A candid and introspective look at the extreme beliefs and motives of Ingrid Newkirk, the British-born co-founder and driving force behind People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal-rights organization.
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T. Colin Campbell
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How did a controversial, ultra-radical organization become the largest animal rights group in the world? For the past 25 years, Ingrid Newkirk and People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have tirelessly attacked one of the pillars of civilization: mankind's use of animals. Ingrid and her supporters are driven by the single-minded conviction that humans must not use animals for any reason - not for food, clothing, medical experimentation, or even for entertainment. Ingrid works 18-hour days and lives in a one-bedroom apartment with little furniture. She publicly hopes that mad cow disease will ravage the country; she believes a cure for AIDS is not worth the life of a single monkey; and when Ingrid dies, she wants her body dissected, eaten, and made into clothing - as a statement of solidarity with non-human animals. Having obtained unprecedented access to Ingrid and the activities of her organization, I Am An Animal thoroughly explores PETA's unconventional ideology and its... Written by
I grew up disliking PETA because of the things I had heard about them: throwing pies at people, extreme activism, standing in the way of medical research, etc. Well, this documentary pretty much confirmed all that but gave me a new perspective: PETA may not be "as bad" as I thought after all.
Basically, this is a documentary about Ingrid Newkirk, the British co-founder of PETA, and the organization itself. We see how they discuss situations, infiltrate organizations and plan 'extreme' demonstrations. We also get perspectives on PETA from different animal rights organizations.
According to the show, PETA does not seem to be liked by other animal rights groups. However, one does start to get a sense that PETA may have a role to play in our society - a role that those other groups are not performing. Ingrid shamelessly admits that much of what they do is to elicit shock value to get a "soundbyte" on the news. Otherwise, the public will hear nothing.
The program also indicates that there are very few "checks and balances" in the area of animal rights - so perhaps we need a wild and extreme attention getting group to get some knowledge out there. While I watched, I realized that I don't want a company to have a blank check to do anything to animals. It seems like it's often very hard to know what they're doing at all. Ignorance is bliss, but I'm not sure I want that kind of bliss.
I may disagree with PETA's ultimate agenda (there are some hints about that from the co-founder that left), but for now, I dislike PETA a whole lot less.
Whatever your views on PETA, this documentary is well worth the time. It's challenging, informative and frank.
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