The following letters were sent to PETA and me shortly after Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's president, decided to stop funding the vegan lecture tour in November 2005. PETA began sponsoring my tour in 2002. Besides turning its back on serious and educational forms of activism, PETA's unforgivable betrayal of animals was exposed in this April 2013 article. Be prepared to be startled when you discover that Newkirk is a relentless serial killer of homeless cats and dogs.
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 7:21 PM
This is awful news. My students loved your talk this year. Unless you say otherwise, I will write a letter to PETA. You are doing terrific work. You're an inspiration. I very much hope it somehow can continue.
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 7:47 PM
Sorry to hear the sad news. You've done much more than most to change people's outlook. But I know that whatever happens, you will continue to be a positive influence for animal rights.
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 8:08 PM
NOTE FROM ME: I have not spoken in this prof's classes since 2002!
I am deeply saddened by this news and by the obvious hurt and angry tone in your note. I can't imagine how betrayed you must feel, and the irony of this happening as a result of PETA. I was just talking about you yesterday to some friends in Maine. You are such an amazing guy and have truly changed bits and pieces of the planet, lecture by passionate lecture. There has to be another way to keep you talking. I don't know what it is but I'm NOT taking your advice and assuming you've thought of everything. I think you should get all of your collected friends out here thinking for you. It's a program that is far too valuable to be "discontinued". Please don't lose touch, OK? I still want to do the biography.
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 9:12 PM
I am sure that this is just one of about half a gazillion emails you are sure to get, but I am truly sorry about funding. Your lectures were a really crucial part of making my classes that much better and I truly believe that they had an immense impact. You have affected so many lives already; it is too bad that in the immediate future you will be set back. Nothing else has ever been as effective in encouraging my students to rethink their attitudes on any moral issue. If you are ever able to re-garner funds again in the future, let me know. If not, I know that you will always be fighting for justice in some capacity. I know it will just sound like empty words, but I really do want to thank you in a deep deep way for your work. It matters. Even if you do nothing else, the work you have already done is more than most people do in a lifetime.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 2:45 AM
I am truly sad that you can't continue your tour. You are a great speaker and a man with values, two very rare things. You spoke to my class at Hunter College, Greg Morris's reporting course. My name is Leonardo, I don't know if you remember, if you don't it doesn't matter anyways, because I remember you and probably will for a long time. I decided to become vegan after your presentation and many pieces of the puzzle fell into place ever since your lecture. I admire you for what you have done and I'm sure you'll be able to find some other way to focus your energy and passion for your most noble causes, because noble they are, truly. I am outraged that PETA would do something like what they did to you. Then again, unfortunately I'm not surprised. It is a fairly large organization and probably run like a company. Money is everywhere, it is the cancer of our society and it has been running the show since the beginning. I'm sorry that it had to affect you so deeply. If it helps, I have followed a vegan diet ever since, and though it hasn't been long, I am confident that I will continue because I share the same frustrations that you do about the current state of affairs, and veganism is a wonderful way to do your part. So I thank you for what you have done, and it would be a real shame if you couldn't continue.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:50 AM
Gary -- That's a shame. You can't even count on the 'radical' groups anymore. Sometimes it seems like everyone is a sell-out. (I'm seeing this on many fronts, incidentally). I'll have to cancel my PETA membership now, but not before they hear from me personally.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:54 AM
I'm terribly sorry to hear this, Gary -- may you find your benefactor soon, so we can all have you back asap!
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:12 AM
I am a professor at the University of Central Florida and teach crime and deviance courses. I have written seven books and included a section on Gary and animal rights in a few of them. I am writing you to implore you to reconsider the elimination of his tour/presentation funding. He has visited my classes for a number of years now (over 6 I think) and has changed many students (and faculty) views, eating habits and lives. The meager salary he draws and the travel expenses bring much more positive attention to PETA than so some of your other venues. I have grown to respect him and consider him a friend. More importantly, he is a HUGE advocate and friend to the animals. You could not have a more effective (or cheaper) spokesperson. While he may not bring in large donations immediately, he brings a huge number of new PETA devotees who later contribute in many different ways. I am unaware of the reason(s) for your decision, and they are, perhaps, largely irrelevant. I would, however, like for you to reconsider. Despite his forceful personality (or maybe because of his strength), he is a huge asset to PETA and animals everywhere. His lectures in central Florida have grown from just my classes to over 15 different classes at several different universities. Attendance is always packed and often I have people standing in the aisles. Students bring parents, friends and even other professors to hear him speak. Strangers approach me and ask "when is the PETA guy coming? Can I come to your class that day?" In short, he is in high demand. I personally consider it a huge loss not having him lecture any longer. I can put you in contact with literally hundreds of my students who he has influenced to become vegan or vegetarian. Isn't that the purpose? Please feel free to call me or contact me if I can help change your decision in any way. His departure will be a huge loss for PETA and, more importantly, for animal rights.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:43 AM
oh gary, that is just awful! i am shocked and very upset. it seems like such a minimal cost for the amount of change that you encourage; not to mention that your lectures surely make students check out peta's website and perhaps even donate money or become members. this is obviously a great mistake. I have always thought that we need a big organization that can afford to fund others, but perhaps they have gotten too big that they no longer see their original vision. I plan to write them about this decision and i hope others will as well. surely they must realize what they are losing!
