Alleged Arsonist Should Be Charged With Cruelty to Animals, Too, PETA Says

For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Red Lodge, Mont. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to Alex Nixon, the Carbon County attorney, urging him to add cruelty-to-animals charges to the negligent arson and criminal mischief charges that have been filed against John Lightburn in connection with the devastating Robertson Draw fire near Red Lodge.

“When the Robertson Draw fire swept through nearly 30,000 acres of forest and grassland, an enormous number of wild animals, from the smallest woodland mice to deer and bears, undoubtedly endured terrifying and painful deaths, so cruelty charges must not be allowed to go up in smoke, too” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for the added charge of violating Montana’s animal protection laws.”

PETA made a similar request in the fall in the case of an accused arsonist connected to the Almeda fire in Oregon—and that man now faces eight counts of first-degree animal abuse for allegedly “recklessly and cruelly” causing the deaths of a sheep, a canary, a lamb, a goldfish, chickens, and a raccoon.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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