She is friendly and polite – which is probably enhanced by her British accent. But if need be, it’s hard as steel. Ingrid never shies away from finding clear words or making a statement – whether she’s going to undress, light a car, take Anna Wintour’s office, or get jailed.
Ingrid has taken off countless times to protest against fur, leather, meat, etc. And even now, at 70, there is no reason for her to stop.
For an ad motif, she hung herself on a butcher’s hook at a market in London next to the bodies of pigs to show how similar humans and other animals are.
“It was very cold,” recalls Ingrid. “And it was almost impossible to hang on this hook. Your whole body weight hangs on your hands. I just undressed, grabbed the hook and hung there. I knew that there would be people who found the motive offensive. Animals are just like us in terms of their bodies and their feelings. We need to get people to think about it. I was wondering if we should not bring in the cries of pigs (in the slaughterhouse), but that would have been too much. “
For today’s standards that may not sound very revolutionary.
But in the 1970s castration clinics and adoption programs in animal shelters were still unknown territory.
As the first female director of a shelter in Washington, D.C. Ingrid pushed through a law that provided public funds for castration and veterinary care.
She stopped selling animals to laboratories and set up an adoption program for homeless animals at “her” shelter. She was voted Washington Person of the Year for her commitment.
General Motors (GM) was the last remaining automaker to use primates, pigs, dogs, ferrets, mice and rats for accident testing. The company refused to introduce human testing methods in collaboration with PETA USA, such as computer-controlled models.
In one action, a crowd gathered after Ingrid set a donated car on fire.
The same thing she did at two more exhibitions. After 18 months of unremitting publicity against animal cruelty at GM, the company stopped all animal accident testing. Thus, the cruel practice was abolished worldwide.
Pennsylvania held a pigeon shooting that captured 5,000 birds, put them in tiny cages for days without food and water, then released them – sick, weakened and disoriented.
Afterwards, the participants were able to shoot at the animals.
Birds that were wounded but not immediately dead fell to the ground, and the children of the participants kicked them dead or turned their necks over.
In 1992, around 2,000 animal rights activists protested against this event.
Ingrid led 40 of them into the field to stop the pigeons from shooting.
They seized cages in which birds were still sitting and also collected the injured animals. When the group was arrested, they decided not to pay a fine but to go to jail. Because that would cost the city a lot of money, and the event would be with all the necessary security and the following prison housing – so the hope – in the long term too expensive.
For us the 1992 pigeon shooting cost the taxpayer $ 300,000 – the event was soon discontinued.
In the summer of 1981, Ingrid and another PETA-USA founder decided to uncover the unimaginable animal suffering that takes place behind locked laboratory doors.
It was the first eyewitness investigation of the animal rights movement.
Ingrid’s colleague hired worked as an undercover at the Institute for Behavioral Research – a government-funded laboratory in Silver Spring, Maryland. There monkeys were cut through the spinal nerves to make their limbs partly unusable. With electric shocks, food deprivation, and other cruel methods, the animals were forced to try everything they could to reuse the disabled limbs.
An expert witness went to the lab at night.
Ingrid was hiding in a cardboard box in the parking lot, looking out from there to report by radio should anyone approach the lab.
When the photos and videos of the monkeys finally went public, it triggered a storm of indignation.
The investigation brought PETA USA, the topic of animal rights and the horror behind animal testing on the television screens and front pages of the United States.
The investigation was groundbreaking. For the first time, an experimentalist was arrested and convicted of animal cruelty. For the first time abused animals were confiscated from a laboratory. And for the first time, the US Supreme Court has won a victory for animals abused in animal experiments.
In Mumbai Ingrid was stretched in front of a horse-drawn carriage – including teeth – and pulled before the eyes of the passers-by and their team through the relentless heat.
Because the same happens to many horses. Thanks to PETA’s campaigns, Mumbai, like many other cities worldwide, has banned horse-drawn carriages.
Anna wintour-Vogue Editor
In order to persuade Anna Wintour (the Vogue- Magazine editor) to finally distance herself from fur, PETA had repeatedly delivered delicious vegan cakes – but unfortunately without success.
That’s why Ingrid, another PETA member and Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, stormed the magazine’s New York office, past all the security guards, to protest that Vogue still supports fur.
Anna Wintour fled and barricaded herself in a back room. So Ingrid took over the reception and answered the phone with the words: “We closed today because of animal cruelty.”
Even after her death, Ingrid wants to ensure that the subject animal rights comes to the front pages.
Her will states that various parts of her body should be used to denounce animal suffering.
Their meat is to be grilled, for example, at a “human barbecue”.
Her skin is turned into a wallet and other leather products.
Her legs should be disassembled and make human umbrella stands or other articles.
Ingrid wants to make it clear that we all have the same body parts and nobody wants to die for a steak or a shoe.
Her lizard tattoo will be removed to make the first “exotic leather” accessory that the wearer has agreed to.
One of her eyes is sent to the US Environmental Protection Agency to remind her that PETA USA will keep a close eye on her until the agency stops her useless animal experiments.
Ingrid’s liver is publicly displayed in France as a protest against the compulsory feeding of geese and ducks for foie gras.
“We have to make people think,” explains Ingrid.
“Because most of us have learned not to think about what’s going on with pigs, chickens, monkeys, rats, bears and horses, and not to worry about their suffering.
Our job is to focus people’s attention and make them think. It is not our goal to make us popular.
My comment: It does not matter who suffers. We must alleviate the suffering itself.
For that, we need effective activism, courage, and aggressive methods to spread the animal’s suffering to the media and society. Just as Ingrid Newkirk does!
Our fight should never stop.
And we are sure that Ingrid Newkirk will not stop fighting at the age of 70.
We wish that and we hope so.
My best regards to all, Venus