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:18 PM
You cut off Gary Yourofsky. Great. Wonderful. PETA did nothing to stop my students from blithely continuing a lifelong slaughter campaign against animals except provide funding for Gary to come to my classes and lecture. And I can tell you this for a fact: I talk to and overhear numerous young people who say that, until they heard Gary's lecture and saw his video, they never thought twice about their diet and its impact on animals. I also know for a fact that the very people saying this turned vegan, vegetarian or significantly cut down on their intake of meat. Gary's lectures save animals; there is no question. By comparison, the cost of your poorly placed Pamela Anderson billboards in Fresno probably equaled the cost of Gary's lecture tour. And what impact did the billboards have for animals? None that I can tell. All I heard from both animal sympathizers and animal abusers was ridicule of the billboards. I fear PETA is joining the ranks of other mainstream groups for whom the organization is more important than the mission. Let's be serious. This isn't about whether you can afford to keep Gary on staff. This is about your fear of the fallout from recent Senate hearings. They called you out and now you're hiding when you should fight! Well I tell you this; I have absolutely zero use for so-called environmental or animal rights groups who run in fear when the very forces they are supposed to be resisting successfully intimidate them. If you had the guts PETA used to have when it fought for animals you would put Rod Coronado on the staff too and let them both tour the country telling people the unvarnished truth about animal torturing industries. But the Senate says "eco-terrorism" and you fold. Re-hire Gary immediately or I will use all the influence I have to get every person I know off of PETA's membership list. My friends were arrested at a recent highly successful 5 day long Ringling protest where we convinced hundreds of people never to attend an animal circus again. We even had a group of youths tear up their tickets. Your literature was an instrumental part of our protest. But you can keep your filthy literature. It is not worth the paper it is printed on if you cut loose your best voice for animals just because of some political heat. You are becoming part of the problem not the solution. Re-hire Gary or you can forget about Fresno California as PETA territory.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:53 PM
I just heard that PETA decided to discontinue its sponsorship for Gary Yourofsky's lecture tours of colleges on veganism. Frankly, I think this is a big mistake. Gary's role in creating awareness about the practices of animal husbandry in this country, his questioning of the ethical justification of killing and/or using animals in general, and his moral challenge to countless students to discontinue their implicit support for these practices is essential. His impact is without comparison. I became a member of PETA after Gary started lecturing in the philosophy classes I teach at New Jersey City University four years ago. After hearing about Gary's dismissal I have decided to cancel my membership. I must confess I never liked your use of "celebrities." But I find it outright incredible that in a crisis situation like this PETA should be unable to approach one of them for the money it would take to sponsor Gary for at least one more year. I wished you would reconsider your decision.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 6:55 PM
I am not aware of Mr. Yourofsky's "anger" problem. If by anger you mean frustration towards a compromised system such as the one your organization is a part of, well, then I can assure you I need the same treatment. In any case, the point is that Mr. Yourofsky's hard work turned me into a vegan, not PETA's. Mr. Yourofksy's contributions towards achieving the goals that PETA claims it fights for, have been truly magnanimous. PETA's actions simply don't make sense. Perhaps there's something I'm missing, and if so please enlighten me. I have to say though, that to me, it is just another case of capitalistic fever once again keeping down the people who really matter. And in that sense, you're no better than the disgusting meat industries you say you battle. In closing, I would just like to say that I am truly saddened that PETA has decided to treat Mr. Yourofsky this way, and I am even more saddened to see an organization I once held in high esteem, so immediately be turned into some faceless corporation. It just goes to show that no one can escape it, and the people who can, aren't the ones in high places.
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:34 AM
To: IngridN@peta.org; JayK@peta.org
Whatever your reasons for doing so, I fear that in cutting Gary Yourofsky loose from your funding program overall, you may have silenced the greatest voice for animals since Tom Regan and Peter Singer, and maybe even Henry S. Salt. When I co-sponsored Gary's five presentations at Grossmont College near San Diego, Calif., we drew a lot of heat from several professors—not necessarily because I freely and proudly announced that Gary had been incarcerated for breaking into a mink farm and releasing over 1,500 mink—but rather because the posters that we mounted on campus billboards had the PETA logo on them, which to these professors represented sponsorship by a “radical,” “eco-terrorist” organization. While I no longer work at this college for personal reasons, I remain eternally grateful that our college administrators did not flinch from their commitment to bring quality speakers like Gary onto our campus to present ideas that the mainstream will no doubt consider unpopular.
In the meantime, I watched in awe as Gary spent more than an hour fairly dressing down the eating habits of students in the classroom without attacking them personally, only to have these same students clamor to the front of the room afterward to shake Gary's hand, embrace him, and purchase his videos. One student in San Diego even approached Gary tearfully, tore up his hunting license, and placed the pieces directly in Gary's hand. Got anyone else on the staff of PETA who can do that? I doubt it.
Perhaps you don't agree with every last one of Gary's points-of-view. Hell, even I don't agree with all of Gary's beliefs—we've had our share of friendly tousles about them over the years. But that doesn't diminish in the least my continuing admiration and respect for him, and it does nothing to change the hard fact that he has single-handedly convinced many of my students to either go vegan, or vegetarian, or stop attending circuses and marine parks, or reduce their consumption of meat. The irony is that Gary is probably the hardest-working person on your staff, and even if he were not, he would undoubtedly be the most efficient in terms of results gained per outlay of money.
I would like to see PETA dispense with just one ineffectual billboard campaign, dispense with just one silly, half-dressed woman in an animal costume and a cage, and find ways to redirect their funding toward efforts like Gary's. That's because only serious public education and outreach programs encouraging people to boycott the industries that slaughter and persecute animals will be the agents that cause these industries to wither away, and eventually die. For you know as well as I that no law will ever be passed, let alone enforced, as long as there is money to be made from abusing animals, and the current corporate domination of government is in place. We must take our fight directly to the people who unwittingly support this corporatocracy. Right now you have no more effective agent for doing so than Gary Yourofsky, whom you've just cut loose. In view of all of the above, I hope that you will seriously reconsider your decision, have Gary join you at the table, sort out your various differences and disagreements calmly, and get Gary back on the road in time for commencement of the spring semester in January.
