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Jul 24, 2007

Animal welfare

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Animal welfare is the viewpoint that animals, especially those under human care, should not suffer unnecessarily including where the animal is used for food, work, companionship, or research. This position usually focuses on the morality of human action, or inaction, as opposed to making deeper political or philosophical claims about the status of animals, as is the case for an animal rights viewpoint.

The history of animal welfare has been attributed by some to the time when a systematic concern for the well-being of other animals arose in the Indus Valley Civilization as the religious belief that ancestors return in animal form, and that animals must therefore be treated with the respect due to a human. This belief is exemplified in the existing religion of Jainism and in varieties of other Dharmic religions. Other religions, especially those with roots in the Abrahamic religions, have tended to treat animals as the property of their owners, codifying rules for their care and slaughter intended to limit the distress, pain and fear animals experience under human control.

From the time when in 1822 Richard Martin, a British Member of Parliament, shepherded a bill through Parliament offering protection from cruelty to cattle, horses and sheep, animal welfare has had human morality, and human behaviour, as its central concern. Martin was, in 1824, among the founders of what might be considered the world's first official animal welfare organisation, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA. In 1840, Queen Victoria gave the society her blessing following which it became the existing Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or RSPCA. When originally established, the society used members' donations to employ a growing network of inspectors, whose job was to identify those who abused animals, gather evidence, and report them to the authorities. Subsequently similar groups and societies sprang up elsewhere in Europe, North America and elsewhere in the world. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Fiji was established in 1953.

A number of religious denominations have added animal welfare to their list of concerns. Animal-related ethics courses, animal blessings, prayers for animals and animal ministries have increased in popularity. In 2007, the Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains was formed to assist clergy members concerned about animals and their welfare to network and share information. A number of Animal Chaplains' books and websites reference scriptural passages from the world's sacred texts supporting animal welfare.

In 1965 the UK government commissioned an investigation into the welfare of intensively farmed animals, partly in response to concerns raised in Ruth Harrison's 1964 book, Animal Machines. On the basis of this report, the government set up the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, later to become the Animal Welfare Council. The first guidelines recommended that farm animals require freedom to turn around, to groom themselves, to get up, to lie down, and to stretch their limbs'. These have since been elaborated to become known as the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare:

1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition;

2. Freedom from discomfort due to environment;

3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease;

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species; and

5. Freedom from fear and distress.

A distinction can be made between animal welfare and animal rights. The former believes humans have a moral responsibility not to cause cruelty or unnecessary suffering to animals, and advocates for the betterment of the condition of animals, but not the elimination of all animal use. However, animal rights advocates campaign for the total abolition of any use of animals and argue that the animal welfare position is logically inconsistent and ethically unacceptable. Nevertheless, there are some animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which support animal welfare measures in the short term to alleviate animal suffering until all animal use is ended.

Some critics argue that, in practice, supporters of animal welfare sometimes demonstrate a form of speciesism' by showing a disproportionate concern for some species of animals over others without providing a rational or scientific justification for such preferences. In this regard they point to the tendency to be more concerned over the welfare of pets or companion animals over that of commercial animals; certain wild animals over domestic animals; or mammals over birds, reptiles or fishes.

Needless to say there will also be those who question why we, the human species, should concern ourselves about animal welfare when there is so much that needs to be done in various aspects of human welfare. Fortunately, when Noah found himself at the door of The Ark, and with the tide rising, he made the wise decision that it did not have to be either humans, or animals, and that it was important, and indeed possible, to take care of the welfare of both.

This article was based extensively on material derived from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, whose website is http//

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Posted: Jul 24, 2007 4:56am
Apr 9, 2007

Why is the history of animal welfare an incessant procession of incalculable defeats? Why, after hundreds of years of welfarism (the first welfare law was enacted in 1641, and welfarists have been trying to implement their ideology for the past couple of hundred years), is humans' hegemony over other animals still absolute? Why do we have gestation crates and battery cages; drug addiction and burn experiments? Why has animal welfare not negated institutionalized animal exploitation at all? In Animals, Property, and the Law and Rain Without Thunder, Gary Francione provides the answer. Francione identifies two major problems that as it were castrate animal welfare and render it pathetically impotent: (1) animals are property; and (2) humans have property rights in animals.

