aka People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

In the 1990's, PETA began launching an ongoing series of publicity stunts, controversial ad campaigns and attention-grabbing missives that border on the brilliant.


11 Jun 1949 Ingrid Newkirk born in England.
1976 Animal Liberation Front (ALF) Founded.
1978 Alex Pacheco visits a slaughterhouse while visiting a friend in Toronto and witnesses workers slicing open a pregnant sow and playing catch with the fetuses, inspiring him to become a vegetarian on the spot.
1979 Animal Liberation Front (ALF) registers as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Jun 1979 Alex Pacheco, 19, serves as a crewman on the Sea Shepherd, a ship outfitted with ten tons of concrete on its front, which is used to ram the whaling ship Sierra off the coast of the Azores. (There is some dispute as to whether Pacheco was on the ship at the time of the actual ramming.)
Jul 1980 PETA organization founded by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
21 Feb 1988 "In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether." - Ingrid Newkirk, in Newsday
Aug 1988 "I don't use the word 'pet.' I think it's specieist language. I prefer 'companion animal.' For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding ... as the surplus of cats and dogs declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship - enjoyment at a distance." - Ingrid Newkirk, in Harpers Magazine
Jun 1990 "Humans have grown like a cancer. We're the biggest blight on the face of the earth." - Ingrid Newkirk, in Reader's Digest
Sep 1995 Mike Doughney registers the PETA.ORG domain name and puts up a site with cooking recipies called "People Eating Tasty Animals". The humor/parody site includes veiled references to PETA and their politics.
26 Mar 1996 PETA contacts the InterNIC and demands that the domain name be transferred to them from Mike Doughney, who is running a "People Eating Tasty Animals" site. The InterNIC places the domain on hold pending an investigation.
Mar 1998 PETA, two years after bringing complaint against PETA.ORG for dilution of trademark and misleading users, registers RINGLINGBROTHERS.COM and VOGUEMAGAZINE.COM and puts up sites criticizing the circus' treatment of animals and the magazine's printing of fur ads. They are eventually contacted by both organizations (Ringling Brothers, in the form of a lawsuit) and take down the sites.
Mar 1999 PETA launches their "Jesus was a Vegetarian" campaign, in which they claim that Jesus was a member of the Essenes, who followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices. Scripture doesn't agree with this, Jesus having eaten Fish and other meats on several occasions.
Oct 1999 In a press release, PETA declares this "Slam McDonald's Month."
Oct 1999 PETA Co-founder Alex Pacheco resigns.
13 Mar 2000 PETA launches their "Got Beer?" campaign in which they encourage college students to drink beer instead of milk. Citing Beer's lack of fat, cholesterol and hormones, PETA claims that a glass of beer is more healthy than a glass of milk. The campaign is timed to coincide with St. Patrick's Day celebrations being held later in the week, and PETA claims they will have ads in campus newspapers with their new slogan. Among the other items associated with the promotion are bottle openers with the slogan "Drink Responsibly. Don't Drink Milk." A firestorm of controversy immediately erupts, including a condemnation from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) who call the campaign irresponsible.
17 Mar 2000 PETA declares an quick end to their "Got Beer?" campaign citing complains from MADD and other groups. They promise to send MADD a $500 donation and a link from their website.
3 Apr 2000 PETA demonstrators burn a McDonald's flag on the steps of the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah.
19 Jun 2000 The PETA.ORG domain name is granted to PETA in a court decision that says that Webmaster Michael Doughney's "People Eating Tasty Animals" site represented Cybersquatting and Trademark Dilution. Doughney is ordered to turn over the domain name.
Feb 2001 PETA declares March 2001 "Murder King Month of Action" and calls for protests against Burger King.
20 Mar 2001 PETA writes a letter to Warden Harley Lappin of the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., asking that Timothy McVeigh's remaining meals before his May execution date be vegetarian. "Please don't let Timothy McVeigh be responsible for the death of even one more living being."
30 Mar 2001 During the hoof and mouth disease outbreak in Europe, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk calls for mass animal deaths on both sides of the Atlantic: "If that hideousness came here, it wouldn't be any more hideous for the animals-- they are all bound for a ghastly death anyway. But it would wake up consumers." Later, she continues: "I openly hope it [hoof and mouth disease] comes here. It will bring economic harm only for those who profit from giving people heart attacks and giving animals a concentration camp-like existence. It would be good for animals, good for human health and good for the environment." Note that such an outbreak would bring the deaths of millions of animals, including those not used for slaughter, such as dairy cows. BBC interview.
Apr 2001 Rebuffed by Timothy McVeigh's warden, PETA writes a letter directly to the Oklahoma City Bomber, asking him to switch away from meat, and in fact asking him to not just go vegetarian, but go vegan. McVeigh writes a return letter, making several salient points and statements: "Truth is, I understand your cause - I've seen slaughter houses myself - but I still believe in reasonable taking and eating of game (as an outdoorsman and hunter)... I cannot sustain a prolonged intellectual debate on the subject as my time is short, but I'd suggest hitting Ted Kaczynski up for his opinions on the subject." Also: "Where do you draw the line and what standard is used to define that line? Those that are in it for the health benefits accept poultry and fish as edible. Where do those opposed to suffering stand? (Ever see a fish struggling out of water?) What about grubs/worms/etc.? And finally, plants are alive too," he continued. "They react to stimuli (including pain); have circulation systems, etc. So how about them?"
11 Jun 2001 Timothy McVeigh chooses as his last meal two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. (Not Vegan since it contained dairy, but Vegetarian, technically.) In an interview with the Financial Times that appears two days later, PETA Coordinator Bruce Friedrich says "Mr. McVeigh's decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world's greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, all of whom advocated vegetarianism as an extension of humanitarianism." (This is an exact duplicate of a statement in a letter sent to McVeigh's warden asking his remaining meals be made Vegetarian.)
Jul 2001 PETA launches their "Wicked Wendy's" Campaign, in which they target the hamburger fast-food chain for their animal practices. The approach is similar to previous campaigns against McDonald's and Burger King: phone calls, demonstrations, website.
Sep 2002 Peta re-launches their "Got Beer?" campaign which they had previously withdrawn in March of 2000. There are no changes to the campaign in terms of message, artwork, or promotional bottle openers. Ads with the slogan and the claim that it is better and healthier for college students to drink beer than milk appear in college newspapers.
20 Sep 2002 MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) issues a press release condemning PETA's newest "Got Beer?" campaign, calling it "irresponsible" and Medically wrong, saying that actually, yes, drinking beer is more dangerous than drinking milk, especially if the drinkers are underage.
Feb 2003 PETA launches the "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign, a travelling tour which juxtaposes images of Holocaust victims with pictures of animals being sent to slaughter.
11 Oct 2003 PETA stages a protest outside the Mirage casino in Las Vegas, calling for Siegfried and Roy to retire their tigers and construct a sanctuary for them.

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