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:17 AM
My husband and I have been supporters of PETA for many years. I recently attended the PETA gala in Los Angeles and brought a number of friends with me. I can no longer support PETA if PETA chooses not to support Gary Yourofsky and his lecture series. Just yesterday I met this man for the first time when he spoke to 172 students at the Ohio State University. You could have heard a pin drop in his lecture. There were many people gathered around him after his talk for at least 45 minutes, wanting to talk to him personally. He was animal activism ... in your face ... up close and personal ... not just a video ... not just a book for a pamphlet ... but someone that these kids could actually touch and interact with. I understand that these are very difficult times for PETA financially but this is one area where I don't think there should be a cut. Having been in the movement since 1972 when I first became a vegetarian and subsequently a vegan in the last few years and always fighting for A.R. I don't think I have ever heard a speaker as moving as this man, Gary Yourofsky.
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:37 AM
I am sorry to hear of this and can certainly sense your justified anger. You are without a doubt the best animal rights speaker I have ever seen and I hope that one day, somehow you will find a way to do this again. If you decide you want to talk to the media (me) about your experiences with the animal rights establishment send me an e-mail. I'd be happy to do a story. In the meantime, stay tough and know your supporters think of you.
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:49 PM
I teach ethics and philosophy at the University of Akron, and I am writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to fire Gary Yourofsky, who has spoken in my classes for the past 3 semesters. I am a former supporter of your organization and I have recently reconsidered renewing my annual membership. However, I will not do so if your decision to fire Gary is final. I am shocked at the realization I have come to of late, which is that PETA has become another corporate giant, whose primary concern is not doing good, but looking good. However, no matter how many billboards with scantily-clad women you erect in large metropolitan areas, it is doubtful that the blinded (as Gary calls them) meat-eaters will reconsider their support of one of the largest and cruelest industries in the history of the world. Yes, I'll admit that young, impressionable women might admire stars like Pamela Anderson, but will that be enough to persuade them to begin to care about the rampant cruelty that haunts the world as we know it? It is doubtful, at best. As far as I can tell, there is but one hope for the future of our planet and our souls, and that is communication. Real live, honest and informative discussions are, as far as I can determine, the only effective way to change the minds of those, whose habits of consumption are the fuel for the factories of slaughter that operate as a means to one end, which is the satisfaction of the hungry carnivore with money in hand. So, dropping Gary from the PETA crusade will be, as far as most of us animal rights supporters are concerned, an extraordinary act of injustice. After all, when all is said and done, rescuing a few stray chickens from a large slaughterhouse might be good for a few lucky birds, but convincing the carnivores to stop their cruel consumption is what is best for ALL the birds, fish, and animals. I implore you to reconsider your decision and to try to work with Gary to find a way to keep him out there campaigning for the end of animal cruelty.
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 9:52 AM
Hey Gary, I am totally outraged at what happened. PETA has lost all of my support over this. I cannot believe what is happening. I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that if you ever need a place to crash, or anything at all, my door is always open. Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything at all that I can do for you. :) Thanks for everything you have done. You have changed so many lives. It really is something to be proud of.
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:49 PM
I'm sorry to hear the news and I hope that your fortune takes a turn for the better. You've done a great job with your lectures and it is a shame that the multi-million dollar animal welfare groups cannot put their wallets together and fund the tour. Keep your head up, bro - you're one in a million.
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 11:34 AM
NOTE FROM ME: This is from an OSU Animal Ag Prof. who is retiring after this semester after 25 some-odd years on the job. Do you see the irony here?
I am delighted to hear one of the patrons present last Tuesday saw value in keeping you on the road. Good luck in your future endeavors. I will miss hosting you at OSU.
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 1:23 PM
We'll miss you, and continue to hope for your return. You've accomplished much and you are respected and loved by those you've taught.
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 2:47 PM
Gary Yourofsky has provided a valuable teaching experience to hundreds of Fresno State students over the past 4 years. We were a regular stop on his college lecture tour. Please reconsider your decision to stop funding his work. His tireless efforts to promote veganism are real contribution to PETA's mission.
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 2:50 PM
This truly sucks. I just want to thank you for your lectures over these few semesters. You've had an impact on me personally, and I'm sure you've reached many of my students and former students. I've no doubt that you've probably made the kind of difference that PETA had originally intended before their slide into the corporate abyss, and they've clearly shown a lack of credibility in not recognizing where the bulk of their successful campaigns are located. You'll be missed in my classroom, but keep me posted if anything positive develops. Good luck in all endeavors.
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2005 12:07 AM
Sending my best wishes your way. You have been and always will be amazing!!! You are the definition of integrity. I sincerely and strongly believe the future holds great things for both you and the animals. With much love and admiration!
