PETA’s Best Protest Photos of 2023

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At PETA, we go all out to defend animals. Our eye-catching public demonstrations are an important part of this: They propel animals’ needs and interests into the public conversation, and most importantly, they get results.

Now Serving Grilled … ‘Baby’?!

people look on as PETA member barbecues baby doll with prop vegetables

On Good Friday, a PETA supporter served up food for thought in Jacksonville, Florida, by barbecuing a lifelike “baby” and vegetables. Other animal defenders handed out vegan starter kits and held signs reading, “Leave Babies Off the BBQ. Go Vegan!”

The meat industry robs animals of their lives for food when they’re just months or years old, a small fraction of their natural life expectancy. Every animal is someone’s baby.

Naked ‘Monkeys’ Barreled Onto Harvard Football Field

nearly nude peta protestor covered in what seems to be dirt and ash holds a sign reading "harvard end monkey tests" in a packed football stadium. stadium workers are convened in front of the protestor.

Touchdown! Two PETA supporters bodypainted as macaques, wearing “tails,” and holding signs that read, “Harvard: End Monkey Tests!” stormed the field during the 2023 Harvard-Yale football game. Police took them away, but only after their mission was complete.

Margaret Livingstone has spent 40 years failing to produce human treatments from her torturous research— which has included separating infants from their mothers and sewing their eyes shut—but PETA’s “monkeys” managed to stir up conversation about Harvard University’s foolish endorsement of her lab in only a few minutes.

‘Dead Dolphins’ Flooded Downtown Orlando

On “Boycott SeaWorld” Day, a pod of PETA supporters in dolphin masks and “fins” gathered for a die-in in the heart of downtown Orlando, Florida. Each protester held a sign bearing the name and age of a dolphin who died in a SeaWorld abusement park.

We encouraged would-be SeaWorld attendees to boycott the wretched hellhole and reminded Orlando residents about the daily suffering of animals imprisoned at the facility.

Free Beer for Freedom From Mutilation!

horse masked protesters in a row with signs against budweiser

On Budweiser’s 90th anniversary of mutilating Clydesdale horses, PETA’s “horses” protested at the company’s flagship brewery by handing out cans of ale from St. Louis–based 4 Hands Brewing Company. Armed with signs proclaiming, “Budweiser Has Blood on Its Cans,” they called the company out for mutilating the horses it purported to celebrate.

2023 victory! Anheuser-Busch InBev—the parent company of iconic American beer brand Budweiser—agreed to stop cutting the tailbones off its Clydesdale horses in September.

The Council of Animals Convened on the National Mall

animal sculpture in DC showing angular metal animal sculptures with a backdrop of the US Capitol building. from left to right: polar bear, elephant, rhinoceros with a bird on their back, and at a podium with a microphone appearing to dictate to the three, a meerkat.

If animals could speak in a language that humans could understand, what would they say to us? For two months, the groundbreaking exhibit The Council of Animals (What to Do About the Humans) challenged everyone in Washington, D.C., to reflect on this urgent question. The installation included a recorded speech voiced by Battlestar Galactica and Academy Award–nominated actor Edward James Olmos.

The multimedia exhibit, created in collaboration with artist Quill Hyde and located just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, was a call to the country’s leaders and the public that we must learn to coexist peacefully with our fellow animals and not to exploit them, which means acting on the realization that their lives and interests matter.

‘Dogs’ in Coffins Greeted Iditarod Mushers at the Starting Line

four protestors outside in jackets, two of whom have dog masks and coffin costumes on reading a short eulogy for dogs who died in the Iditarod.

PETA supporters were at all three of the 2023 Iditarod’s weekend events—the Mushers Banquet, the Ceremonial Start, and the Willow Restart—protesting and spreading awareness of the plight of dogs used for the race. Equipped with signs and accompanied by PETA “dogs,” who stood in coffins displaying the names and stories of real dogs who had died during the race, our protesters ensured that every spectator knew that more than 150 of them had died in the Iditarod to date.

‘Beamish’ Confronted His Tormentor at Vanderbilt University

a monkey mascot in a row with other protestors all holding signs

A troop of protesters, including one representing Beamish the monkey, rallied at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, to expose the pain and trauma inflicted on primates in the laboratory of experimenter Elisabeth Murray, who was scheduled to give a talk in a building nearby. Beamish has been a prisoner of Murray’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health since 2010.

PETA Made Headlines at New York Fashion Week

a model in a dress with a fake sheep head on their shoulder. they hold a sign reading "wool is for ewe (note: spelled as in baby sheep) not you (note: as in the personal pronoun)"

Following a stir at Paris Fashion Week caused by Schiaparelli’s three-dimensional animal-head designs worn by Kylie Jenner and other models, a PETA model walked a pop-up runway during New York Fashion Week wearing a faux sheep’s head in a salute to and a twist on the designer’s style.

