Before founding PETA, Ingrid Newkirk served as a deputy sheriff and a Maryland state law-enforcement officer for 25 years with the highest success rate in convicting animal abusers. During her work as a humane officer and then as a laboratory inspector, Ingrid discovered the enormous amount of animal abuse taking place behind closed doors in laboratories and on factory farms. Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation inspired her to start PETA in 1980 with the goals of investigating, publicizing, and ending cruelty to animals.
Under Ingrid’s leadership, PETA has exposed horrific cruelty in animal laboratories, leading to canceled funding, closed facilities, and hundreds of charges filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; closed the largest horse-slaughtering operation in North America; cleaned up substandard animal shelters; helped schools find alternatives to dissection; coordinated the first arrest in U.S. history of a vivisector on cruelty-to-animals charges; and helped achieve the first anti-cruelty law in Taiwan. She spearheaded the closure of a Department of Defense underground animal wound laboratory and has initiated many other campaigns against animal abuse, including ending General Motors’ crash tests on animals, as well as providing information on vegetarianism, care of animal companions, and countless other issues to millions of people.
Whether she is protesting or debating hunters on national television, Ingrid always uses her convictions as her guide. She has turned the most ardent meat-eaters into vegans and offers an inspiring role model for one of the largest social movements in our country.
Ingrid appears at select conferences only.
Alex Bury was trained as a classical chef at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. Her career as a chef was already taking off when she attended an animal rights conference in 1995 and saw a PETA video about the treatment of farm animals. It changed her life. She quit her job as a chef, which involved working with animal products, and devoted herself to animal rights activism and using her skills to prepare sensational vegan food. In 2001, she and her partner opened a restaurant in California called Sparks—with an entirely vegan menu that Alex created. Sparks quickly became well-known for its outstanding food, even among non-vegans. But all the work that went into starting Sparks never slowed down her passion for animal activism, and in 2003, she became the food coordinator for PETA’s “Helping Animals 101.” Alex is now the coordinator for the entire Helping Animals 101 series of events.
While growing up, Bruce became concerned about animals slaughtered for food when he saw trucks transporting animals through bitter Minnesota winters and sweltering Oklahoma summers. As director of Vegan Outreach for PETA, Bruce led PETA’s successful campaign against McDonald’s cruel factory farming and slaughter practices, forcing the fast-food giant to become the first corporation in U.S. history to adopt farmed animal welfare policies. Thanks in large part to Bruce’s tenacity, Burger King and Wendy’s followed suit, as did Safeway and other grocery chains. Now he’s leading PETA’s campaign against KFC.
Over the past 20 years, Alka has worked with a myriad of social cause and environmental groups. A visit to a slaughterhouse in 1989 inspired Alka to become active in the animal rights and vegan advocacy movements, knowing that truly progressive politics incorporates all the issues of the strong vs. the powerless. Now, as campaigns manager for PETA, Alka is leading efforts to change the world for animals.
While attending a Catholic high school in Massachusetts, Dan “went veg” when he realized that the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill” means just what it says—and includes animals. As a Vegan Campaign coordinator for PETA, Dan has toured with PETA’s mascot, “Colonel Corn,” staged counter “attacks” at fast-food restaurants, and urged Earth Day organizers to serve eco-friendly vegetarian food at their festivals. A huge sports fan, Dan persuaded the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to permanently bench leather balls at its annual championship tournament in favor of cruelty-free synthetic basketballs, and he’s urging the National Basketball Association to do the same.