PETA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1980. Its intent was and is to defend the rights of animals in the United States and abroad. In fact, this Virginia-based organization has affiliates as far away as India and Germany.

PETA does not focus on the keeping of animals as pets. In fact, PETA does not officially endorse companion a
nimals, and some PETA employees claim that keeping animals as house pets is demeaning. PETA’s philosophy involves the moral equivalence of animals, and it tends to focus much more on the use of animals in industry. Fur, food, cosmetics and clothing are the main commercial venues that PETA addresses.

PETA does, however, rescue companion animals from cruel and inhumane situations. For example, PETA has conducted raids on puppy mills and research laboratories where companion animals were being treated cruelly. Some other things PETA has done include the following:

# In 1981, PETA conducted an investigation into a laboratory that was abusing monkeys. This case was ground-breaking, resulting in criminal prosecution against an animal experimenter in the US – the first such case of its kind.

# PETA has pioneered the banning of animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

# A well-known auto manufacturer used animals in its crash tests until PETA successfully negotiated with the company and uncovered their practices.

# PETA has fought for students’ rights to refuse to participate in classroom dissections.

# The circus has also been a target of PETA. In one case, cruelly-treated polar bears were released from their confinement in a Mexican circus.

# Fur-traders have been indicted with animal cruelty charges after PETA investigations revealed cruel slaughtering practices.

# PETA works with large food chains to prompt them to insist on the humane treatment of their farmed animals.

PETA does not believe that animals are ours to use for entertainment, food, clothing, or experimentation. The area of companion animals is a bit sketchy with PETA, so if you are interested in becoming involved with the group, make sure this issue has been resolved to your satisfaction.

How You Can Get Involved

If PETA sounds like an organization you’d like to get involved with or support, there are ways to do that. For youth, there is an animal rights group called Peta2. Peta2 was founded in 2002 to appeal to the youth culture. Other ways you can get involved are:

* Become a member
* Become a fan on Facebook
* Donate money or time (PETA appreciates volunteers)
* Apply for employment with PETA
* Consider becoming an intern for PETA

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