Our design was sans wool, however, and 14 PETA exposés have shown shearers on sheep farms worldwide beating, stomping on, and cutting open sheep as well as slitting their throats.

PETA’s ‘Urban Outraged’ Brought Scary Styles

a person poses with a jacket made to look like it's made of human faces. signs in the background read "whose skin are you in?"

In a world where humans profit from selling animals’ skin, “Who are you wearing?” is a question that PETA wants fashionistas to ask each other more literally.

So we had our models set up a runway outside an Urban Outfitters store in Miami to showcase fashionable designs made of hyper-realistic “human leather.” The clothing came from Urban Outraged, a campaign in the guise of an online store that “sells” jackets, boots, skirts, and bags made from what looks like human skin.

Drenched in Sludge for a Leather Grudge

three peta latino demonstrators doused in black sludge, with buckets of black sludge at their feet.

PETA Latino supporters drenched themselves in black sludge outside a Houston Urban Outfitters store to show the retailer that leather is a dirty business. The sludge represented the massive harm that leather production inflicts on animals, humans, and the environment. Cows and calves are condemned to short, miserable lives for leather bags and shoes, which require enormous amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals to produce.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Vegan leather is readily available, kinder, and more sustainable than animal skin. The world is rapidly going vegan, and we’ll keep boosting vegan leather and making sure people know that using animals for their skin destroys the planet.

‘Pigs’ Invaded UTHSC’s Board Meeting

protestors in photorealistic pig masks with signs in a row. the signs read "pig mutilation cruel and unnecessary", "UTCOM stop abusing pigs", and "chancellor buckley, end deadly animal use in medical training".

Early in the year, protesters dressed as pigs crashed a University of Tennessee Health Science Center meeting to protest against the needless mutilation of live pigs in surgical and medical training programs at the school’s College of Medicine (UTCOM).

2023 victory! After 17 rigorous months of campaigning, the Health Science Center announced the end of UTCOM’s use of live animals in surgical and emergency medical residency training programs on its Chattanooga campus.

PETA Brought ‘Monkey Business’ to Whole Foods

protesters blockading the checkout lanes at whole foods, with monkey masks and signs reading "cruel foods" and "choose only non thai coconut milk". other protestors appear in mock prison jumpsuits. police officers are grabbing protestors.

PETA “monkeys” organized a massive sit-in to protest Whole Foods’ sale of coconut milk from Thailand. The protesters—chained like the monkeys who are held prisoner and forced to pick coconuts on Thai coconut farms—even faced arrest.

PETA Asia investigations have repeatedly revealed that monkeys in Thailand are often caged, kept in isolation, chained for life, and trained through fear of punishment to pick coconuts, yet Whole Foods continues to sell Thai coconut milk.

PETA Latino Brought Out a Crowd for SeaWorld

a row of protestors holding signs protesting seaworlds' confinement of orcas, along with a bubble with a human trapped inside. one sign reads seaworld, don't let another orca die in a tiny tank!

In protest, that is. PETA Latino held a massive show of support in San Diego for Corky, the orca who has spent the past 53 years imprisoned at the abusementpark. She was torn away from her family as a baby, used as a breeding machine (all her babies died), and is still forced to perform in shows for audiences, even though a seaside sanctuary is ready to provide her with a semblance of the natural environment she has always needed and deserved.

Musician, actor, vegan activist, and longtime PETA supporter Christopher von Uckermann was the star of the show, trapped inside a large bubble to highlight the misery that Corky endures in her tiny enclosure every day.

Earlier this year at the Miami Seaquarium, Lolita died before she could be transported to the sanctuary home that awaited her. PETA is dedicated to making sure this doesn’t happen to Corky.

Elephant Defenders Brought the Circus to the Streets

a PETA supporter standing, wrapped in chains in a parking lot is handled by a police officer. behind them, are other supporters and police.

In a rock-solid show of solidarity and disruption, PETA supporters wearing elephant masks chained themselves to the front gate of the Jim R. Miller Park & Event Center.

They blocked drivers from accessing the entrance to the Yaarab Shrine Circus, preventing them from seeing the performance. Other animal allies rallied with them, holding signs proclaiming, “Yaarab Shriners Support Animal Abuse.”

The Yaarab Shrine Circus is among the last remaining shows that still use animals, who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of natural lives. It has partnered with notoriously cruel exhibitors, including Carson & Barnes Circus, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. A PETA eyewitness also caught a head trainer on video attacking elephants with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end.

All Fired Up? Protest With PETA

Whew! We were busy with show-stopping demonstrations this year, but we’re ready to continue at full throttle in 2024. If these stories inspire you, join your local PETA Action Team. We’ll send you a free activist starter kit, help you network with our supporters, and send you invitations to join PETA protests in your area.

Join PETA’s Action Team!
people protesting ringling
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