Within the framework of Anglo-American legal systems, animals are accorded the status of property -- which means that they are regarded exclusively as means to human ends. They have no intrinsic value; rather they have only extrinsic or conditional value – in other words, they have only that value which we, as animal property owners, choose to give them.

Animals are thus completely rightless beings (i.e. they are legally entitled to nothing) and (legally) have value only as means to our ends.

Humans, on the other hand, have rights in general and property rights in animals in particular.

A presupposition of Anglo-American legal systems is that rights have special normative force. Rights are (to use Ronald Dworkin’s metaphor) “trumps”: “they give [powerful] reasons to treat their holders in certain ways or permit them to act in certain ways, even if some social aim would be served by doing otherwise.” That is, rights invariably trump competing (non-right) considerations.

The implications of this legal framework -- a framework that characterizes humans as rightholders and animals as rightless property -- for a non-right consideration such as animal welfare are clear. Animals’ interests are (supposedly) protected by welfare laws. Exploiters’ property interests in animals are protected by rights (property rights). Thus we have a conflict between interests protected by right and interests protected by welfare laws -- between exploiters' property interests in animals and animals' interest in not being used as property. That is, we have a “conflict” between a right and a non-right consideration. The entailment here is obvious:

Exploiters’ property interests in animals always trump animals’ (welfare) interests.

Because exploiters’ property rights trump animals’ interests, it follows that any welfare law that sought to accord animals protection that impinges on exploiters’ property rights (i.e., that wasn’t also in the exploiters’ interest) would invariably be rejected by the framework of the system.

Thus the system of animal welfare is inherently incapable of doing anything other than ministering to exploiters’ property interests: If a welfare law is in the (economic) interest of the exploiters, then it may be accepted; but if the welfare measure is not in the interest of the exploiters, then it will necessarily be rejected. Ironically, then, animal welfare protects the interests exploiters have in animals rather then the interests of the animals -- in other words, animal welfare protects the exploiters and not the animals.

Within a legal framework that allocates property rights in animals, animal welfare cannot exist; thus animal welfare groups (RSPCA, HSUS, PeTA etc.) are inherently redundant. Welfare groups represent a non-right consideration that will invariably be “trumped” by the fact that exploiters have property rights in animals. Thus welfare groups will be able to secure for animals only that protection that exploiters take to be cost-justified -- which basically means that protection necessary to exploit animals efficiently. But as exploiters will accord animals this level of protection anyway (in order to protect their economic investment in their animal property), animal welfare groups in particular, and the animal welfare movement in general, may as well not exist.

The only function that welfare groups do perform is a wholly insidious one: they reinforce the legitimacy of a vicious speciesist framework (or “animal welfare”, as it's euphemistically known) that will sacrifice any animal interest for the sake of any human interest -- notwithstanding the gravity of the former and the triviality of the latter -- thereby prolonging the horrific exploitation of nonhumans animals.

The special normative force of property rights within Anglo-American legal systems thus leads to a system of animal welfare that is virulently anthropocentric and anti-animal: in order to protect exploiters’ property rights in animals, it will allow animals to be treated in the most horrendous ways imaginable (gestation crates, veal crates, battery-cages), as long as the treatment is economically efficient. Welfare laws merely preclude the gratuitous waste of animal property; because animal property is a very valuable species of property, and if it was gratuitously wasted, overall social wealth would be diminished.

Francione’s property analysis refutes one of the most ossified dogmas of new welfarism: that there is a causal relationship between animal welfare in the short and animal rights in the long term, such that successive welfare reforms will eventually lead to abolition. Animal welfare has no abolitionistic function whatsoever, because animals’ property status (and the corresponding property rights that exploiters have in animals) acts as an inherently limiting factor in the system: it keeps reform tied to the status of animals as commodities -- limiting the scope thereof to what exploiters take to be cost-justified in light of animals’ property status (anything that wasn't cost-justified would begin to infringe exploiters' property rights in animals); wefare reform cannot transcend this narrow point, and thus is inherently incapable of leading to abolition.

