In Defense of Animals

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In Defense of Animals
File:In Defense of Animals logo.jpg

In Defense of Animals (IDA) is an animal rights organization founded in 1983 in San Rafael, California, USA. It has 60,000 members and an annual budget of $650,000.[1] The group's slogan is "working to protect the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals".[2]

IDA has become known, in particular, for its campaigns against animal experiments conducted by the U.S. military, and experiments in which baby monkeys are separated from their mothers.[1] Journalist and author Deborah Blum has described its strategy as "pure pit bull. It picks a target carefully and refuses to let go".[1]


Dr. Elliot M. Katz, a veterinarian, has presided over IDA since founding the organization in 1983.[3][4] Katz is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Veterinary Medicine.[5][6] He became involved in animal rights issues when his help was sought by activists wanting to end animal experimentation at the allegedly overcrowded laboratories of the University of California, Berkeley. In response, Katz helped set up Californians for Responsible Research, which campaigned for the university to provide better care for the animals.[7]

Since then, IDA has become an international animal advocacy organization. Headquartered in Northern California, it has offices throughout the United States and branches in India and Africa.

Programs and campaigns

IDA works for the protection of animals used in scientific research, food and clothing production, entertainment and sport, and other areas. Its methods include coordinating protests and nonviolent civil disobedience actions including sit-ins, lock downs and banner hangings.

Ongoing programs include a campaign to end the dog and cat meat industry in South Korea and a campaign aimed at improving conditions for elephants in zoos and circuses. IDA was one of many animal protection organizations that helped shut down the Coulston Foundation, once the largest chimpanzee research center in the world.[8][9][10]

The organisation's other achievements include:

  • Creating a chimpanzee sanctuary and education center in Cameroon in 1999 [17] and a sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals in rural Mississippi.
  • Spearheading the rescue of hundreds of dogs and cats after a devastating "firestorm" swept through the Oakland/Berkeley hills in California, destroying more than 3,500 homes.
  • Preventing the bow hunting of Tule elk at the Point Reyes National Seashore.[18][19]
  • Ending New York University's crack cocaine experiments on monkeys as part of the Coulston Foundation. In 1995, the US Department of Agriculture backed IDA's claims by accusing the foundation of "keeping several dozen chimpanzees in undersize cages and causing the avoidable deaths of at least five chimpanzees".[20]
  • Campaigning against Rockefeller University’s neurophysiology experiments on cats. This campaign was supported by PETA. IDA claimed that cats were fully conscious during experiments. The university has denied this.[21] After 18 months of protests by IDA, the university ended the experiments in 1998.[22]
  • Ending brain cancer experiments on beagle puppies in 2001 in Phoenix, Arizona by launching a lawsuit against a scientist.[23][24]
  • Campaigned and eventually convinced the city of San Francisco, California to have meat-free Mondays.[25]
  • Guardian Campaign: a campaign to replace the term "animal owner" with "animal guardian", with the goal to change the character and perception of relationships between humans and animals.[26]

Action against elephants in zoos

IDA believes that zoos lead to the premature deaths of elephants [27] and that "urban zoos simply don’t have enough space for these magnificent, intelligent animals".[28] IDA's campaign against elephants in zoos is also supported by animal rights group PETA[29] and the Humane Society of the United States.[30] IDA publishes an annual list of the "10 worst zoos for elephants".[30][31]

IDA claimed it pressured the San Francisco Zoo to transfer its elephants to a sanctuary in 2004.[32] However, the zoo claimed IDA had "little to do" with the decision to transfer the elephants.[33]

This is part of a wider campaign in which the IDA has claimed a number of American zoos such as the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. have violated the Animal Welfare Act.[29][34] IDA claims that the US Department of Agriculture has acknowledged "the gravity of concern over the poor conditions for elephants in our nation's zoos" [29] However, Woodland Park Zoo have said in response to IDA that "the limited-space argument is simplistic and ... that elephants in accredited zoos receive the best possible care." [28]