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2005 10:44 PM
I wanted to sent a quick note...about the disastrous and deadly decision to pull the funding for Gary Yourofsky's animal compassion lecture tour. Gary saved lives, literally thousands of lives, and reduced the suffering in this world, all on his own, and all with PETA's support. As part time faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a full time social worker, I can relate to what it takes to get through to people and to have them see the truth and the facts. I found Gary's lectures to be informative, factual, and most of all, effective. Before hearing Gary's talk I was vegetarian, but quickly became vegan after the very first time he spoke in my courses. He has not only opened my eyes, but also opened the eyes of many of my students, and educated them in the most effective way I have ever seen in my 10 years of teaching. He is inspiring, exciting, and so very right. It is always amazing to me to see how hard it is for Gary and me to connect and get him in my classes, because he and Kate were so very busy lecturing around the country...then again, that actually made me happy, since I knew he was making such a huge difference in so many lives in so many parts of the country, I couldn't be selfish. Animals the world over need Gary, and for those of us who have heard him speak know this is true. I was excited to join PETA after I first heard Gary speak, as I didn't realize how much PETA made a difference. Finally, money actually going directly to the cause! He is a great fundraiser, though he would never say that about himself, b/c I know many folks who have joined PETA just BECAUSE PETA supported Gary. Supporting Gary is brilliant, as he is hands down, the best way to end animal abuse, for all the reasons Hanna expresses in her e-mail, which is below, incidentally, in case you needed to read it again. I do not need to re-say what she has so beautifully put into words. I know Gary isn't going to stop his compassion and his love for what he believes is right, but in spite of appropriate funding, h is message will not be as effective. As such, if PETA isn't supporting the most effective means they have to end the atrocities that happen to animals there is no reason to support PETA. It matters to me where my financial support doesn't go, and if it isn't going to Gary, it isn't coming to you. Yet again, Gary has managed to take the blinders off! I do hope you consider some budget cuts other than Gary's, and give him a decent living CONSIDERING all the good he is doing for the animals. We need to do something for him, we really do. I know he will always say it isn't about him, but really, it is ALL about him and his life's work. All we are asking for is a little compassion for the animals, for ONE person at the least, to speak out for the masses.
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2005 3:52 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to express my dismay at PETA's discontinuation of its support for Gary Yourofsky's animal rights lecture tours. Gary performs a vital function for those seeking to raise awareness about environmental injustice. In my Environmental Politics class on September 22, 2005, Gary gave one of the best presentations I've ever seen on any contemporary issue since I started teaching at the college level. He speaks well about issues that I am not well-informed enough to discuss with any credibility. Until that lecture, I as well as many of my students, had no idea where our food actually comes from. If people knew anything about factory farms, there would be a mass movement to shut them all down. By silencing Gary Yourofsky, you are helping big agribusiness put family farmers out of business, to say nothing about justifying the horrid, inhumane conditions that characterize farm animal existence. Does PETA stand for animal rights? Or do you stand with Cargill and Tyson? I realize that a good bit of this dispute is probably the result of strong personalities. But surely there is common ground, and a compromise solution could be negotiated if egos were put aside. Such arguments are often the case among radicals with strongly held opinions. Please put these personal differences aside and come to an agreement. No one can do what Gary does with as much effect. Your support of that effort is essential, since we at the universities cannot afford (concerning both the cost and the political price) to bankroll the tours, as much as we might want to.
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2005 4:47 PM
To: Ingrid Newkirk; Jay Kelly
I am so sorry to hear about the cancellation of Gary's tour. I really do feel that this campaign is highly effective in spreading the animal rights message. I have seen Gary's lecture many times and the response that he gets is amazing. It is so much more effective than billboards, etc. I really wish you would reconsider canceling.
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:35 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about this. I will send them a message. Many, many students have told me how much your talk has changed their lives. Whatever happens, I want to thank you for all the effort you have put in to coming to my classes and opening people's eyes. Very best of luck with whatever comes next!
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 9:58 AM
I was very surprised and greatly disappointed to learn that PETA has decided to stop funding Gary Yourofsky's educational lecture tours. Gary has spoken to students in my Environmental Science course at Oakland Community College twice now, and on both occasions his presentations were excellent. As I looked out over the class while he spoke, I could see how interested and attentive the students were, even after an hour or so. Gary was delivering a message directly to their hearts and minds in a way that no poster or pamphlet could. He delivered a message to me as well and started me thinking more seriously about the effects of my own choices on the welfare of animals and the larger ecosystem. I had planned to have him return again in the future. Unfortunately, your decision will likely make this impossible. If you were to survey the thousands of students and their teachers to whom Gary has spoken, I know that they would make the same request of you that I am making now: Please reconsider your decision to cut off funding for Gary Yourofsky's lectures.
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 4:05 PM
I am writing to your organization in hoping to persuade you to fund Gary's national lecture tour. Stopping Gary's lecture would be very detrimental to your organization, for Gary delivers a very informational and emotional lecture. His enthusiasm has every individual in the class paying attention to every word he says. He has helped others as well as myself "Take off the blinders" (as Gary puts it) about animal suffering. I had no idea about the torture and the living conditions of live stock animals till Gary spoke to my class. Gary has helped me realize what we as humans are doing to animals is wrong. Having him explain this in person helps one understand better than any web site or any flyer. I believe if you choose to stop funding Gary Yourofsky you would not only lose a great teacher, but a man dedicated to the cause of animal rights whose words greatly inspire others.
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 9:35 PM
My name is Brandon DeBerry, I am a student at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. I am writing in regards to a lecture I attended in which Gary Yourofsky spoke about animal rights, animal cruelty, and veganism. I found this lecture to be one of the most informative, motivational, and inspirational lectures I have ever heard. Prior to this speech I felt that I was very informed about the cruelties that take place in the food industry, however, Gary opened my eyes to the true reality that is the food industry in America. Through Gary's speech I have gained a enormous amount of respect for animal activist and the rights of animals. You should seriously re-consider financing Gary's lectures, he has opened many eyes to the cruelties that take place every second in America. Thank you so much for your time and efforts in animal rights.
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 10:24 PM
Gary Yourofsky has recently made a presentation at the University of Akron regarding animal rights that I have attended. His lecture was both moving and enlightening and I was disturbed to hear that PETA is going to stop funding for his national tour. I have eaten meat all of my life and after hearing Gary speak, it made me reconsider what I have been doing all of my life. He also made a significant impact on many members of the audience, some of which who have stopped eating meat and dairy products ever since his lecture. Nevertheless, even if he did not get a single person in that room to change their lifestyle, he still made us think about the rights of animals in a new perspective. Everyone deserves to know the facts before they can make a decision for themselves and that is exactly what Gary allows for. He is a very influential speaker and did not lose my attention for one moment. The visual aid he used (the dvd) was evidence of how terrible slaughterhouses are and it really made me think if my chicken sandwich or glass of milk was worth the torture that the animals had to go through. Also, he approached the idea of veganism with the conviction that it was a more healthy lifestyle and that made his lecture all the more persuasive. If you keep funding him, I am sure he will reach many more people and open their eyes to the cruelty around the world.
