Last week’s inspiring fundraising event to support the Global Compassion Fund and celebrate PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s 72nd birthday was a smashing success! If you were unable to join us—or just want to learn about PETA’s international work to help animals—please enjoy this post-event recap.
Lisa Lange, PETA’s senior vice president of communications, was the host for the evening, and she began by introducing PETA President Ingrid Newkirk as a global force for compassion. Ingrid is behind life-changing rescue and intervention programs that are spreading kindness across international borders and raising the bar for animal rights all over the globe. Nothing would mean more to Ingrid on her birthday than contributions to PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, which supports these programs.
Lisa was soon joined by colleagues from PETA’s global partners, who shared stories of far-reaching campaigns to spread compassion, respond to animal abuse, and provide lifesaving care.
Poorva Joshipura, PETA’s senior vice president of international affairs, and Dr. Manilal Villiyate, PETA India’s CEO, wished Ingrid a happy birthday. They then discussed how PETA India is realizing Ingrid’s compassionate vision by replacing working animals with electric vehicles, promoting humane animal husbandry practices, instilling kindness in children, working persistently to get cruel elephant rides and bull races stopped, sterilizing dogs and cats in communities around Mumbai, and so much more. PETA India’s Emergency Response Team also addresses urgent cases of abuse and neglect at all hours of the day and night, often when no other groups are available or willing to take action. PETA India’s trained staff respond to almost 1,000 calls every single week.
PETA Asia’s manager of operations, Ashley Fruno, joined the event from her home in the Philippines. Thanks to Global Compassion Fund supporters, PETA Asia held veterinary clinics on Taal Volcano four times a year—before the eruption. After the eruption, the fund allowed the group to be the first one to reach Taal and rescue over 200 surviving animals who were trapped on the ash-covered island. PETA Asia is also changing lives in the Philippines, with desperately needed sterilization programs to help the countless dogs and cats who are born into impoverished areas—including a cemetery where over 200 animal families live among the gravestones. Today, because of Ingrid’s inspiration and the Global Compassion Fund, the cemetery has gone from being a place of death and mourning to a place where the living receive help and hope.
Sylvie Boonz, senior special project manager for PETA Germany, and Harald Ullman, senior vice president of PETA Germany, informed attendees about the way the Global Compassion Fund is benefitting animals in Romania, where the homeless-animal crisis is one of the most severe in all of Europe. More than half a million animals in Romania don’t have homes. They live on the streets or in the woods, struggling to find scraps to eat and water to drink, and very few have anyone to look out for them. Two and a half years ago, PETA Germany and its Romanian partner organization, Eduxanima, launched a massive mobile sterilization campaign—and in that time, they have spayed or neutered and treated more than 21,000 animals!
The birthday woman herself, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, then joined the event to discuss our work in Mexico—such as spay-a-thons, celebrity campaigns, and animal rescues that Ingrid has personally conducted, including the rescue of a starving, terrified white dog she found one December who was adopted into a loving home and named Little Christmas.
Ingrid also discussed the PETA-supported veterinary clinic in Petra, Jordan—the only clinic in the area that treats abused donkeys, horses, and camels who are forced to work; PETA India’s mechanization programs that are replacing exhausted horses and bullocks used to haul lumber and other goods with e-rickshaws; and Animal Rahat—the group Ingrid founded in 2003 that provides working bullocks and horses in Maharashtra with relief, operates four emergency response teams, and runs two sanctuaries where retired working animals spend the rest of their days in peace and comfort.
Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, closed the night with a heartfelt message to Ingrid and all of our affiliates and supporters:
Just popping in to wish a happy birthday to Ingrid. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting India with her. It was the first time I’d ever been to India, and I went to bed every night feeling such pride after seeing firsthand how Animal Rahat and PETA India are changing communities to make them a kinder, safer place for animals. I watched and helped as Ingrid and the teams jumped out of the jeeps and raced into the road to stop carts. Together, we even helped push one cart free from a rut while the poor bullocks were straining every muscle. To think that this work is going on all hours of the day in so many countries—more all the time—is so inspiring. Sterilization, vaccination, emergency care, and humane education—we’re able to help animals on all fronts, and it’s thanks to Ingrid’s leadership, the directors who are here with us today, and, of course, to our generous, much-appreciated Global Compassion Fund donors. We are so grateful to you all.
A few PETA members also sent in some very special birthday wishes for Ingrid. Take a look!
The support of compassionate people like you powers the vital programs that are changing and saving lives all around the globe. Thank you from Ingrid—and all of us at PETA!