On the contrary, far from being capable of leading to abolition, the diametric opposite is the case: because the system pemits only those reforms that do not infringe exploiters' property rights in animals (i.e., that do not erode animals' property status), animal welfare is structurally incapable of challenging the framework of oppression and "can lead only to more and exacerbated animal exploitation." (Francione)

Accordingly, since there is no causal relationship between welfare in the short term and rights in the long term, and since welfare is capable of eliminating animal suffering only if exploiters' property rights aren't infringed thereby (which effectively means that only suffering that results from inefficient practices can be banned), it follows that animal welfare is of use only to the exploiters -- and welfarist ideologues.

The contradiction between the property rights that exploiters have in animals and the societal desire to afford animals some measure of protection is resolved by having welfare laws that protect only those animal interests -- institutional interests -- that need to be protected in order to exploit them efficiently -- which amounts to no protection at all. So, for example, there are welfare regulations requiring that animals in vivisection laboratories be given food and water; but this is only because, if they weren't given food and water, they would die and so wouldn't yield any data for vivisectors. Again, because animals are legally regarded exclusively as means to human ends, the welfare regulations protect the interests the vivisection industry has in the animals rather than the interets of the animals for their own sakes.

Thus welfare laws and regulations do not represent a partial negation of animals' property status or legal "thinghood", and a corresponding recognition that they have inherent value and morally significant interests. Rather, because welfare laws protect only those animal interests that relate to their use as property -- their use as means to human ends -- they merely represent a codification of their enslavement.

In short, animal welfare laws in particular are slave laws; and animal welfare in general conceals institutionalized animal slavery under a meretricious cloak of respectability, thereby sanitizing it and helping to maintain its legitimacy.

In sum: animal welfare is capable only of further codifying animals' property status; it is inherently incapable of recognizing that animals' have inherent value -- value independent of the economic value they have for exploiters -- and thus of eroding their property status and ultimately leading to abolition. Far from having any liberatory potential for nonhumans, then, animal welfare can only consolidate the animals-as-property paradigm.

Of course, this means that the new welfarist "radicals" are trying to achieve change for animals using a system of reform that is predicated on the legitimacy of the animal-commodity and that solicitously protects the despotic control that animal property owners are (legally) entitled to wield over their living, breathing commodities. To put the matter another way, the new welfarists are trying to qualitatively alter animals' property status using a system that structurally ensures that animals remain property -- and it is their property status that makes possible all of the suffering to which we so vehemently object.

Ironically, then, the new welfarists have become coopted by a system that is predicated on the legitimacy of that which they (puportedly at least) want to abolish. As such, the new welfarists prove themselves to be reactionaries who militate against radical change by reinforcing an anachronistic and viciously speciesist system that subserves the unbridled hegemony of humans over other animals -- and that is therefore a consitutive part of the speciesist oppression of nonhumans.

Thus as far as the abolitionist movement is concerned, animal welfare is unqualifiedly redundant. Far from being the method whereby we will incrementally abolish animal exploitation, or even a palliative for reducing animal suffering in the short term, animal welfare is -- in reality -- an institutionalized part of existing speciesist society -- a reactionary instrument that subserves the oppressive framework under which nonhumans are enslaved.

The abolitionists' rejection of animal welfare does not mean -- as welfarist ideologues would have you believe -- that abolitionists are anti-reformist. On the contrary and ironically, because they reinforce the legitimacy of a sclerotic and ossified system of animal welfare that inherently precludes change, it is the new welfarists who are "anti-reformist". The abolitionist approach is based partly on the insight that it is impossible to reform animal exploitation through animal welfare, for the simple reason that the system of welfare reform is a constitutive part of the framework of oppression that requires reformation. As such, the new welfarist "reformers" confuse the object of reform with the means thereof.

A first principle of the abolitionist movement, then, must be the rejection of animal welfare and the recognition that, to effect a paradigm shift in attitudes toward the human-nonhuman relationship, we must use qualitatively different means from those utilized by the welfare movement (and what has passed for the "animal rights" movement hitherto). We must recognize that radicalism mediated through reactionary institutions is a contradiction in terms; the former is necessarily nullified by the latter. We must rejectinstitutional exploiters.reject welfare reform and the institutions and industries that seek to neutralize radicalism with meretricious and illusory offers of progress. We must reject hypocrisy and inconsistency -- we must eschew animal welfare and make our means consistent with our ends.