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 11:49 AM
I am writing this letter to you to ask for one favor. I am not asking for my sake, nor for the sake of any other person, but for the sake of animals everywhere. I am asking you to please reconsider your decision to cease funding of Gary Yourofsky's lecture tour. Recently, Mr. Yourofsky visited my ethics class at the University of Akron to lecture and answer questions during two lecture periods. Gary's lecture was very informative, enthusiastic and to the point. He was a fantastic speaker that held everyone's attention, a very difficult task for the class in which I am in. Most importantly, Gary made the majority of the class think. That is the most important aspect, is it not? To share PETA's fight with the world, especially those young enough to change early and make a difference for a long part of their lives. Gary's speech did carry with it a great deal of shock value for those who have not previously heard talks on the topic of animal rights and animal cruelty. However, his words brought not only shock but logical thought and a considerable amount of consideration to the class. This consideration of stopping to eat meat and stopping to buy animal products did not just stop at consideration. Because of Gary's speech, some class members have started with self-prescribing Vegan days. We may not have immediately become Vegans, but every process must have its start. I for one, am not a Vegan, and am a meat-eater. I have heard numerous speeches from representatives of PETA or from other Vegans. I have done nothing with the knowledge I have gained besides lock it away in my brain. However, Gary's speech was different. You have with your organization one of the best motivational speakers to which I have ever listened. I myself have made one day a week a Vegan day. I did not do so simply because Gary told me, nor did I do so because I felt pressured. I have done so because of the logical arguments and critical points Mr. Yourofsky presented. I had no idea of the extent of how becoming a Vegan planet could change lives , affect economies, and bring food to those less fortunate, while at the same time save animals from the cruel lives and deaths they have been unwillingly born into. Gary is making a difference by nationally touring middle schools, high schools, and colleges. He is bringing a different view to thousands of young people, a view many have never considered. Gary forces young people to think and not act out of pressure, but out of duty to what is right. True, Gary is quite radical. He has an ALF tattoo on his arm. He has been arrested on multiple occasions. He as even served jail time. He has been quoted on occasions to stand behind arson of animal centers. His methods and speeches may even be considered extreme by some. Yet, this is not the "evil" Gary that spoke to us. His negatives present him with the background to speak on the topic. His extreme feelings provide the energy needed to get the idea across to the audience. I am writing this letter to ask you to continue Mr. Yourofsky's funding for all of these reasons. Simply put, his speeches make a difference. Please allow Gary to continue his national lecture tour. Allow him to teach millions about Veganism and about animal rights.
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:25 PM
This email concerns Gary Yourofsky and the funding that will cease to exist for his tour of speeches he makes. Gary came and spoke to my ethics class a few weeks ago. Gary not only helped me completely understand the cruelty that animals go through in slaughterhouses, why a vegan diet is a healthy diet and a humane way to treat animals, but he helped me come to the conclusion that I will try my hardest, in time, to try to follow a vegan diet. I also had a video that Gary gave out after he told the class that he would no longer be funded. I took the video home to my family, showed them, and now my family will no longer eat meat as much as they used to. It's hard to say if they will become vegan, but they will cut their meat intake increasingly. Speeches like Gary's are crucial to getting the message out to people. Please try to reconsider your decision to stop funding Gary's lectures.
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:21 PM
I recently sat in a lecture of Gary Yourofsky's and was intrigued by the amount of information he was able to offer us students in a fifty minute lecture period. He spoke at the University of Akron in Professor Maria Hollendonner's class a few Mondays ago. Although he had radical opinions on the subject of veganism, and touched briefly upon the actions he had taken for the animal rights movement, he supported all of his "radical claims" and "obscene actions" with very concrete statistics and data. He was able to convey his ideas to the class of about 40 in simple, understandable language. In fact, due to his caring efforts and great research and presentation, I made the choice to become a vegetarian. Coming from a family of hunters and farmers, this was a huge step, and I hope to slowly step into veganism as well down the road. I had Thanksgiving dinner this year without consuming turkey, gravy, stuffing, etc. because they all contained meat products. I am very serious and have adopted this as my new, improved lifestyle. If Gary had half of the impact on others as he had on me, he is doing a great service to protect animal rights. In conclusion, I hope that you will reconsider your annual financial assistance for funding Gary Yourofsky's national lecture tour. Thank you for your time and consideration in this serious matter.
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:24 PM
My name is Amy Kousagan and I am currently a full-time college student at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. I am writing to ask your organization to please reconsider your decision to stop funding Gary Yourofsky's national lecture tour. I truly think you are making a huge mistake by stopping his funding. Gary recently visited our university and spoke to my ethics class. I believe many American's are completely clueless and unaware of the way animals are treated. Spending money for billboards and commercials, where people can simply turn away, isn't enough to persuade Americans. Gary's lectures will. I had no idea that animals were treated the way they were until I saw Gary's video and heard his speech. He completely opened me up to a new way of living life. By going out and explaining to people all over the country, more and more people will become supportive of PETA and turn away from harming animals. I also believe that college campuses are the most important place to hold these lectures because the younger generation will be more open to these ideas and ways of living. I really hope that you would please consider funding Gary. Gary stands for everything PETA is about and you would be losing a great aspect to your organization. Thank you for your time.
