PETA, for they are helping those who have no voice to help themselves, the animals.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organizations raises awareness of animal abuse. Newkirk ,the founder , is a dedicated voice for the voiceless . Using unorthodox methods to obtain the maximum publicity worldwide for farm animals, animals used in entertainment, and animals in labs. Super job spreading the word

Review from Guidestar

9 APK62

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PETA has a bad reputation when it comes to rumors, such as their animal shelter, but you have to consider that they are involved with rescues involving animals in the greatest form of neglect and cruelty. The animals that they can save they do, but most of the animals they rescue from horrible cruelty cases are simply too far gone, and it's better to alleviate the pain, than have an animal endure it just for the small possibility survival. They do great work with getting petitions going, unearthing cruelty to animals, and getting the job done. Although they are international, meaning the money you donate will also go to the people working there, it will also go to helping animals and fighting cruelty!

5 conserve

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PETA is not scared to be out there and expose, protest and draw attention to abusers. As a continual supporter, I receive their Animal Times magazine. This is very informative and showcases what they are working on, wins, works in progress, etc. Their goal is to end ALL animal abuse, whatever it might take. How can you not support this. Thanks PETA.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

PETA is a pretty bad charity. For some reason, they like to use the "scare" method of getting you involved. They make it difficult for anyone who tries to make a difference in this field. They at least deserve a major chunk of credit for bringing this issue to light, but they go about it the wrong way.

But, you know what? Screw them for preaching how important these animals are with ads like "You wouldn't eat your dog, why eat a turkey?" and then going around and killing off all these other animals. You know what, PETA? I was going to be more civil about this, but I don't see how putting effort and funds into making an attack on apparent "virtual animal cruelty" while you don't fund properly. Pretty much everyone know who PETA is; there's really not a need to preach anymore when they don't even care for the dogs they take in. I recently saw an interview on CBS with PETA involved and their reasons are sorry assed excuses: "We take in a lot of animals that are sick, aggressive or old that just can't be adopted out." But, really? My dog was aggressive, and just plain nasty when we adopted him, but with a bit of work, he's the best dog ever. He's loyal and all that. Who won't adopt old animals? I know hundreds of people that would! I've adopted a twelve year old dog who PETA would've put down just because she's old. She's the sweetest dog and I can't bear to stand that this spoof of a charity just puts dogs down because they're old. And if they're sick, here's a crazy idea, take them to the vet! Seriously, they have enough money to DO the work, they just find the problems in everyone else. FOR PETA, A TASTE OF YOUR OWN MEDICINE: "You wouldn't kill your grandmother, why kill older animals?"

If you're looking for a trustworthy charity for animals, try AWI or Farm Sanctuary. There, you actually help the animals rather than splattering paint on peoples' clothes.

And I'm sorry if I come off too harsh, but I'm holding back a lot more. This charity's a lemon. Go somewhere else with your money. If you would like more information on where I get these facts, just type in "PETA PROS & CONS" or "PETA KILLS ANIMALS". You're sure to find more than enough information.

Comments ( 1 )


ScottV 04/16/2013

PETA's creative ads counter massive industry advertising that promotes consumption of flesh from animals raised in cruel factory farms. PETA is simply asking that people think about the roles their eating habits play. We can all help reduce the amount of pain and suffering in this world by going vegetarian. Please visit http://www.PETA.org/issues/Animals-Used-For-Food/default.aspx for a free vegetarian starter kit for yourself or a friend. Clearly, you don't volunteer with a local open-admission shelter. Millions of homeless animals are euthanized in animal shelters and veterinary offices across America because of simple math: too many animals, not enough suitable homes. As many as 8 million animals flood U.S. animal shelters annually, and half of them must be euthanized. Even if those 8 million animals could be placed with loving families, there would be 8 million more the next year and the year after that. To read about what PETA is doing to help unwanted animals in their own backyard and why they must euthanize some animals, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-newkirk/euthanasia-we-wont-run-fr_b_3036311.html, and visit the following links: • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2012/02/20/a-gentle-hand-for-the-toughest-cases.aspx • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2012/02/17/meet-some-of-the-animals-peta-helped-in-2011.aspx • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2012/02/16/pepper-s-story-justice-for-a-forgotten-victim.aspx • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/02/03/an-open-door-for-animals-in-need.aspx • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/02/01/the-stories-behind-the-statistics.aspx • http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2010/02/11/will-you-nip-just-one-birthing-machine-in-the-bud.aspx •http://www.PETA.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2010/02/12/placing-the-blame-where-it-belongs.aspx As for the websites you cite, a lot of the misleading and outright false rumors that are spread concerning our efforts are the work of the deceitfully named “Center for Consumer Freedom” (CCF), a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters who kill millions of animals every year—not out of compassion, but out of greed. To learn more about CCF—whose website USA Today said should be renamed “FatforProfit.com”—please see the following websites: • http://www.ConsumerDeception.com • http://www.citizensforethics.org/legal-filings/entry/irs-complaint-against-center-for-consumer-freedom-tax-exempt • http://prospect.org/article/bermans-battle • http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/us/politics/18berman.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1310490040-rGzoElznpxXMPZtmzw6L2g • http://bermanexposed.org/facts#consumerfreedom