Ingrid Newkirk Unplugged

The most recent issue of the New Yorker magazine includes a 14-page essay on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) President and co-founder,
Ingrid Newkirk.
It is entitled “The Extremist: The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America.” Perhaps the article should instead have been titled “The Nutcase.” It reveals Newkirk as simply, incredibly bizarre.

Newkirk on violence
“[People] need to understand that if they support the torture and misuse of other animals they will be made to pay. The animals are defenseless. They can’t fight back. But we can. And, no matter what it takes, we always will.”

Newkirk on former employees calling PETA “the cult of Newkirk”
“If you put the cult stuff in [your article] nobody will take what we do seriously.”

Newkirk on the press
“We are complete press sluts.”

Newkirk on being a press slut
“That Reuters reporter was so thrilled when I told him my position on hoof-and-mouth disease. Don’t you need something like that [i.e., an outrageous quote for your article] too?”

Newkirk on what she strives to be
“The biggest nag on earth.”

Newkirk’s last will and testament
“That the meat of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbeque…my skin, or a portion thereof, be removed and made into leather products…my feet be removed and umbrella strands or other ornamentation be made from them…my eyes be removed, mounted and delivered to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency…”

Newkirk on Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders
“Why not find out when his birthday is, call the newspapers, and go dance on his grave?”

Newkirk on drooling
“People drool when they look at [Pamela Anderson, who poses for PETA ads]. Why wouldn’t we use that? We need all the drooling we can get.”

Newkirk on her divine mandate
“I am just trying to make the best case for animals. That is clearly what I was put on this earth to do. Even after I am gone, I will try to continue.”

Newkirk on having children
“I am not only uninterested in having children. I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog; it is nothing but vanity, human vanity.”

A few of the author’s observations are also worth recounting.

On PETA’s press strategy
“PETA’s publicity formula — eighty percent outrage, ten percent each of celebrity and truth.”

On Newkirk’s view of Seeing Eye dogs
“She regards the use of Seeing Eye dogs as an abdication of human responsibility and, because they live as ‘servants’ and are denied the companionship of other dogs, she is wholly opposed to their use.”

On Newkirk dreaming
“Ingrid Newkirk told me once, with genuine conviction, that McDonald’s — which feeds hamburgers and chicken nuggets to twenty million people a day in the United State alone — would stop serving meat in her lifetime.”

On attacking Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander for appearing in KFC commercials
“Then PETA’s Dan Matthews spoke up again. ‘Do you know that fat little guy from Seinfeld? He has become the main pitchman for KFC, Jason Alexander. And beginning in May he is going to star in the West Coast production of ‘The Producers.’ It’s made for us. We can be slamming him as the play opens. If we do this properly, he will wish he never saw a chicken.”

On mad cow disease
“Next on the agenda: the case of Charlton Heston. Heston has fallen ill with Alzheimer’s, a disease with symptoms that can resemble those of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, the human form of mad-cow disease. Deer have a chronic wasting syndrome similar to that found in cattle, and, tenuous though it is, the link presents PETA with an opportunity to, as Newkirk put it, ‘toy with the idea that both Alzheimer’s and CJD are related to meat consumption.'”

On PETA supporting violence
“Its leaders wholeheartedly defend and encourage guerilla groups like the Animal Liberation Front. In fact, Bruce Friedrich, one of PETA’s most prominent leaders, says in a speech readily available on the Internet [CCF caught and recorded Friedrich saying this at a 2001 convention] ‘I think it would be a great thing if, you know, all these fast food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.'”

On PETA’s success
“PETA is by far the most successful radical organization in America, raising more than fifteen million dollars a year, most of it in small contributions from its seven hundred and fifty thousand members and supporters. Newkirk believes in spending as much of that as she can.”

On Newkirk’s extremism
“She told me, in the most unequivocal terms, that the world would be an infinitely better place without humans in it at all.”

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