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:36 PM
I am writing to you in hopes that you will reconsider your decision to stop funding Gary Yourofsky's lectures. Gary spoke in my ethics class at the University of Akron. I never knew how animals were really tortured in the slaughterhouses. I was under the naive impression that we used more humane tactics. I thought that there were laws in place to protect animals. I also never knew that being a vegan can be a healthy lifestyle. I was always taught that meat was an important food group and a necessity to be healthy. In conclusion, Gary's lecture was a real eye opener for me. It was very informative. Without these lectures the misconceptions will continue to be taught and people will never learn the truth.
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 1:14 PM
I am writing to ask you to reinstate the funding of Gary Yourofsky. Recently Gary visited our University and gave a speech on ethical veganism, because of his presentation I have reconsidered the amount of meat that I consume and began to take steps to eliminate more animal products form my diet. I have also begun to research ways that I could become involved in changing industry standards regarding the treatment of animals. I believe that the information the Gary provides to students is valuable in that it exposes them to facts they may have not been aware of. If one out of every one-hundred that hears his speech converts to veganism and 20 more change their dietary habits then I would say that his work is effective. Education of the populace is the key to change and Gary's work educating college students (the future leaders of our society) brings us one step closer to truly transforming the way people view and value animal life. I support his work and hope that you will consider doing so as well.
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 5:11 PM
Dear PETA, I was just writing to you because Gary Yourofsky recently came to my school (University of Akron). And provided an extremely convincing argument supporting ethical veganism. I was disappointed, to say the least, to hear that PETA would no longer help fund Gary's lecture tour. He was very effective in getting his point across by explaining why it is healthier to not consume animal products, and showed horrific footage of what really goes on in slaughterhouses that left everyone in disgust. After hearing the points he made, I decided that I would no longer eat meat, which is a decision I plan to carry out for the rest of my life. After class, I grabbed a DVD version of his lecture and showed it to my mother, who decided to become a vegetarian as well after hearing what Gary had to say. I understand the main concern of your organization is to reduce animal suffering, and I think it would be a tremendous mistake to stop funding Gary's tour, because he opened my eyes to really goes on in the world and changed my life, and I am sure I am not the only one. I sincerely hope that you rethink your decision to stop funding Gary's tour.
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 12:13 AM
I am a student at the University of Akron, and just had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Gary Yourofsky's speech on ethical veganism. I was also made aware that PETA has decided to stop funding Gary's lecture tour. I am writing to you in hopes that you will please reconsider this decision. I have been fairly neutral on the issue of animal rights, but after hearing Gary's compelling scientific proof that humans were not meant to consume animals, I cannot possibly justify eating or supporting the killing of animals for food. I have never been touched by a speaker like I was by Gary. I know now that all it takes to change people's minds is to educate them. One person (Gary) was able to touch the 25-30 people in that room. Of those people, the ones who truly took to heart Gary's speech will no doubt, like me, continue the education and share with their friends and family what they have learned. I feel that as powerful a speaker as Gary is, it would be a shame to end his possibility to speak to young, open-minded people about the options they have in living the rest of their lives as ethical, and peaceful people.
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 1:43 PM
Gary's lecture tour really caught me off guard and made a huge difference in my life. My eyes were finally opened to the animal suffering that goes on. He helped me to figure out what was important in my life, such as compassion for animals and saving other humans from world hunger. His lecture showed how being a vegan stops animal suffering, reduces diseases related to obesity in America, and how it helps to stop world hunger. I recently became a vegetarian, and hopefully someday will progress on to be a vegan. I really feel like a better person with my new found sense of passion towards animals and the American society. Gary's lecture is an excellent way to educate the American society. I really hope you reconsider your decision and help fund his tour.
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 3:16 PM
I feel you should reconsider your decision to stop funding Gary Yourofsky's national lecture tour. When Gary came to my class and lectured on Veganism and Animal rights it opened my eyes to reality. I found his lecture very informative and interesting. After hearing the information Gary shared, I began examining how I lived my life. I think everyone should have the opportunity to hear Gary speak. I feel that his lecture was a life changing experience and was a topic that everyone should consider.
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 4:31 PM
I am writing this letter to respectfully give my opinion on why I feel you should continue funding Gary Yourofsky's lecture tour for the upcoming year. I was privileged enough to have Gary as a guest speaker in an Ethics class at the University of Akron. Myself and majority of the class had a chance to discuss after the presentation and it seemed that not only did Gary leave me with many thoughts when he left but it seemed he had changed the minds of many of my classmates. Animal rights is an issue most people are aware of but never take the chance to further their education or express their personal beliefs about. Garymade it clear during his presentation that there are people out there that focus the majority of their lives on animal rights and it can only help the problem for more people to do the same. He gave a wider perspective of the situation and opened many eyes to the problems and issues that would normally go untouched. Gary's presentation was extremely informational and heartfelt. It's always encouraging and more effective when the presenter has strong feelings about their beliefs and can show those feelings to many others through presentations. In conclusion, I feel that Gary's lecture tour should continue to be funded in order to open many more eyes to these issues. Thank you for your time and I hope you consider the ones who are benefiting and learning from the lectures that Gary presents. Thank you again.
