Protecting Bambi With Drones: PETA's Ingrid Newkirk On Hunters, Horsemeat and More

Published: 30.04.2013
Updated: 31.05.2013

Forbes Magazine

Ms. Ingrid Newkirk © PETA

PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk has led the world’s largest animal rights organization for more than 25 years. Her passion and dedication to making this world a better place for all living beings has inspired countless others to do what they can to help animals.

MT: The horsemeat scandal has been in the news in Britain and Ireland, with horsemeat found in everything from school lunches to supermarket lasagna. Some companies have demanded DNA testing. What’s going on there, and with the fiery debate in the U.S. over horse slaughter?

Little Winner Coming Home With Friend © PETA

IN: The horsemeat scandal dominated the news in Britain for weeks recently, with consumers outraged over a series of discoveries that it was horse, not pig or cow, in meat pies and more. It was nicely summed up with a cartoon in which a boy comes home from school and asks, “Mum, what’s for dinner?” and is told, “Sorry, I’ve no idea what it is really.” Consumer outrage caused meat sales to plummet, just as they did years ago with the mad cow revelations, when McDonald’s in the U.K. banned beef and served only veggie burgers. It is estimated that 2,000 people were already going vegetarian every week in England, so that number has probably risen considerably.

MT: So is that the end of it, or do you see additional ramifications?

IN: Although people were upset over hidden horsemeat, there was scant connection made between where it ended up and where it came from. The Grand National England’s most prestigious horse race, took place right after this major food scare and was almost as hyped in the media as the Olympic Games. But although two horses were killed in the first two days, few people seemed to realize that the bodies of racehorses - not necessarily those two famous ones in the spotlight but hundreds of thousands of others - have to end up somewhere. The fact that Butazolidin, a painkiller commonly used to mask injuries and keep racehorses running even to the point of catastrophic breakdown, was found in European horsemeat should have helped connect the dots.

MT: What about here, in the U.S.?

IN: Here in the U.S., at least three horses die on the track every single day. Appallingly, they can be considered the lucky ones, given the fate of many of those who survive but don’t win races. A move to re-open U.S. horse slaughterhouses was recently thwarted when President Obama released his proposed budget in which funding was removed for horse slaughter inspectors - without them, there can be no horse slaughterhouses. This, however, is scant comfort to anyone who cares about stopping cruelty to horses because U.S. horses will still be slaughtered at almost the same rate.

© M. C. Tobias

MT: How so?

IN: Racehorses who end up lame, which is very common, or with other physical problems, are simply shipped to Canada and Mexico - on hideous, grueling, terribly cruel journeys that PETA has followed from inside the truck - and are slaughtered there. There is a bill in Congress, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, that would stop that deadly trade in its tracks.

MT: On a very different topic, is it true that PETA is investigating the use of drones to overfly hunters this Fall and, if so, won’t the drones themselves be easy targets for trigger-happy hunters?

IN: Indeed, it is true. We’re quite excited to find a life-saving use for aircraft thought of as lethal bomb-delivery systems.

MT: What do drone-manufacturers say about PETA’s proposal?

© J. G. Morrison

IN: We have lots of support from drone manufacturers, garage hobbyists, military personnel, etc., and we’re excited to see if we can make this work - finally go after hunters who have felt shielded from scrutiny out there in the woods.

MT: What other problems does PETA have with hunters? I know there are one or two issues….

IN: Every hunting season, we get complaints from people who find animals dying slowly of blood loss and gangrene because hunters didn’t even have the decency to follow them and finish them off. PETA investigators have seen Canadian hunters wound bears who then ran off, grievously injured. We’ve also seen hunters shoot mother bears dead, leaving behind orphaned cubs, who are unlikely to survive alone. We’d rather the hunters shoot down our drones than a deer or a dove or a bear, and we’ll catch them on real-time video feed if they do

MT: I know that one of PETA’s primary emphases is on diet. Your organization has laid it out in a wealth of information on your various websites, collaborations, and events.

Share this page on:
Other publication locations
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. DNA
  2. Forbes Magazine
  3. PETA
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 2052 times.
© 1997-2020 HereNow4U, Version 4
Contact us
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: