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PETA Sentiments on March on Washington's Impact
8/20/2013 10:29:32 AM

Dear Editor:

From my office, it is a short walk to the spot where, 50 years ago, on August 28, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, and crowds must have streamed along this very street on their way to the March on Washington. Who alive then would have believed that just a few short decades later, Americans would elect their first black president?

We broke through one significant barrier, but we cannot stop there. We must shed today's prejudices as surely as we rejoice in having shed yesterday's.

We know that all living beings experience maternal love as we do; that if you burn a child or a cat, they feel the same pain; and that all of us with a heart beating inside us desire freedom. Yet young elephants are still removed from their families, confined by chains to stinking, squalid boxcars, and beaten into performing ridiculous tricks for human amusement. Monkeys, dogs, and rats are still burned, shocked, infected, poisoned, blinded, and surgically mutilated in laboratories despite breakthroughs in science that provide reliable and far more relevant non-animal testing methods. Animals on factory farms are treated more like widgets than the thinking, feeling beings they are: Chickens and pigs are crammed into cages so small that they cannot take a single step in any direction, calves are torn from the mothers who love them, pigs are prodded and kicked and deprived of everything that makes their lives worth living.

Fifty years after Dr. King’s stirring, unforgettable speech, I have a dream that we will embrace animal rights as being as deserving of our energy as the other hard-fought and slowly accepted struggles for social justice. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s honor his memory by pledging to oppose all oppression, prejudice, violence, and cruelty, no matter how novel the idea or how inconvenient the task.

Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
1536 16th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

Visitor Comments
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Submitted By: atacov Submitted: 8/20/2013
For Ingrid Newkirk to compare herself to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an insult to the memory of this great man. Ingrid Newkirk is the leader of the notorious PeTA, an organization that claims to promote the welfare of animals and yet somehow manages to kill every single year more animals in their so called shelter than any other animal shelter in the U.S.A.

Submitted By: Karen Batchelor Submitted: 8/21/2013
What a nerve you have to criticise anyone Ingrid. The sooner the animal lovers of the world know what you're really all about the sooner we are rid of your evil. Google: PeTA kills animals.

Submitted By: Fashionfan Submitted: 8/28/2013
I love that Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, and son, Dexter Scott King, went vegan and his friend Rosa Parks went vegetarian because they realized that if they were going to advocate for an end to oppression, subjugation, and abuse that they had to stop being violent to anyone themselves - and that meant animals. Many people believe that had Dr. King lived to see the beginning of the animal rights movement, he would have advocated for non-violence against animals as well. Only when we are truly respectful and compassionate to every being, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or species, will Dr. King's dream be fully realized.

Submitted By: LucyP Submitted: 8/28/2013
Ingrid isn’t comparing herself to anyone, but she is calling all of us to stand up against injustice, regardless of the species being oppressed. There is a world of difference between giving ailing, injured, aggressive, and unwanted animals a painless release from their suffering, as PETA does (see ) and beating, chaining, and enslaving animals to make them do circus tricks or intensively confining, mutilating, and subjecting animals to terrifying and painful deaths so we can eat them. I’m glad there are people like Ingrid who challenge us to let go of our selfish prejudices and organizations like PETA that do what’s best for animals, even when they are unfairly criticized for it.

Submitted By: rstarr Submitted: 8/28/2013
What a great letter! I agree that speciesism is the next frontier of rights, and the social justice cause of our time. Civil rights, sadly, still has a ways to go in this country (women's rights and gay rights too...), but it's never too soon to start thinking about all living beings who are oppressed, human and animal alike.

Submitted By: Gracie Friedrich Submitted: 8/28/2013
I just returned from the 50th Anniversary March on Washington, where I listened to speakers, including President Obama, remark that the movement for civil rights and MLK's historic speech opened the doors for many other movements for greater consideration for others. Ingrid Newkirk's letter calling on justice for all resonates precisely with the comments I heard today and I applaud her and her organization for helping open society's eyes to today's injustices.

Submitted By: ESloan111 Submitted: 8/29/2013
What a beautiful though. I admire anyone who strives to make the world a better place for people or animals, and MLK and Ingrid Newkirk share that common thread. But we should all focus less on them and more on ourselves. As Ingrid points out, it's up to all of to fight injustice. I have a dream that one day everyone will go vegan, not just for health reasons, but because it's the right thing to do,

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