Alex Pacheco, Co-founder (1980), speaking on Animal Rights Zone:

I’m often asked “Why did you part from PETA, was it a fundamental issue and/or do you feel the actions by PETA are justified?” The short answer is: I left PETA because it had and has drifted far from its base, and because of disagreements over tactics. The longer answer is: The record will show that while I was there, my core focus was on developing high impact exposés which were very inclusive, and were typically made up of a combination of at least: undercover investigations, criminal and civil litigation, legislation and of course public education.

Kim Stallwood, Executive Director (1987-1992), from my forthcoming book, Animal Dharma:

At this time I was PETA’s executive director and proud of our accomplishments; however, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the organisation’s leadership and the direction in which some of the publicity stunts were going. Of course, our mission was to educate people about animal exploitation but was it necessary to do so at the expense of someone else? This led me to making what I believed to be the only honourable decision I could make. I resigned in 1992 and left PETA without any other employment to go to. I enthusiastically supported what I always understood to be PETA’s effective two-part strategy of presenting, first, the problem of animal cruelty with innovative undercover investigations and, second, offering the solution by inspiring people to adopt a compassionate vegan lifestyle. The focus of this brilliant but deceptively simple approach of simultaneously and credibly presenting the problem with the solution appears to have changed. PETA’s increasing emphasis on celebrities and strident publicity stunts overwhelming its brilliant undercover investigations and unnecessarily polarising sections of the population, including women, racial minorities and obese people, from its deliberately provocative publicity stunts that trivialise them.

13 comments on “Why We Left PETA

  • Well done! Thank you for working so hard to bring such important topics to light AND not losing your own morals in the process.

    Always stand up for what is right, for all beings! <3

  • Not only isn’t the solution (veganism) to the problem presented (use), but welfarism (treatment) has become the alternative. Bet those donations are higher than ever.

  • How could you have been both Executive Director and “uncomfortable with the organisation’s leadership” at once? Isn’t the role of Executive Director to be the leadership and set an example and direction for the organisation? It sounds like a missed opportunity.

    • D: Many thanks for your message. I’m not sure what you mean in your comment when you say the Executive Director is the organisation’s leadership. Generally, that’s not true because the board of directors also is part of an organisation’s leadership. Which is certainly true with respect to PETA and its two co-founders. Not sure also what you are referring to with respect to a ‘missed opportunity.’ For whom? Kim

  • I witnessed first hand Alex’s philosophy and commitment at Heggins pigeon shoot. Unlike the cofounder, he had a thought out plan to save birds and not just grandstand for publicity. The animal movement has lost a lot of respect without his leadership. A major loss for the animals.

  • Dear Mr. Stallwood,

    I’ve read some comments about PeTA’s killing of animals that they adopted under the pretense of giving them a home, and then immediately killing them. For example, Ingrid Newkird supposedly admitting that she would come in before everyone else and euthanize the animals. Has this been sensationalized or is this true? There was a supposed quote by Alex Pacheco that “PeTA just didn’t have enough room for all these animals.” Do you know if any of these accusations are true? Ultimately, I can see that you and Mr. Pacheco have moved on to continue your work, but certainly this must shock you.

    Thank you!

  • Thank you for giving us the true reason for your departure from PETA. Many often wondered what happened as you were always dedicated to its cause.

  • I agree that Peta went overboard with some publicity stunts. They started exploiting women in much the same way they were against exploiting animals. It kind of defeats the purpose. They became a laughing stock which hurt their original intentions, although they did manage to do a lot of good things.

  • I stopped supporting PETA for a long time because I was seeing naked or nearly naked women doing their advertising. That strikes me as unfair to women and even exploitive. I wanted PETA to stand on their merits and help animals in need. I’ve since started supporting them again but if they are back to their old ways I’d like to know.

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