In January, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals took its campaign against Petco to the neighborhood of Petco chief executive officer, Brian Devine.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, PETA members handed out fliers to Devine’s neighbors reading, in part,
Meet your neighbor . . . Please let him know you feel about the suffering and deaths of countless animals in his Petco stores.
The protesters included PETA coordinator Christy Griffin who dressed up in a parrot suit for the occasion.
In a press release on the action, PETA’s Daphna Nachminovitch said,
Brian Devine has ignored the suffering of animals in PETCO stores for years, while conditions have deteriorated. His neighbors have a right to know about his true nature.
Petco spokesman Don Cowan told the Union-Tribune,
We strive constantly to provide a safe, healthy and humane environment for companion animals in our stores.
PETA takes protest into exec’s home turf. Frank Green, Union-Tribune, January 17, 2004.
PETA Takes Anti-Petco Campaign Straight To CEO’s Backyard. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 15, 2004.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Daphna Nachminovitch wrote a letter to The Washington Times in February defending PETA’s decision to send a letter to Yasser Arafat that asked the Palestinian leader to exert pressure to stop the use of animals such as donkeys in terrorist attacks. The letter came in the wake of a failed terrorist attack in which explosives attached to a donkey were detonated in a failed attempt to kill Israeli citizens.
PETA was accused in many corners, including by The Washington Times‘ Gene Mueller of wearing moral blinders and caring more about animals than human beings. Nachminovitch responded,
PETA opposes violence and cruelty to all beings, but while millions of people and hundreds of organizers work to help the people in the Middle East, almost no one cares about the animals, who also suffer. We at PETA have chosen to work for animal rights because the animals need help — not to the exclusion of helping people, but in addition to it. Just a few months ago, we did both when we sent a delegation to this troubled spot to distribute healthful vegetarian food to both Arab and Israeli children, bringing a simple message of nonviolence along with nutritious food.
I wish Mr. Muller [who, while writing in defense of shooting animals for sport, probably has not asked Mr. Arafat to stop killing people] had been able to meet one of my fellow PETA employees, Ravei Chand, who worked tirelessly to share a message of compassion for animals. But he is not available for an interview because he is also a U.S. Marine. He has just shipped out with his platoon for the Middle East. He has put his life on the line to defend his country, yet he, like so many in Israel, can see what Mr. Mueller missed: We don’t have to choose between people and animals. Indeed, we can care for all.
If PETA can care for both humans and animals, that simply begs the question of why Ingrid Newkirk would write a letter to Arafat whose effect was to ask Arafat to stop using donkeys in future terrorist attacks. This would be a bit like somebody in favor of freedom for Tibet writing a letter to Arafat asking the Palestinians to ensure they don’t buy any explosives for China.
Make the Middle East safe for people and other living things. Daphna Nachminovitch, The Washington Times, February 25, 2003.