Instead, we must make veganism a nonnegotiable baseline and engage directly with the real locus of abolition -- people themselves -- since abolition means abolishing exploitation in our own lives.

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Posted: Apr 9, 2007 10:54am
Dec 4, 2006
Focus: Civil Rights
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States
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Posted: Dec 4, 2006 7:49am
Mar 10, 2006
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

New Animal Welfare Bill in the UK

An Animal Welfare Bill is expected to be passed in the UK. It will create a new offence of intentionally disregarding the welfare of an animal considered to be a pet. The bill introduces some provisions, which will deal with animal housing and environment, their diet, their disease and protection from suffering, among other stipulations.

Once introduced, the Bill would constitute the background for further, secondary, legislation, that will be approved in the future order to introduce different codes for different animals. As an example of how this would be carried out, a “cat code” has been proposed. This would include particular stipulations on how cats should be treated.

A segment of the public sometimes see such regulations as ridiculous, perceiving that nonhuman animals are “better treated than humans”. Of course this is not the case, since even those animals that are considered “ pets” are not actually free but belong to their owners. Many animals suffer in “ pet shops” and their offspring are killed if no more animals are desired. In any case, this bill offers a sharp contrast with the animal plight we have presented earlier in this newsletter. Some nonhumans are treated as simple objects while others are shown some sort of respect.


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Posted: Mar 10, 2006 10:48am
Mar 3, 2006
By Jodie Thomson and Linda Sharman, Countryman

damn! When do they eventually get the point that welfare won't help non humans?!!


(WA) NEW Local Government Minister Jon Ford has listed the review of controversial State animal welfare legislation, which is being used in a case against a live exporter, as a top priority.

Mr Ford confirmed the State Government supported the live export trade, and needed to work with industry to ensure the trade stood up to public scrutiny.

Live exporter Emanuel Exports and two of its directors are facing charges of breaching the Animal Welfare Act, relating to a shipment of 100,000 sheep to the Middle East on board the MV Al Kuwait in November 2003.

Industry has voiced concerns about the ambiguity of the Act, in particular the phrase, "likely to cause it unnecessary harm", in relation to transport of animals.

Responding to questions at the Pastoralists and Graziers Association annual convention, Mr Ford said the Act was being reviewed, and industry would be consulted.

"At the moment it's my top priority - I see it as the single biggest risk we're facing immediately," he said.

Mr Ford said the WA Government supported the live export trade, and recognised it was constantly under attack from animal rights groups.

"I can assure you that you will have my ear and I will work closely with you to make sure industry comes through this," he said.

Farmers renewed calls for the loading of live export ships to be moved away from Fremantle, where the truck route is through the city, to the less populated James Point.

"I've been advised that the James Point proposal has been supported by my agency in regards to a submission to the WA Planning Commission, primarily on the basis it's closer to the Baldivis feedlots, but more importantly, that it takes the route away from through the city of Fremantle," Mr Ford said.

PGA meat and livestock chairman Tim D'Arcy said the association had kept in regular contact with the James Point consortium, but the approvals process was moving slowly.

Countryman 2.3.06
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Posted: Mar 3, 2006 1:46am
Nov 14, 2005

San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center

PETA President auctioned as a Personal Assistant for a Day
by foa Friday, Nov. 11, 2005 at 12:16 PM

Original article is at

In a recent eBay auction, Ingrid Newkirk, President/Founder of PETA, offered her services for a day to the highest bidder as a fundraiser for PETA. Winning bid: $43,600.00. As part of the ebay format, potential bidders can ask questions of the seller (in this case, PETA). And, as you can imagine, there were a lot of questions asked, and they were answered well with a bit of humor and sometimes sarcasm.

While it's only good for 90 days, here's the link to the auction. The questions are at the bottom.

There's a link at the bottom to View all 101 questions, or try this:
Hire PETA President as a Personal Assistant for a Day

Bidding has ended for this item

Winning bid: US $43,600.00 (Reserve met)
Ended: Nov-10-05 07:00:00 PST
Start time: Oct-31-05 07:00:00 PST
History: 42 bids (US $100.00 starting bid)
Winning bidder: bearautovista ( 9 ) About Me
Item location: Norfolk, Virginia
United States

Description (revised)
Hire PETA President as Your Personal Assistant for a Day

Here’s a unique chance to hire hands-on corporate administrator and founder Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), as your personal assistant for a day.

