IRS Harassed PETA, Too

Published by Alisa Mullins.

“Tea partiers” aren’t the only ones who’ve been fixed with the gimlet stare of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Social-action groups such as Greenpeace, the NAACP, and PETA have also been targeted by the agency, and PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to expand the recently announced criminal probe into the IRS’ activity to include several audits that targeted PETA’s tax-exempt status.

PETA has been subjected to three lengthy, expensive, and disruptive IRS audits, including a 20-month one during the George W. Bush administration, which IRS agents conducting the audit admitted was the result of the agency’s bowing to pressure from members of Congress with ties to the meat, the experimentation, and other industries being targeted by PETA campaigns and/or seeing their workers forced to answer to cruelty-to-animals charges as a result of PETA investigations. 

PETA came through each IRS audit with a clean bill of health, but it doesn’t say a lot for our democratic process when Congress, at the behest of powerful industries, uses tactics worthy of the East German Stasi to harass and intimidate social-change advocates. For years, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk could not re-enter the U.S. without being escorted into a back room, having her bags rummaged through, and being detained—sometimes for hours—resulting in missed flight connections.

It doesn’t stop there—ever more repressive state laws are being proposed, the latest of which are arguably unconstitutional “ag-gag” bills designed to prevent undercover investigations on factory farms and in slaughterhouses as well as bills to prevent “interference” with or new regulations regarding hunting and fishing

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind