Animal Protection & Welfare,
Wildlife Preservation & Protection
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 experiment on, eat, wear, 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: in laboratories, on cruel dairy, egg, and meat farms, 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.
Geographic areas served: North America and worldwide
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. PETA organizes campaigns to inform the public about, among other things, how animals are abused in the experimentation, food, clothing, and entertainment industries. In 2020, PETA achieved these milestones: We persuaded Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer to stop using the meaningless forced swim test, in which terrified animals paddle frantically in inescapable beakers of water to keep from drowning. To date, we’ve persuaded 14 companies—including seven of the top 10 pharmaceutical giants—to ban this test.• After working with PETA, Avon Products, Inc., stopped all tests on animals everywhere in the world, and Suave, Aussie, and Secret joined our list of companies and brands (now totaling more than 4,800) that don’t test on animals.• PETA is the largest member of the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd., which funded research resulting in the creation of an antitoxin produced without using animals that could be commercially developed to treat diphtheria. The Science Consortium also helped fund the development of EpiAlveolar—a first-of-its-kind, human cell–based model of the deepest part of the lungs—and led the development of an international guidance document on using non-animal methods for studying the effects of chemicals without forcing animals to inhale them.
Among PETA’s other accomplishments in 2020 were helping to get critical provisions of North Carolina’s “ag-gag” law declared unconstitutional; persuading Dairy Queen, Denny’s, Mooyah, and other restaurant chains to add vegan options; and helping to get the sale of foie gras banned in New York City.
PETA released a landmark investigation of the alpaca trade in Peru—the world’s top alpaca fleece producer—showing horrific abuse during shearing. We have since persuaded numerous companies—including UNIQLO (the world’s third-largest clothing retailer), Columbia Sportswear Company, Esprit, and Overstock.com—to ban alpaca. After hearing from PETA, NARS Cosmetics and Kugo—the parent company of RoyalShave, Pomades, and TheStache.com—banned badger hair. Following discussions with PETA, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Nordstrom, and Jil Sander confirmed that they’ve stopped using exotic skins—sparing countless alligators, crocodiles, ostriches, kangaroos, lizards, and snakes immense suffering.
Following pressure from PETA, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission implemented rules to prevent horses from running while injured.• As a result of our pressure, SeaWorld will no longer make trainers surf on dolphins’ backs and stand on their faces. • As a result of a PETA lawsuit, Dade City’s Wild Things (DCWT)—a seedy Florida roadside zoo—was permanently banned from possessing endangered tigers. It subsequently shut down.• To date, PETA has freed 75 big cats and 73 bears from desolate roadside zoos or decrepit backyard cages. This year’s rescues include an ailing Asiatic black bear saved from life in a cramped cage at a Pennsylvania shooting range, a lion and two tigers from the Tri-State Zoo, and all the tigers remaining at DCWT. All are thriving at accredited, bucolic sanctuaries.• After decades of work by PETA, no more chimpanzees are being used in Hollywood films or television
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, PETA Global. 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.