(Originally Published April 9, 2014)
“Never be silent” are words taken right out of co-founder and President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk’s mouth and presentation to Penn State on Wednesday, April 2nd. Though she preaches this, and clearly follows it, she doesn’t seem to appreciate it when others follow this rule as well.
It was advertised around campus that Newkirk would answer any and all questions students may have. However, once she started receiving backlash, this PETA co-founder seemed that it would be the professional thing to do cutting us short after three questions. Sara Kitchen, a great friend and classmate of mine, didn’t agree.
We approached Newkirk and asked her the following three questions, and were bewildered by her responses, which were filled with ignorance and hostility.
Q1. What are PETA’s goals when the world population reaches 9 billion people? Are we all to be vegans? And if this is the end goal, how do we do this in an economical, profitable and sustainable way?
RESPONSE: Yes, people will still eat if we take away meat from our diets. And of course it will be better in all three things you mentioned. Animal agriculture is responsible for polluting water, releasing unwanted gas into the air and deforestation. Vegans use the least amount of energy and water, you know.
Q2. What will happen to the animals if we eliminate animal agriculture?
RESPONSE: Well you have to stop artificially inseminating them, and then we won’t be producing billions of animals each year. They will phase out. I don’t think you care about your animals *waves her hand in my face*, it’s just an excuse for what you’re doing to them. It’s something that’s been programmed into your mind, you’re just a business. Do you take the calves away from their mothers for safety? How would you feel if I did that to you, “for safety?”
Q3. How will this affect our economy? Agriculture generates billions of dollars to the United States economy each year, not to mention thousands of jobs.
RESPONSE: The economy will have to change. We used to have slavery and horse drawn carriages you know.
Throughout her responses, both Sara and I would try to respond with the rhyme and reason behind all of our practices, but she would bring down us down without letting us finish. In fact, we weren’t able to do more than start a sentence before she would interrupt and start another argument. Not only was it slightly discouraging, but very upsetting that a woman of her status and popularity would act so childish. In fact, to highlight her level of professionalism, I would like to leave you with this last exchange between Newkirk and I:
Newkirk: I don’t think you truly care about your animals. It’s a business, and it’s for profit.
Me: How can you accuse me of not caring about my cows? Is it not possible to have morals and emotions tied in with your business?
Newkirk: I don’t even know what you mean by that.
Sure you don’t Ingrid. I guess they didn’t teach you how to use insanity and outrageous beliefs to battle an opponent with reason, practicality and reality… did they?