Following the death of Gita the elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo in June 2006, IDA led a public protest against the keeping of elephants in small enclosures, resulting in the zoo's decision to move one of its two remaining pachyderms to a Northern California animal sanctuary in May 2007. IDA continues to protest the construction of a 3.5 acres (1.4 ha), $40 million elephant exhibit at the zoo, claiming that it does not provide enough room or natural conditions for elephants to survive.[35]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Blum, Deborah (1995). The Monkey Wars. Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-19-510109-X. 
  2. "Group puts Woodland Park Zoo on 10-worst-for-elephants list". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  3. Blum, The Monkey Wars, p. 114.
  5. "Speakers: Dr. Elliot Katz". EcoFoodPrint. 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. Saillant, Catharine (8 July 2005). "Activists Seek Halt of Feral Pig Hunt: Animal rights advocates file suit over methods used in Channel Islands Park eradication effort". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  7. "A Study of the Compliance of the University of California, Berkeley, with 1983–84 Supplemental Budget Language Related to Animal Care" (PDF). California Postsecondary Education Commission. 1 May 1984. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  8. "The History of Chimpanzees In New Mexico". Animal Protection of New Mexico. Summer 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  9. "Florida Sanctuary Retires All Chimpanzees and Monkeys At Defunct Coulston Primate Lab". The Primate Freedom Project. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  10. Revkin, Andrew C. (10 August 1995). "Chimp Research Laboratory Is Taken Over by Foundation". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  11. Lyke, M.L. (1 August 2005). "Ben White, a fierce defender of animals, dead at 53". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  12. Sullivan, Patricia (7 August 2005). "Ben White Dies; Had a Passion for Protecting Animals". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  13. Morin, Monte (19 January 2000). "Catalina Island Conservancy Resumes Killing Wild Goats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  14. Schoch, Deborah (12 November 2003). "Island Bison Ship Out for Plains". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  15. Associated Press (2010). "Island bison to come back to the Plains". High Plains/Midwest AG Journal. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  16. Argetsinger, Amy (16 December 2004). "Returning to a Home on the Range: Buffalo Being Moved from Calif. Island to S.D. Land of Ancestors". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  17. Jackson, Kristin (5 October 2006). "From Seattle to Cameroon, She is a Champion for Chimpanzees". Seattle Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  18. "IDA Comments on PRNS Non-Native Deer Management Plan Draft Environment Impact Statement" (PDF). National Park Service. 3 April 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  19. Smith, M. Martin (28 May 2007). "The Deer Departed: And the ones that will remain while the National Park Service conducts a controversial mammal birth-control experiment at Point Reyes National Seashore". High Country News. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  20. Revkin, Andrew C. (7 August 1995). "Animal Advocates Protest Plans for a Primate Lab". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  21. Schwirtz, Mira (24 November 1996). "At Rockefeller U., If There Are Pickets, It Must Be Friday". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  22. Archived from the original on October 29, 2006. Retrieved December 16, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. Hibberd, James (2 August 2001). "Legal Beagles". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  24. "IDA Sues Researcher". National Association for Biomedical Research. 8 August 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  25. O'Reilly, Bill (8 April 2010). "San Francisco Approves Meat-Free Mondays". Fox News. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  26. "The Guardian Campaign". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  27.[dead link]
  28. 28.0 28.1 Marshall, Lynn (25 June 2007). "Elephant's Death Puts Zoos in Spotlight: As Seattle mourns, the loss adds fuel to animal groups' claim that such casualties are linked to city captivity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. "In Defense of Animals (IDA) Announces the "Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in 2007"". In Defense of Animals. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  32. Archived January 18, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  33.[dead link]
  34. Associated Press (15 May 2007). "LA zoo elephant off to animal sanctuary". USA Today. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  35. "One-year Anniversary of Gita the Elephant’s Death Sunday". In Defense of Animals. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 

External links

IDA sites and campaigns: