1980: PETA is founded by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. It organizes its first protest against animal research: “World Day for Laboratory Animals."
1981: Pacheco goes undercover at a Silver Spring, Maryland, monkey laboratory, exposing injured animals being kept in filthy conditions. The lead scientist is charged with animal cruelty, the first such conviction for a U.S. researcher. (
1986: A Maryland laboratory stops putting chimpanzees in isolation chambers after PETA protests.
1989: PETA supporters don rabbit suits to persuade several major companies to stop testing on animals.
1992: PETA targets factory farms, launching an undercover investigation into foie gras production that leads to a police raid.
1994: PETA targets the fur industry, with supporters occupying the office of designer Calvin Klein in New York.
1996: PETA, by holding shares in Gillette, convinces the company to adopt a moratorium on animal testing by proposing shareholder resolutions at Gillette’s annual meetings.
2000 to 2001: PETA targets fast food companies, convincing McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s to improve the welfare of the animals used in their food.
2008: PETA announces a $1 million prize for fake meat. (PETA abandons the prize in 2014, citing lack of interest.)
2009: PETA targets the University of Wisconsin, Madison, labs for using cats in sound localization experiments. The campaign involves bus ads and protests.
2010: Justin Goodman becomes an associate director of research at PETA. He soon begins publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
2010: After a PETA undercover investigation, Utah legislators prohibit forced selling of shelter cats and dogs for biomedical research.
2010: PETA activists strip down to protest wearing fur. They took to the streets with signs reading “Love in, fur out” as they bared it all.
2011: PETA files a lawsuit in federal court claiming that SeaWorld orcas are “slaves” under the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment.
2012: PETA donates simulators to Egypt so the country will stop using animals in medical trauma training.
2013: PETA launches its International Science Consortium, which promotes and funds animal alternatives in biomedical research.
2014: After international protests by PETA, China Southern Airlines announces that it will “stop transporting live primates for laboratory experiments on all flights.”
2014: PETA protests maternal deprivation experiments at a National Institutes of Health monkey lab with hundreds of ads and disruptions at scientific conferences. Campaign spurs four federal lawmakers to call for investigation.

Slideshow: PETA’s crusade against animal research

Since its founding in 1980, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sought to end animal research. Its tactics have changed over the years, as have its targets, which have broadened to include fast food, factory farms, and the cosmetics industry. As PETA shifts gears yet again—launching a new campaign to target animal research by publishing in peer-reviewed scientific literatureScience looks back at its 4-decade crusade.