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 5:27 PM
This email is in response to my recent findings that PETA has decided to stop funding Gary Yourofsky's national lecture tour. This is very upsetting as his lecture had a profound effect on me. I also believe most of my classmates left the room with a different viewpoint or at least a more open and concerned mind. People might not change overnight and some might continue to eat animal products; however, it is my belief that most of the people that hear Gary are willing to sacrifice some of their bad habits after hearing and seeing the effects of eating and using animals. I chose to become vegan and even though it is a struggle, I still fight everyday. Before he came, I had tried in the past to become a vegetarian, but really was not fully aware of why I should be doing so. As a result, I failed as a vegetarian and went back to eating meat. Yet, after hearing Gary's speech and looking on his website, the answers were clear to me. In fact, I never saw a reason for complete veganism until he showed me. We need someone like Gary to lecture people to not only open their eyes, but to constantly remind them of the problem. So, I am writing this to urge you not to stop his funding because the animals need him. And I hope one day, I might be able to join the fight along with him and others so that I may save the innocent victims. Please reconsider your decision. And I thank you for your time.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 3:52 PM
I am an instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College. I just learned that PETA has chosen to cut all funding for the Educational Tour. This is disconcerting news indeed. As a student of social movements, I have seen that nothing is more effective for social change than actual organizing on the grassroots level. Look at the success of SEIU in organizing thousands of new members in Los Angelesand all over California after they decided to put their resources into organizing and paying activists to do face-to-face work. This has been shown to work throughout history, yet PETA seems to eschew real world lessons of what works for higher CEO salaries and the capitalist model in general. Resources allocated to the higher management levels do not get the word out on the streets that animals are being murdered systematically. I have never been touched by the animal rights argument until I heard Gary Yourofsky speak honestly about the violence that is occurring. I only thought in terms of the health benefits. Well, screw the health benefits; I don't want one more animal to die! Only Garyhas been truly successful in hitting this point home with students, staff and faculty. His passion and dedication are commendable. Please reinstate the tour. Please fund it appropriately and give Gary Yourofsky a decent salary. Please know that this is money spent wisely. Please gain back the respect for PETA that has been lost.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 4:01 PM
A couple weeks ago my outlook on animal cruelty was changed by a man named Gary Yourofsky. My question to you is why would you wish to stop funding for a man who is out there helping your cause by changing how hundreds of people think and eat. I listened to him for two days and my views have changed quite a bit. I still eat meat but i have cut back and tried to change to healthy food from the earth. I know it not only affected how I eat and think but many kids in my class where changed as well. I feel it is morally stupid to stop funding Gary, a man who has devoted his life to helping your cause. Think about it!!
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 4:10 PM
I am a student at The University of Akron. On November 14, 2005 Gary Yourofsky came into my Ethics class to speak of animal rights and veganism. It was an eye opening lecture that really took the blinders off. His compassion for animals definitely makes me think differently the way I see the treatment they go through. I also received a dvd from him of a lecture that I have shared with many of my friends and family. I truly believe that you should reconsider your decision to stop funding him. He reaches a lot of people.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 4:25 PM
I recently attended a national lecture tour hosted by Gary Yourofsky at The University of Akron and I am writing this to you to show concern regarding the decision to stop funding for this tour. I believe that your organization should make all possible efforts to continue funding for the lecture. I believe that there is an ignorance within society that does not understand the aspects that Garythoroughly discusses and without this lecture tour we will not become aware of such things. Gary's goal was to remove "blinders" within each one us at his lecture and I believe that he did just that. Not only does Garyask us to use empathy towards animals, but he also addresses environmental concerns and related health issues that our extremely important. Gary's lecture makes one think twice about our own lifestyles and offered solutions on how to make appropriate changes. I hope that Gary's lecture tour will be able receive continued funding and that it is in the best interest of many to do so.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 4:49 PM
Thank you for having the speaker come in to our class room to talk about the importance and his beliefs as living as a vegan. I believe his speech was very persuasive and should I acknowledge what he had to say. Even though I will not convert to become a vegan, I believe that it was very persuasive and he should continue to speak to others that may consider becoming vegan. I believe the cruelty of animals is wrong and i am continuing to think about whether converting to that would be a good idea, but his speech did help me in considering which direction i will follow. I highly recommend him to continue speaking of veganism, thank you for your time I appreciate everything you guys do.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 11:34 PM
i had the pleasure of attending one of gary yourofsky's lectures on the issue of veganism and the inhumane treatment of animals for a class based on ethical issues. i felt that i needed to inform the people of PETA that they should indeed reconsider the decision to stop funding gary yourfsky's veganism lifestyle lecture tour. i found that gary was truly informative and made me realize the true inhumane treatment of animals to feed the meat and dairy industry that i thought were protected by the laws of the land. gary did not attempt to stuff the idea of veganism down our throats with these vivid and sometimes cruel images and experiences being by video or his own experiences, but to make sure that we knew the truth, the truth that these defenseless animals that we use to feed our bodies are not protected, but instead are being treated inhumanely for profit all for the excuse of the meat or dairy products "tasting good". the majority of the people who exist on this earth have the "ignorance is bliss" attitude when it comes to things of our non-understanding, but thanks to gary, he has allowed not only my class, but I'm sure other people who have had the pleasure to meet his acquaintance, to wake up and see how these animals were being treated. he tried to make us understand that there are indeed other ways to seek our nourishment by the ways of accepting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. gary definitely has made me more mindful of what exactly i choose to eat and allowed me to find different alternatives. gary could be the person to make a person change their lives for the better by incorporating better eating habits. i know he has definitely done that for me. people who feel as strongly about the protection and unethical treatment of any being, being that of human or animal species should be entitled to their opinions and views, i just think that the people of PETA should continue to allow him to do so.
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2005 9:39 AM
Glad to hear you will be back next semester. It sucks that PETA didn't respond to all those emails from students. Many of my students were shocked with the form letter response, which they said was rude and unprofessional. (One guy said you should sue them for "defamation of character"). Based on the email assignment, I estimate that approximately half of the students have either adopted a vegetarian diet (a couple were considering veganism) or had adopted a 1-2 day-a-week "vegan" day. Not bad!!!
