The Financial Times profiles Ingrid Newkirk, 59, co-founder and president of PETA, which catalogs her controversial animal rights activism through the years. PETA protests have led to the introduction of the veggie burger at Burger King, McDonald's auditing its slaughterhouses, and Mercedes-Benz offering a pleather upholstery option. Newkirk is best known, however, for organizing provocative anti-fur demonstrations against the fashion industry, including sneaking into the Four Seasons to serve Anna Wintour a dead raccoon. Fur makes up only a small fraction of the animal products we consume, but Newkirk explains that she has targeted the fashion industry because it's high-profile and can demonstrate her ability to go after other industries she believes violate animal rights. "Businesses are terrified," she says. "They have no idea what I'm going to do next." [The Financial Times]
PETA activists may find themselves terribly clever, but many on the outside (myself included) are hesitant to buy into the way that they choose to get their point across. It's sort of like an extreme version of that Hasty Pudding group at Harvard that cross dresses and gives awards to celebrities, in terms of members of the group thinking that they're terribly awesome, but most non-participants finding them distressingly weird.