Some of the following may be objectionable to readers.
PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, is known for pushing the envelope on acceptability: Its proposed vegetarian ad for the Super Bowl this year was sexually suggestive, and it periodically stages nude models in various poses saying they’d rather wear nothing than fur.
But a new feature of the organization’s website takes its campaign to a new level: a will posted by founder Ingrid Newkirk that, among other things, calls for her flesh to be used for a barbecue and her feet for umbrella stands.
Newkirk’s posting on the site explains:
As someone who has dedicated a part of my life to the alleviation of animal suffering in various parts of the world, it is my wish that upon my death, my body be used to further that same goal. … To accomplish this, I direct that my body be donated to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510, to be used in whatever manner it chooses in order to accomplish the specified purpose, with the hope that most of my body will be put to use in the United States, with parts also dispatched to awaken the public consciousness of governments and citizens in the United Kingdom, where I was born, in India, my beloved childhood home, and in Canada, Germany, and France.
Newkirk makes several specific suggestions, including that “the ‘meat’ of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbecue, to remind the world that the meat of a corpse is all flesh, regardless of whether it comes from a human being or another animal.”
She wants her skin to be made “into leather products,” such as purses, and tacked up “outside the Indian Leather Fair each year to serve as a reminder of the government’s need to abate the suffering of Indian bullocks.”
“In remembrance of the elephant-foot umbrella stands and tiger rugs I saw, as a child, offered for sale by merchants at Connaught Place in Delhi, my feet be removed and umbrella stands or other ornamentation be made from them,” she continued.
Newkirk also wants an eye removed, mounted and delivered to the chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a reminder PETA will be watching, a “pointing finger” delivered to the owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and an ear mounted and sent to the Canadian Parliament “to assist them in hearing, for the first time perhaps, the screams of the seals, bears, raccoons, foxes, and minks bludgeoned, trapped, and sometimes skinned alive. …”
Her thumbs should be mounted – one up and one down – with the upward pointing digit given to the group that “has done the most to promote alternatives to the use and abuse of animals” and the downward digit to the person or group that has “frightened and hurt animals in some egregious manner.”
She designates PETA and an alternate to carry out her wishes.
“If my directions cannot be executed in any of these countries, I authorize the transport of my remains to any location where my disposition directions directions, in whole or in part, may be lawfully executed,” she continued.
The online form is not signed.
In a PETA website statement, she stated, “If using my body can wake up just one person to the wanton exploitation of animals, then this will be a success. People will see that when my skin has been tanned, there will be no difference between it and the skin they buy in the form of shoes and briefcases. The difference is only that, unlike the millions of cows and buffaloes in India who are beaten and abused before they die a wretched death, I have not been oppressed.”
The report said Newkirk grew up in India, and she credits her time in the Asian nation for teaching her the “compassion and ahimsa values” by which she now lives.
“I will continue to make a stir, even after I have been in the ground a long time,” she stated.