Letters from PETA Employees 2002
When PETA first decided to sponsor my tour in 2002, many employees sent these messages to me:
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 9:11 AM
Great job, I thought you nailed your speech yesterday. As I've said before, I think you have a fantastic delivery and maybe one of the best in the movement.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 10:12 AM
Gary, you're so wonderful. Your speech was wonderful and if possible, could I use the video footage in my speeches? It was so compelling and some of the stuff I have never seen before. What a way to get the audience to see what the truths are about their meat-based diet.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 10:13 AM
I meant to email you this morning and let you know that I genuinely enjoyed your speech. I usually get extremely bored by animal rights presentations but I was captivated by your presentation and delivery throughout the hour. Good job, and welcome aboard. We are lucky to have you.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 10:14 AM
Fabulous presentation by the way. The video is incredibly moving and you're a star when it comes to public speaking.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 10:15 AM
Thank YOU for giving an UNBELIEVABLE speech! Can't wait to get a copy of it sometime and share with my friends and fam. thanks again!
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 11:02 AM
No problem kid ... your speech is awesome, enjoyed finally hearing it...and I'm sure since I'm in it you get even more request for the video version...
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 11:38 AM
Wow! Really great comments! Everyone thought it was fabulous, including me.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 11:46 AM
I was really impressed. I CAN'T WAIT to buy hundreds of copies and give them to everyone I know. I would also love to hear the many stories you must have, so if you ever find yourself bored, please get in contact with me.
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 3:09 PM
Your talk was amazing. I'm so happy to think of all those people who will get to hear you and be inspired to be compassionate about animals. What an awesome project!
Sent: Monday, August 05, 2002 11:25 PM
I just wanted to tell you that I expected to be impressed by your speech, but I didn't expect to be blown away. You were so on with everything you said. The language, the repetition so the audience couldn't forget "concentration camps" and "flesh" and "wrong". At first, I didn't fully understand why you preferred to speak to people who are not already involved and educated in animal rights. I just thought it being uncomfortable, I guess. And walking into that crowd when I came in, and in the beginning with the smirks and sarcasm, it was uncomfortable. I was thinking when I was in the elevator with the guy in the "People Eating Tasty Animals" T, and the guy bringing in his big bag of McDonalds food, that you had your work cut out for you. That these were not people I'd want to lecture to. But when you ran the videos, and even those guys bowed their heads unable to watch, and when you kept speaking the truth, and backing it up, the smirks disappeared from their faces, and they paid attention. And these same people, at the end, were humbled and showed such genuine curiosity when asking questions I was just psyched and amazed. And then it made sense why you liked speaking to people who weren't into the movement. Watching their hands repeatedly going up with genuine questions, not dumb comments like I anticipated, was so inspiring. People who had a door open and they saw this truth, and some were frightened by it, some were visibly upset, some still trying to rationalize it, it was just amazing! To show people this truth and have it affect them in such a short time, grabbing their attention and also showing respect for their questions and skepticism. I was so excited and worked up by the content of your speech, and the reaction by these previous skeptics, my hands were actually shaking. I'm telling you this now, after I got home and I still feel like this so I can try to convey what an effect your speech had. You are truly a blessing to Peta and the animals. I'm grateful I got to witness your speech and the effect it had on people and I feel privileged to work with you.
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 10:22 AM
I think you did a wonderful job! Even if they don't agree with everything you said last night, you got the students thinking, which is half the battle. You really provide an important service for PETA and I'm glad that you're here! You inspire me
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 10:35 AM
You fucking RULE!
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 11:32 AM
Thank you Gary! Your presentation was riveting.
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 2:13 PM
Gary, you were great. I think the Q & A session at the end helped everyone to see you as not only an intelligent, reflective, articulate person who is highly dedicated to the movement, but also as just a really kind and friendly guy who can relate to other people no matter what their life experience. You got the obligatory questions about abortion and death penalty, geez, I was waiting for that. I bet you get those all the time. Anyway, you're a talented speaker, and thanks SO MUCH for doing what you do. You totally deserve kind comments for what you do. It takes skill to be right on top of their questions and to hold people's attention like that. You do something I think we all wish we could do. And I followed the students out and they stood there in the parking lot talking. That is just incredible. I hope so much that ECPI classes will continue to bring the critical thinking classes to Peta for you to talk to. Just amazing how you can manage to open the minds of Jsometimes close-minded people It is truly a wonderful thing that you kind of found your niche where you can really excel. We Peta folks were discussing among ourselves that we wished you could take command of all the TV and media outlets simultaneously for one hour, because you could just about veganize the nation all at once.
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 10:45 AM
I think you are making more of a difference doing what you are doing than all of what PETA has done combined in the last 20 years. Please don't ever leave here.
Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2002 11:56 AM
Are you leaving PETA? I assume you're trying to keep this quiet. What happened? Were ya just too radical? It fucking sucks because what PETA failed to realize is that the shit you're doing is HANDS DOWN the best stuff coming out of PETA right now. you're fucking making people vegan left and right, all over the country, and (re)igniting flames under the asses of activists. That's what it's all about.
Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2002 3:23 PM
You are fucking amazing. I just don't know why they don't want you to be labeled PETA anymore. I have no clue. You brought so much energy when you came here; the lectures you've been giving at those universities don't need to be discussed; it's just EFFICIENT. I don't want to say goodbye right now b/c I don't want you to leave.
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 9:16 AM
It was an honor to meet and talk with you. I wish we had had more of a chance to speak about things. I think you do wonderful things for the animals and the movement here, and I look forward to hearing about your continued good deeds and compassion in Michigan.
You can read more messages in the order in which they were received by simply clicking the right- and left-pointing arrows at the bottom of this page. To access any particular set of messages by year, by month, or by type, just click on the upward-pointing arrow; from the main menu at top left of the page, click Comments and Conversions and go from there.