Detroit Water shutoffs
PETA offered to pay the water bills of 10 Detroit families who were facing shutoff -- on the condition they switch to a vegan diet. Reuters

PETA founder and President Ingrid Newkirk sent a letter to the editor of the International Business Times on Tuesday, objecting to a recent story by senior media reporter Christopher Zara, “PETA Drowning In Backlash For Detroit Water Crisis Veganism Push.” The story, published Friday, highlighted the public reaction to an unusual offer PETA made to Detroit residents facing a water shutoff for overdue bills: The animal rights group offered to pay the overdue water bills for 10 Detroit families who agreed to switch to a vegan diet. The story presented sources critical of PETA for what some saw as a tone-deaf publicity stunt as well as input from PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt.

Following is the full letter PETA emailed to IBTimes Editor-in-Chief Peter Goodman:

To the Editor:

That’s right, chastise PETA for finding a way to help both animals and 10 struggling families in Detroit ("As Detroit Residents Suffer, PETA Dangles a Carrot," July 25). Sure, PETA could have simply chosen to discuss the role that animal-based agriculture plays in water shortages, thanks to its inordinate use of the precious stuff, sucking it out of our aquifers and contributing to drought, as well as polluting rivers and streams with runoff from its factory farms rather than make this useful point by helping people pay their water bills while improving their diet.

The last thing that someone with financial trouble needs is higher medical bills from meat-related diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, and strokes. We chose to put our money where our mouth is and some families said, “Thanks for that!” It’s a safe bet that those who threw stones didn’t pay even one person’s water bill.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
1536 16th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036