Use her experience in animal matters and corporate know-how to good advantage, perhaps by having her accompany you on your annual hunting expedition or to the rodeo or a bullfight.

What about having her redesign your animal testing lab or your bear bile farm, check your trapline, sharpen the lamb mulesing shears on your Outback farm or unload your poor old sheep from the docks in Dubai, build supports to stop your cattle from slipping off the truck ramps at the leather market, or count how many times the workers at your slaughterhouse miss with the captive-bolt gun?

You can have her clean rodent cages or racehorse stalls, serve customers at your dog-soup restaurant, or just have her listen for hours to your hunting club members expound on their manhood.

Of course, as one of the world’s most prominent animal rights leaders, Newkirk would gladly also help you veganize your corporate cafeteria or cook your family’s dinner, bring your wardrobe into the 21st century by going with you on a compassionate shopping spree, or cap your chimney to keep wildlife out of your fireplace this winter. She could help you select cruelty-free holiday gifts, train you to be nicer to your Rottweilers or teach you how to talk to your cats, restock your bathroom cabinet with cruelty-free toiletries and cleaning products, or swap out your sticky glue traps for Havahart® humane box traps.

Or perhaps you have other ideas.

Newkirk is available to give you honest critiques or humane advice or just do what you’d like her to do as long as it’s legal and, if animal suffering or death is involved, you did not cause it or add to it in any way specifically for this occasion.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 850,000 members and supporters, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. Founded in 1980, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.

PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: in factory farms, laboratories, the clothing trade, and the entertainment industry. PETA also works on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other so-called &ldquoests” and the abuse of backyard dogs.

PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns. For more information, see



Ingrid Newkirk will only engage in legal activities (for example, only Louisiana and New Mexico still allow cockfighting) and will only serve as a personal assistant for activities that are a normal part of the lifestyle of the winner, not for any activities in which pain and suffering are inflicted specifically for this offer.

Ingrid Newkirk reserves the right to refuse any bid.

Accommodations and round-trip air travel between Norfolk, Virginia, and the job site are the responsibility of the winner and are not included in the purchase price.

Ingrid Newkirk may choose to be accompanied by a videographer or member of the media.

See for additional information, quotations, or photos.

When you bid, please send details of how you plan to have Ingrid Newkirk assist you to IngridNewkirk at


>From the last page of the Q&A:

Questions from other members : Hire PETA President as a Personal Assistant for a Day Item number: 5630325919

Question & Answer Answered On

Q: Hi there, I just ran across the auction. What a great idea! And kudos to you for how you're handling all the ribbing--some of it good-natured, some not--keep up the good work! I hope you raise lots of money for the cause and get a few people to think about some things along the way.

A: Well, thank you. We hope so too.

Q: hey freaks, why it is OK for her assistant to take penasilin that is derived from animals and tested on animals for her diabetes? Or if she thinks abortion is acceptable?

A: Oh my, where to start? It’s a vice-president, not her assistant; it’s insulin not penicillin; and all insulin produced these days is non-animal based since there were so many problems with allergic reactions to animal-based insulin. PETA even has a free booklet you can order on on how to control diabetes and how going vegan would reduce your need for additional insulin. PETA’s mandate concerns animals, so it does not have any opinion about abortion. If you win the auction, you may ask Ms Newkirk about her personal opinion on the subject.

Q: i was wondering if she could help me find the deer i shot on nov.6? is that a possibility? i really dont like it just laying in the woods, and would she be willing to hunt with me, im not a good shot when they are running so there might be a accident if you know what i mean.

A: Thank you for identifying yourself as a slob hunter. Most of your ilk don’t. Hunting accidents are tragedies but unlike drive-by shootings the victims aren’t usually innocent bystanders.

