PETA's Vital Work
We believe that animals have an intrinsic worth of their own, quite apart from their utility to humans, and should not be treated as commodities. Therefore, PETA’s motto is “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”
Not Ours to Experiment on
PETA condemns the use of animals in laboratories, where they’re kept in barren cages, scared out of their wits, subjected to painful procedures, and denied any happiness or comfort. In 2021, we achieved these milestones:
- We submitted complaints to federal agencies after documenting the abuse of nearly 2,000 monkeys at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. A PETA undercover investigation found that primates were neglected, driven mad by confinement, and attacked by their traumatized cagemates.
- After meeting with PETA scientists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a scientific analysis and announced a policy that the agency says will spare approximately 750 rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs the agony of tests in which pesticides are applied to their skin each year.
- PETA scientists persuaded biopharmaceutical company Amgen to ban the meaningless forced swim test, in which small, terrified animals paddle frantically in inescapable beakers of water, trying to keep from drowning.
- Following our recommendation, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration removed requirements for drowning and electroshock tests on animals for companies attempting to make anti-fatigue health claims to market their food and beverages and updated its testing regulation for health foods to prioritize non-animal test methods. We also persuaded Standard Foods Group—the largest health food company in Taiwan—to become Taiwan’s first major food and beverage company to ban animal tests not required by law. Another huge health food company in Taiwan, Vitalon Foods Group, quickly followed suit by banning these cruel tests.
- The Chinese government will now allow companies to market most imported “general cosmetics”—such as shampoo, body wash, and makeup—without the usual required animal testing. The announcement came after PETA had awarded grants for scientists to travel to China to offer training in replacing cruel, unreliable animal tests.
- After hearing from more than 85,000 PETA supporters, the Hass Avocado Board adopted a policy stating that it “does not support, fund, or conduct animal research.” The policy ends experiments on animals, including force-feeding mice then starving and suffocating them.
- PETA scientists gave a presentation on non-animal tests at the world’s largest toxicology conference, including co-chairing a session. They won an award for a poster explaining ways to predict whether a chemical will cause cancer without testing on mice or rats.
- We persuaded Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee to stop having its residents practice reproductive surgical procedures on live pigs and instead to switch to modern, animal-free surgical training options.
- PETA filed a first-of-its-kind bill of attainder lawsuit on behalf of owls used in experiments at Johns Hopkins University. If the groundbreaking lawsuit succeeds, it would abolish the Helms Amendment, which excludes birds, mice, and rats bred for laboratories from protections under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
- We launched Without Consent, an eye-opening exhibit featuring two 7-foot-by-7-foot cubes that bear concise descriptions and photographs of nearly 200 animal experiments conducted from the 1920s through today. The exhibit was displayed in several cities and all summer long at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Not Ours to Eat
PETA exposes what happens to the billions of sensitive animals who are abused and killed by the food industry every year, calls on authorities to hold abusers to account, and makes vegan eating easy and popular.
- In 2021, we drove home the fact that raising and killing animals for food can cause the spread of deadly contagious diseases like COVID-19. After hearing from us, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to suspend the sale of live wild mammals in markets. We then collected more than 350,000 signatures calling on WHO to shut down all live-animal markets. We also released a video interview of Tyson slaughterhouse workers discussing the company’s failure to protect employees during the pandemic.
- PETA revealed the tragic fate of four turkeys “pardoned” by former President Donald Trump. The birds are warehoused inside barren cells at Virginia Tech and denied any opportunity to satisfy their basic needs.
- After a PETA undercover investigation revealed that workers kicked, stomped on, and beat turkeys with a heavy rod at farms supplying Plainville Farms, Whole Foods suspended all purchases from the company and pulled its products from store shelves.
- We exposed shocking deaths at slaughterhouses. Our actions made headlines and informed countless people about the horrors in the meat industry:
- A conscious pig at an Iowa slaughterhouse was drowned in scalding-hot water, and a pig was found hanging upside down and struggling to right herself in another Iowa slaughterhouse before she was shot twice in the head.
- After we exposed 11 violations of federal law at a Massachusetts slaughterhouse, it closed down.
- About 9,000 “spent” egg-laying hens froze to death on trucks outside a Minnesota slaughterhouse, and 30,000 chickens were left overnight without food or water in trucks at a Costco supplier—deadly neglect that killed 1,600 of the birds.
- Following a PETA campaign and two PETA Asia undercover investigations into the use of chained and caged monkeys to pick coconuts in Thailand’s coconut industry, Target, Raley’s, Wegmans, Kroger, Super King Markets, Save Mart, Albertsons and all of its subsidiaries, including Safeway, stopped selling coconut milk from major Thai producer Chaokoh, which uses monkey labor.
- For the millions of people seeking to remove animals from their plates, PETA is helping to make vegan options more readily available. This year, the Everything Plant-Based Sandwich at Peet’s Coffee launched after a push from us and Long John Silver’s tested Plant-Based Breaded Fish-Free Fillets and Plant-Based Breaded Crab-Free Cakes at five locations.
