PETA Works to End the Extreme Injustice Faced by Billions of Animals

Published by PETA Staff.
8 min read

What’s extreme about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) U.S., the largest animal rights organization in the world? Maybe our size and success in campaigning for animals.

PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally and operate under the simple principle that animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. PETA U.S. informs policymakers and the public about animal abuse and promotes treating animals with kindness—there’s nothing extreme about that.

Courtney Stodden and PETA Host 25th Congressional Veggie Dog Luncheon

PETA invited members of Congress, their staff, and the public to celebrate 25 years of vegan progress with a giant veggie-dog cookout in Washington, D.C.

PETA works to dismantle speciesist systems that support the belief that all other animal species are inferior to humans. Many people who derive pleasure or profit from animal exploitation feel threatened by our work to protect animals, and—since they can’t justify their own actions—they spread false and misleading information about us in a sad attempt to discredit our work or paint PETA as extremist.

PETA is an advocacy organization that informs the public about the horrors of animal suffering through entirely peaceful means—unlike our opponents, we don’t commit acts of violence against anyone, human or nonhuman. We work to stop cruelty to animals through investigative newsgathering and reporting, pamphlets, billboards, letters, advertisements, articles, peaceful demonstrations, litigation, humane education in schools, and provocative campaigns.

Joe’s Stone Crab Feels Pinch Over Live Dismemberment

In Miami, protesters at Joe’s Stone Crab urged diners to leave animals off their plates after a PETA video showed workers tearing the claws off live crabs for the restaurant’s supplier. Take action at PETA.org/Crabs.

PETA Is Opposed to Extremely Cruel and Wasteful Experiments on Animals

Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, monkeys, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside desolate cages in laboratories across the U.S. They waste away in pain, ache with loneliness, and long to be free from experimentation. Instead, all they can do is sit and wait for the next terrifying and painful procedure. After enduring a life of pain, frustration, and fear, almost all of them will be killed.

PETA is at the forefront of stopping this abuse. Our dedicated team of scientists and other staff members work full-time to expose the cruelty and scientific failures of animal experiments in order to ensure their imminent end.

UMass Marmoset protest with Casey Affleck

PETA collaborates with members of Congress to replace the use of animals in laboratories, instigates hard-hitting eyewitness exposés and public campaigns that have been pivotal in shifting public opinion against animal testing, and persuades major corporations, government agencies, and universities to abandon animal tests in favor of modern, effective, animal-free methods.

PETA Has a Problem With the Extreme Impact of Using Animals for Food

Is PETA extreme for pointing out that more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year? Or for noting that in the U.S. alone, approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh and 305 million hens are used for their eggs each year? Did you know that more fish are killed for food each year than all other animals combined, as tens of billions of fish and shellfish are slaughtered annually?

Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of resources. Two-thirds of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food or to grow grain to feed them. Chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals are the primary consumers of water in the country: A single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water per day, while a cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons daily. Farms produce billions of pounds of manure daily, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and even drinking water.

A Bubble Bath on the Sidewalk? It’s PETA’s World Water Day Protest!

In West Palm Beach, Florida, a PETA supporter informed passersby how much water is used to produce steak and slices of cheese—and came “clean” that the solution is to go vegan.

There is no nutritional need for humans to eat any animal-derived product. All our dietary needs—even as infants and children—are best supplied by a meatless diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that eating plant-based foods reduces the risk of suffering from many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

PETA believes that whether you go vegan for animals, the environment, or your health, you have the power to change the world, simply by changing what’s on your plate.

Order a Free Vegan Starter Kit

PETA Exposes the Suffering of Animals Used for Clothing

Every year, billions of animals suffer and die for clothing and accessories. Cows and other animals are killed and skinned to make leather, birds are held down while fistfuls of feathers are ripped out of their sensitive skin, and small animals like minks and foxes are caged for life before being killed for their fur. Sheep are often beaten and mutilated by workers stealing their wool and their skin for shearling. Seems pretty extreme, right?

minks in cage on fur farms could cause the next global pandemic

Thankfully, wearing animal-derived materials is on its way to becoming a thing of the past, thanks to PETA.

Our dedicated supporters have exposed systemic cruelty inherent in the leather, wool, down, cashmere, exotic-skins, mohair, and fur trades. Investigations by PETA U.S. and other PETA entities into these industries have repeatedly exposed widespread and relentless animal abuse. Our advertisements and demonstrations against these bloody industries are famous for shocking the public, turning heads, and initiating action. We also work hands-on with companies behind the scenes to persuade the largest names in fashion to ditch clothing and accessories made from animals.

In the 21st century, vegan fashion is booming. Clothes and accessories made from hemp, bamboo, Tencel, organic cotton, and other animal-free materials are now commonplace. They can also be made from innovative and sustainable materials such as cork, mushrooms, pineapple leaves, apple peels, other fruit waste, or recycled plastics.

With so many different materials to choose from, there’s no excuse for anyone to harm or kill animals for clothing.

Ending the Exploitation of Animals for Entertainment

PETA U.S. is determined to get animals out of the entertainment business.

Our dedicated staff members work full-time to expose and end animal abuse in the entertainment industry, and their work is paying off.

In addition to ending circus cruelty, PETA is doing the following:

PETA’s Work for Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals Who Are Hurt in the Pet Trade

PETA and our millions of members and supporters around the world know that our animal companions are members of the family—they’re unique, feeling individuals with their own personalities, wants, and needs. That’s why we take a multifaceted approach to helping animals frequently victimized by the pet trade, working behind the scenes with companies and law enforcement to make the world a better place for animals every day.

Learn More About the Problems With Pet Stores

PETA’s hard-hitting campaigns and eye-opening investigations reach tens of millions of people annually, revealing that dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish, and other companion animals need the help and support of compassionate and caring humans like you. Our ads, articles, and bold protests have opened people’s eyes to the horrors that animals endure at breeding facilities and in pet stores and squalid backyards—and the public can’t help but take notice.

These actions have helped prevent hundreds of thousands of animals from being born into a world already bursting at the seams with unwanted and homeless ones.

PETA’s campaign and hard work to end the cruel chaining of dogs has seen community after community restrict or ban the practice. And our compelling celebrity ads have informed millions of people about the companion animal homelessness crisis and how we can work together to end it.

Elena Delle Donne PETA Ad

Brian Cox in PETA Ad


Animal abusers are terrified of the extreme strides that PETA is making, and they’re trying every trick in the book to undermine our work. It’s a measure of our effectiveness that they feel so threatened by our achievements, which only inspires us to work even harder for animals. We’ll always vigorously defend animals and do everything we can to end speciesism.

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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

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