Q: Answer me this, if I understand correctly a vegan must be very careful and make sure to eat a certain variety of foods/beans in order to get the proper protein and nutrients. If this is true, it just does not sound natural to me. Our ancestors were not designed to go out of their way to find a certain vegetable or bean. That lends itself to this, why is it so bad to just not eat meat? I understand the conditions on a dairy farm are not to your standards but what about free range eggs / milk / cheese which lends itself to a veg. diet where one doesn't have to make a special effort. I believe if we were not intended to eat meat we wouldn't have the capacity to do so.

A: That view is a bit outdated. Actually, as long as a vegan eats a balanced diet with plenty of fresh food and enough calories and gets enough B12 in cereal or soymilk, s/he will be fine. You might look at for advice or We eat well. And, hey, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is grains, nuts and fruits in one bite! Add a banana and you can pretend you are Elvis Presley. How much meat do you suppose our ancestors really ate? You may have noticed that we’re not exactly designed to chase down antelope and rip their throats out with our teeth. I suppose prior to the use of fire they were also raw foodists. It just doesn’t feel natural to me to chew on raw meat when there are so many delightful fruits, nuts and vegetables grown ready-to-eat. Sure, if you’re not ready to stop eating eggs or milk products, those from free range animals probably caused less suffering, but you should try some of the wonderful soy and rice based products – cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, even soy ice cream.

Q: I'm not sure you know your facts on the gentle and quiet creatures. Deer and other animals are by no means gentle and quiet. Try petting one of them sometime in the wild. You might be knocked back into reality, if you live through it. I'm not trying to be sarcastic or make you mad in any way. I don't agree with animal cruelty and such. On the other hand, I hunt for food, not trophies. Why is that so hard for PETA to understand? I don't like to see animals suffer any more than anyone else. I never take a questionable shot when hunting. When I shoot an animal, it is over very quickly. If you want to see something sick, get into a deer stand, unarmed and watch a coyote take an adult deer down and start tearing it apart before the deer is dead. I'm a law abiding hunter and I don't see that changing, it's a family tradition that is being instilled into my kids. One note, I'm also 100% Native American. Where did your ancestors come from?

A: You’re right, but we would certainly never encourage anyone to try to pet any wild animal. We understand that you eat the animals you kill and as we’ve said that’s a more honest way of relating than buying them shrink-wrapped in the supermarket or as a plate of chicken wings in a bar. Still, these days, there is no real need to hunt wild animals for food, as safer, more nutritious food is readily available. Our ancestors were also Earthlings, so we share a common background. More specifically, I think Ms. Newkirk is originally from Africa. All Europeans are.

Q: Is PETA trying to make domesticated animals extinct? If we don't eat beef, chicken, etc., and if we neuter every dog and cat on the planet, then what becomes of these poor beasts? Do you really think people will keep a herd of cattle just to look at? I think PETA has gone nuts. NANCY

A: Hi, Nancy - People are doing their best to keep a herd of elephants in captivity just to look at, so, yes, they probably would do the same with cattle. The reason there are so many farmed animals is that they are relentlessly bred to keep up with the demand for cheap meat. Modern day chickens have been bred to grow to full size in just weeks – a process that used to take months – to produce food faster although it makes them unable to stand and barely even move. I appreciate what you’re trying to say but there is very little danger of domestic or companion animals becoming extinct.

Q: Does this day consist of 8 hours or 24 or somewhere in between? Also, how come vegeterians die on average earlier then meat eaters?

A: Well, we were thinking of a normal work day but I guess it depends on what you have in mind. Ms Newkirk will try to accommodate your schedule if you win. Not only don’t vegetarians die at a younger age than meat eaters but they are healthier throughout their lives - their longevity rate is superior. Check Your comment would have more zing if it were accurate.

Q: hi, i don't know anything about your organization. i just so happen to stumble upon your auction through ebay's most watched auctions page. CONGRATULATIONS! Anyhoo, let the president know that she is a beautiful woman in and out for caring so much for God's creatures. Here's my question...when you say that animals are not for us to eat, what information did you use in order to come to that conclusion?

