Ingrid Newkirk (born June 11, 1949) is a British-born animal rights activist and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization. She is the author of several books, including Free the Animals (2000) and Making Kind Choices (2005).
Newkirk has worked for the animal protection movement since 1972. In the 1970s as the District of Columbia's first female poundmaster, legislation was passed to create the first spay/neuter clinic in Washington, D.C., as well as an adoption program and the public funding of veterinary services, leading her to be among those chosen in 1980 as Washingtonians of the Year.
She founded PETA in March that year with her boyfriend at the time, Alex Pacheco. They came to public attention in 1981, when Pacheco photographed 17 macaque monkeys being experimented on inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Silver Spring monkeys case led to the first police raid in the U.S. on an animal research laboratory and an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act. Since then, she has led campaigns to stop the use of animals in crash tests, has convinced companies to stop testing cosmetics on animals and to press for higher welfare standards from the meat industry, and has organized undercover investigations that have led to government sanctions against companies, universities, and entertainers who use animals. She is known in particular for the media stunts she organizes, deliberately outrageous to draw attention to animal protection issues. In her will, for example, she has asked that her skin be turned into wallets, her feet into umbrella stands, and her flesh into "Newkirk Nuggets," then grilled on a barbecue. "We are complete press sluts," she told The New Yorker in 2003. "It is our obligation."