She founded PETA–People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals–in 1980, with a mission much larger than vegetarianism. The organization fights to end the suffering of animals on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in the entertainment industry, and in laboratories. Some of PETA’s first campaigns targeted research labs where monkeys and chimps were used as test subjects.
Yes, well PETA doesn’t just want to end suffering, it wants to end all human use of animals–a point that Lapidus somehow missed in her reporting. Moreover, the targeted labs where monkeys were test subjects involved the Silver Springs Monkey case, which falsely accused Dr. Edward Taub of animal abuse and almost stopped a tremendous rehabilitation technique for stroke victims and children with cerebral palsy from being developed. (Hit this link for details.)
And this junk from Newkirk gets swallowed whole:
“We don’t need to, in the 21st century, test our shampoos and our floor polish on animals in these crude ways,” Newkirk stresses, adding “but it will take a public outcry before we stop.” PETA scientists have talked to the U.S. Environmental Protecting Agency about promoting modern, non-animal tests, which, Newkirk says, “are far quicker, far more efficient, and they apply–because you use human data–more accurately to the human condition.”
Readers of SHS know that we can’t do away with scientific testing on animals–which is not about floor polish. Human trials, are of course, necessary in emerging research. But you can’t start there and you need to test various matters on living organisms to move forward–and that is often too dangerous to peform on people. If we want scientific and medical advancement, we need to research on animals.
Notice also the cutesy pictures accompanying the piece, such as the one I uploaded here of Newkirk feeding the pigeons in the park. All in all, this reads more as if it were written by Newkirk’s PR agent than a reporter. But make no mistake: Newkirk is a profoundly misanthropic radical. The VOA should have at least included some indication of that fact.