A closeup of purple flowers blooming

A Message From Ingrid Newkirk

Issue 1|Winter 2024

The most beautiful flowers are blooming along my walk to work, making it hard to think of the terrible experience of war. But, of course, wars are being waged, and they inflict horrors on not only humans but also those who happen not to have been born human – those whose guardians, after being attacked or killed, vanish, leaving them to starve, freeze, or die from injuries. Witness the overloaded donkeys carrying panicked families fleeing the conflict in the Middle East, their heads bowed in depression, their muscles strained to the point of tearing and sometimes beyond.

Long ago, I addressed a conference on nonviolence in Bethlehem, attended by President Jimmy Carter’s peace envoy and a host of mainly—but not exclusively—Jewish and Palestinian advocates for negotiation in the Middle East. Many speakers told tales of imprisonment, injustice, loss of family members and freedom, and being treated with hatred and discrimination. Almost every speaker ended with a plea for understanding and words to the effect of “for are we not human beings?” I ended my appeal for nonviolence by saying that compassion should start at the breakfast table, pointing to the open-air slaughterhouse we all passed on our way to the hall each morning, asking that we humans sweep aside our prejudice toward others who feel as much pain and fear as any human does and decide to think of ourselves as being part of a larger community – to say, “for are we not sentient beings?”

A donkey pulling three children on a cart© Val_Yankin/Shutterstock.com

There may be little we can do as individuals to end wars (although teams supported by PETA’s Global Compassion Fund help animals in wars and other disasters around the world). But we can definitely bring peace to others through our acts of kindness, by respecting animals and looking out for them always.

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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