A: There is a lot of evidence that humans aren’t ideally designed to eat animals – from the shape of our teeth to the way our digestive systems work. We’re not true carnivores like tigers. We’re primates, and primates aren’t big meat eaters. In fact, most don’t eat meat at all. But our creed that animals are not ours to eat is based more on a philosophical stance that each animal has his own interests, desires and a unique place in creation and that for animals this place is certainly not a factory farm or a veal crate or having her wings sold for 29 cents each during ‘Happy Hour’ at your neighborhood bar. Simply because we are the cleverest and most powerful animal does not mean that the other animals were put here for us to do with as we please. In fact, we are in an ideal position to protect those weaker than us.

Q: Great publicity stunt idea, who came up with this one? To bad that’s probably all you will get. I very seriously doubt you will see the cash on this one. Not exactly hi-rollers bidding so far haha.. At least it has given people a forum to lash out at PETA which I found very funny. You seem to have a good sense of humor. How much do you think this Auction will net PETA I would put my money on a loss.

A: I don't know. More than 50,000 people have looked at this auction, it’s on Ebay's most viewed list, is featured on several other sites, and bidding has already passed $14,000. We're glad to hear that the high rollers haven't checked in yet – we can hardly wait!

Q: L@@K auction # 5631870282 I just wanted to say that I think you all are great... my three puppy dogs along with myself are watching your auction hoping for a great outcome. Good luck!!!

A: Thanks – keep an eye on those pooches or they'll outbid you when you leave the room.

Q: Just because she is the self-titled -President- of PETA does NOT equate her position with that of the President of the United States. She should not have to be accomodated in a room that would be of the caliber fit for George Bush, the President of the United States. She is worthy of respect, but the levels due are NOT equivalent based on titles. For President Bush, I would would make special accomodation; for -President- Newkirk, she gets what everyone else gets.

A: Well, then, she and George can visit at the same time!

Q: Blessings to Ingrid and to all of the wonderful folks at PETA for doing such great work. Thank you for making our world a better place for ALL living creatures -- furry and hairless, big and small, the intelligent, and the not so intelligent (who are well represented as the authors of some of these questions!). Your responses here have made me laugh and your good hearts give me hope. Best wishes from me, and my three darling rescue kitties (Julia, Kate, Sasha, and Molly).

A: Thanks for your comments. Glad to see that your cats get equal billing in your family! I'm sure they wouldn't have it any other way.

Q: I would like to know one thing, many great scientific discoveries have been made through testing on animals. If we do not use animals how can we possibly make any progress? Maybe you would suggest using prisoners on death row, or maybe we could auction someone on eBay to do this, like say, a certain President of an Animal Advocate group.

A: Good question, but like many people I think that you might be confusing progress with growth. Animal testing has grown to become a huge business but it hasn't made much progress – more people die today of cancer, heart disease and problems caused by medical treatment than ever before – and that's with tons of animal testing. Prisoners were once asked to volunteer to test yellow fever vaccinations in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. I think that this might be a useful contribution that prisoners can make to repay society, if they choose to, but not if they are coerced. Better than the animals who are innocent, have no choice and will certainly be killed. But there are also many healthy and sick people who would be glad to be included in an experimental study either for the chance for a cure or to help humanity. Look at Rock Hudson trying desperately but without luck to get into an experimental program and having to go to France for one when it was too late. Keep in mind that many of the tests that you are supporting are often to investigate drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction in animals, HIV or dozens of other diseases or conditions that do not normally occur in animals. Today's epidemiological studies and human cell cultures, and more allow us to use humans without harming them.

Q: I agree with you. I love animals too. They are beautiful to look at, fun to shoot, and delicious to eat.

A: We love original ideas like this. The first time we heard it, about 25 years ago, we laughed ourselves silly.

Q: If I win, will Ms. Newkirk come hunting with me, and explain to me overpopulation of animal species? could she possibly explain how an animal dying a slow & painful death starving over the course of a winter because of overpopulation & lack of food is better than harvesting an animal & feeding a family (possibly more than 1 family)? If you vegans stop reproducing & eating all the animals natural foods maybe this wouldn't occur? Is she capable of such in depth conversation, or is it animals feel pain & the veggies don't?

A: You know, she would, but save your money and don't bid. If you won, you might not be able to follow her explanation and might feel cheated.