We drew massive media attention to the abuse of animals for food with the help of Casey Affleck, Alan Cumming, Enes Kanter, Carmella Rose, Courtney Stodden, Mena Suvari, Merissa Underwood (Miss Montana USA), and Heather Rae Young, among many others.
Not Ours to Wear
PETA pushes society to evolve past the use of materials derived from animals’ skin, fur, feathers, and hair, and never have more people been against wearing animals.
- After years of determined pressure from PETA and activists worldwide, Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Neiman Marcus, Alice + Olivia, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Pendleton Woolen Mills banned fur.
- After PETA shared a first-of-its-kind investigation into the alpaca industry that revealed alpacas shrieking in terror as they were roughly shorn, cut up, and left bleeding from deep wounds, dozens of designers, brands, and retailers abandoned alpaca fleece, including Ascena Retail Group (owner of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lane Bryant), Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, White House Black Market, Soma, Rebecca Taylor, Vince, Journeys, Johnston & Murphy, Express, Lands’ End, and Williams-Sonoma, Inc., to name just a few.
- PETA persuaded personal-care brand Baxter of California and Edgewell Personal Care to ban badger fur brushes, rejecting an industry that forces badgers to live in cramped wire cages until workers finally bludgeon them and slit their throats. And that’s not all: Baxter’s parent company, L’Oréal Group—the largest cosmetics and beauty company in the world—banned badger, goat, and all other animal hair. These companies are among the nearly 100 brands worldwide that no longer use badger hair.
- After a two-year PETA campaign against French brand American Vintage’s use of angora, the company agreed to stop selling it. Meanwhile, UGG listened to us and launched an entirely vegan line. And in response to our exposés of rampant cruelty in the exotic-skins industry, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexandre Birman, Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company, and Puig—owner of the labels Carolina Herrera, Jean Paul Gaultier, and others—will stop selling items made from the skins of snakes, crocodiles, and other exotic animals.
- PETA persuaded Dream Hotel Group, which owns nine luxury hotels around the world, to feature exclusively down-free bedding. This will spare countless ducks and geese the ordeal of being tightly bound while their feathers are yanked out by the fistful.
- We partnered with H&M on a collection of stylish vegan pieces that show how easy it is to help animals and the planet by wearing vegan.
- In a historic win, Israel became the first country to ban the sale of fur for fashion. The ban was made possible with the help of PETA Honorary Director Pamela Anderson. Closer to home, the town of Weston, Massachusetts, became the second municipality in the state to vote to ban the sale of new fur.
Not Ours to Use for Entertainment
PETA’s vigorous campaigns to end the suffering of animals used in the entertainment industry are winning landmark victories.
- After decades of being primarily warehoused in cramped cells, all six remaining chimpanzees held at the Missouri Primate Foundation former breeding compound were transferred to a wonderful sanctuary home in Florida after PETA won a court order for their release.
- Based in part on evidence obtained and provided by PETA, 69 big cats were seized from animal exhibitor Jeff Lowe.
- Animal exhibitor Tim Stark, who lost a landmark Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit to PETA in 2020, is now banned “from acquiring, owning, and exhibiting any exotic or native animals, including all mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians” because of a ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Office of the Attorney General of Indiana. We had previously supplied evidence to the attorney general in support of that lawsuit. In addition, following a June 2021 ruling, Stark owes us $753,232.10 in attorneys’ fees and expenses relating to our ESA victory against him.
- Our investigation into the killing of former racehorses in South Korea led race-industry leader The Stronach Group to push for a prohibition on sales of Thoroughbreds to that country. Congress passed an anti-doping bill, and all three races of the Triple Crown were run Lasix-free. A PETA-supported lawsuit brought by a bettor claiming damages when a doped horse won served notice to trainers: Stop cheating with drugs or risk ending up in court. And Grand Prix jumper Kevin Lemke was suspended after PETA filed a criminal complaint regarding his physical abuse of a horse.
- Union County Sportsmen’s Club in Pennsylvania was prohibited from possessing bears and most other animals after citations were issued for the abuse of animals like Dillan the bear, who was kept for years in a small, concrete-floored pen. He was rescued and is now thriving at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
- PETA members in Colorado supported a successful campaign to ban the use of elephants, big cats, bears, and other animals in circuses and traveling shows. Likewise, the Town Council of Amherst, Massachusetts, banned the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling shows.
- Dade City’s Wild Things, a now-defunct roadside zoo in Florida, must pay nearly $400,000 in expenses related to PETA’s ESA lawsuit that led to the rescue of the tigers at the facility, and Grant Kemmerer, who paraded wild animals on talk shows, cannot exhibit wild animals in New York until at least 2023.
- Following PETA lawsuits and complaints, SeaQuest scrapped plans to open an aquarium and petting zoo at a mall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; animal exhibitor Laughing Valley Ranch in Colorado surrendered its Animal Welfare Act license; and Sea Lion Splash, a traveling exhibit, and Waccatee Zoo, a roadside zoo in South Carolina, were cited for animal welfare violations.
- We persuaded drugstore giant Rite Aid to stop selling greeting cards with demeaning and exploitative images of great apes.
