Re "Editorial: What PETA Does Best" (July 18), perhaps your editorial writers should ask themselves why the media focus endlessly on salacious stories, fashion frivolity, and The Bachelorette, rather than more deserving social issues, certainly things like human rights and preventing cruelty to animals. Then they might understand why PETA and other social justice organizations sometimes also resort to light and silly ways to get the public's attention.
Before PETA asked the mayor of Caldwell, Idaho, to change the name of Chicken Dinner Road to Chicken Road, which is a pretty harmless request that somehow ruffled a lot of feathers, how many people had stopped to consider that chickens are sensitive to pain, have distinct personalities, and can show empathy for and form strong bonds with one another? Of the thousands of people who came to our website to snicker, many reported being shocked by the videos showing the misery endured by chickens who are factory-farmed and trucked in all weather extremes and whose throats are slit just for a fleeting taste sensation. Many downloaded our free vegan starter kit.
Provocative campaigns often make the difference between the public's awareness of serious subjects and their complete invisibility. Since its founding, PETA has exposed horrific cruelty to animals in laboratories, leading to canceled funding, shuttered facilities, and hundreds of government fines; persuaded fashion designers to stop using fur, leather, and wool from abused foxes, cows, and sheep; helped schools implement sophisticated alternatives to cutting up frogs; closed the largest animal circus in the world; and much more. I invite readers to visit www.PETA.org to learn about our vital work and how they can help stop animal suffering — yes, even that of chickens.
Ingrid E. Newkirk
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)