Q: Hi, What a wonderful thing you are doing. I think cruelty to animals is truly horrible. I must say there has been a lot of questions already! I just finished reading through them & there are (some) valid points made on the ~non-animal lovers~ side. Personally I think that we should not consider animals to be more important than humans. I wonder how many staving people in our current world humanitarian crisis could be given LIFE by the efforts of volunteer's like yourself? Not to mention all the money and resources (+ time) that could be used to help desperate people. I feel that people should not be cruel to animals and I am very upset that (some) people are however you will never stop (merely slow) the cruelty of animals. I think that mother teresa could have really used you people on the mission fields and I personally would love to see you handing out food to starving children and giving first-aid to bomb victums or helping rescue people from earthquake rubble. Thanks.

A: Wow. Funny you should mention Mother Theresa. Some of Ms Newkirk's earliest memories are of this sainted woman. Ms Newkirk’s mother volunteered for Mother Theresa in India and St. Theresa's lessons of compassion and love for all were not lost on her or her daughter. It was probably while the young Ingrid was rolling bandages for lepers on school break (yes, she did that) or stuffing cloth dolls for the orphanage kids that her mother said to her, 'It doesn’t matter who suffers, but how.' Her mother also took in human and non-human waifs and strays, she didn't slam the door on anyone who was hungry or ill. It isn't necessary to rank either humans or animals as more important, any more than it's necessary to kick a stray dog while going to feed a homeless person, all are deserving of our care, love and consideration. PETA works to help animals. Other groups work to help human victims of violence, war and abuse. Some people do nothing of any good for anyone. You can support whichever groups you feel are working towards goals that you share. Thanks for keeping an open mind and for your own efforts for those in need.

Q: I'm all for PETA, what I want to know is if I hire her, will she smoke a joint with me (it will be within the bounds of my business to do so)?

A: Wow. Nice work if you can get it… Far out! We won't even ask what business you're in. Send us your pager number and what corner you'd like to meet on and we'll discuss it, but it would have to be legal in your jurisdiction – no, don't even tell us where you live.

Q: Hi - Good Luck raising money! Isn't it a shame about some of the really dumb questions you've had from the REALLY dumb rednecks (is it ok to call them that? i'm from UK not sure what's allowed). One question, my other half says eating fish is ok, coz they don't have any feeling and catching them doens't cause any pain or distress. What does the newest research and Ms Newkirk say about this? I take it Ms Newkirk doesn't eat fish or like fishing! How about auctioning a 5 minute phonecall from her to lecture the person of your choice? (Like my other half to tell him fishing IS a blood sport?)

A: Like the idea: thanks! Scientists have proven that fish are intelligent animals who feel pain just like all animals do. Fish learn from one another, have long term memories and can recognize one another. Fish gather information by eavesdropping and fish even use tools- which until recently was thought to be a uniquely human trait. To learn more about the amazing lives of fish, please visit (or get your other half to) - you can also read about the cruelty of the fishing industry, the health problems caused by eating fish and, of course, what you can do to help them! These days there are also many vegetarian faux fish products that would probably satisfy the other half. Oh, we don’t call them 'really dumb rednecks' – it’s redundant.

Q: I agree with parts of PETA but feel things have gotten way overboard in some of your views. Keep going after the cruel people but please leave the honest hunter and fisher alone. Best of luck with the auction.

A: Thanks. Sometimes our views might seem over the top to people who are kind and caring to most animals but still enjoy pursuits like hunting or fishing. It is true that hunters and fishers are more honest than those who pay someone else to do their killing, but they need to discipline themselves to not just be up front about it, but to stop it as we’re not survivalists any more. Check out and read our positions on hunting and fishing – you may be surprised to find you agree.

Q: I am dismayed that someone in a position of power has nothing better to do than sell their time away to the highest bidder. Maybe you should reconsider your position as the leader of a powerful organization, and take on a more profitable career.

A: Ms Newkirk replies: I gave up a profitable career a long time ago to do something that has its rewards, even when it comes to dealing with rude and critical people, because I see every day that more eyes and hearts and minds are being opened, even against such resistance to change.


The very first question from Q&A:

Question & Answer Answered On

Q: Is this for real? Seems an unusual item for ebay. Cheers

A: Hi. Perhaps it is a bit unusual but it is certainly for real. You can read PETA's media release here:
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Posted: Nov 14, 2005 11:44am


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