- We persuaded ExxonMobil, Craft Sportswear, and Anchorage Distillery to stop supporting the barbaric Iditarod dog-sled race.
- Amazon Prime canceled The Pack reality competition show after PETA condemned footage of a dog dangling midair over a cliff.
- After hearing from us about the egregious cruelty inherent in animal circuses, Penn National Gaming banned them at its 41 properties nationwide.
We thank Sofía Sisniega, Joaquin Phoenix, Liz Alexa, Sharna Burgess, Kate del Castillo, Ana María Polo, and Michelle Renaud, among others, for supporting our campaigns against the exploitation of animals for entertainment.
Not Ours to Abuse in Any Other Way
Every year, PETA’s Emergency Response Team ensures that harmful policies are changed, abusers face legal consequences, and animals in danger are rushed to safety.
In 2021, we received more than 250 reports of cruelty every week from all over the U.S. and abroad. Victories included negotiating the surrender of multiple neglected elderly dogs in West Virginia, rescuing and fostering 16 rabbits in Seattle, and protecting wildlife by retrofitting spiked fencing, dismantling netting, and removing glue traps.
- PETA exposed abuse at Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, a massive breeding facility in Minnesota that confined approximately 1,000 chinchillas to wire-floored cages in a shed. The owner was also fined $18,000 by a federal judge and stripped of his Animal Welfare Act license. Additionally, we alerted authorities to suffering occurring at a Pennsylvania small-animal mill, and the owner was charged with and pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals, which resulted in the closure of the facility.
- PETA revealed that trophy hunters are paying South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s company tens of thousands of dollars to kill buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, baboons, hippos, antelope, honey badgers, crocodiles, and other animals.
- After an Oregon man was charged with arson in connection with a devastating wildfire, PETA successfully urged prosecutors to add cruelty charges on behalf of sheep, birds, a raccoon, and a goldfish who all died in the fire. Now prosecutors in California may pursue similar cruelty charges related to a fire that killed at least nine condors.
- PETA’s fieldworkers are out every day in impoverished regions where animal protection services are scarce or non-existent. Here are just three of the many animals we rescued in 2021:
- Wolfie was chained in solitary confinement for years, becoming more and more fearful as time went by. After much persistence from our fieldworkers, the dog’s owner finally gave her to us, and we found her a loving family.
- A dog named Red was also kept tethered outdoors with nothing but a wire crate for “shelter” until our fieldworkers negotiated his surrender. He went from cowering in his crate to snuggling with and “kissing” his PETA rescuers.
- It took almost 24 hours and the assistance of the local fire department, but PETA fieldworkers successfully rescued Mikey, a tiny kitten who was trapped in a storm drain.
- PETA led a protest calling for the termination and prosecution of a Salisbury, North Carolina, police officer who was filmed choking and hitting a K-9. The officer resigned.
- After hearing from PETA, The Pearl Hotel in San Diego stopped displaying betta fish in cramped bowls.
- Remembering the Dalmatian-buying frenzy that occurred after the 1996 live-action film 101 Dalmatians, PETA persuaded Disney to include an “adopt, don’t shop” disclaimer in Cruella.
We enlisted the help of Ana Bárbara, William Valdés, Robby Anderson, Tricia Helfer, Dont’a Hightower, Leah Lewis, Cristin Milioti, Marco Antonio Regil, Daniel Suárez, Paulina Rubio, Chris Pérez, and Katee Sackhoff in our anti-cruelty campaigns.
The Next Generation
PETA’s youth division is the number one force galvanizing young people to reject the speciesist status quo and change the future for animals.
- Students Opposing Speciesism (SOS) is a PETA-backed revolution led by Gen Z activists who are challenging human-supremacist norms. This year, SOS activists hosted a SeaWorld Day of Action, gathered virtually for an SOS activism retreat, launched a “Hers, Not Yours” campaign against the dairy industry, organized anti-speciesism banner drops and protests around the country, protested against Urban Outfitters brands’ sale of animal-derived materials, and started a campaign to get the entire University of California system to ban the sale of animal-derived foods in dining halls.
- TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—piloted a digital dissection program in the San Diego Unified School District, the second-largest school district in California. The district described using the digital dissection software as “a step towards more sustainable, humane science education.”
- TeachKind held a virtual training for educators on our new social justice curriculum, Challenging Assumptions, which provides tips for integrating animal rights topics into the curriculum as a means of helping students challenge societal norms— like speciesism.
- PETA Kids gave Hero to Animals Awards to five boys in Iowa who have helped more than 200 turtles cross a busy road. We also launched our PETA Kids Member Program. Children 12 and under can sign up and receive a free membership card and monthly e-mails about ways to help animals.
- During National Dairy Month (June), PETA delivered 500 vegan ice cream snacks and copies of our “Guide to Going Vegan” to a school in Virginia. When we learned that a staff member provided students at a Bowling Green, Kentucky, school with meals from Chick-fil-A, we responded with a delivery of vegan chicken sandwiches. Our action received positive feedback from the principal, who wrote to us, “[The] kids actually really liked the vegan sandwich. Everything was great! Thanks again for reaching out and giving our students this experience.”