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How much money do you make in animal rights organisations?

Exclusive for – 10.07.2017. Author: Philipp J. Kroiß

An animal rights activist said that many people were in her business, “because we love money”. But what amounts are we talking about? We have done some research.

How much money do you make in animal rights organisations?

Our reporting on the statements of Kellie Hackman (GFAS) has made some big waves. But the question which came up again and again was: How much money are we actually talking about? Often, animal rights activists present themselves as selfless individuals meeting the commonplace of the self-sacrificing animal rights activist. In fact, the bosses are some of the top earners.

Top earners at HSUS

Wayne Pacelle is CEO and President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a kind of PETA in pinstripe. In 2011, he was able to earn $268,226 and also received another $31,295. Thus, this year he will have made almost $300,000. He is one of about 15 officials who earned six-digit amounts in the year in question. The top earners alone cost the HSUS more than 2.8 million dollars in this sample year. The highest officials earn more than twice as much as the average earner in the United States and even earn more than a doctor: GPs usually earn less than $150,000 a year. You have to be a specialist or anesthesiologist to get into comparable salary classes.

At PETA you earn well, too

Peta-Gründerin Ingrid Newkirk
(Quelle: David Shankbone/Wikipedia)

With just under 40,000 dollars a year, Ingrid Newkirk gets much less and is approaching the average American income – at least only on her earnings from PETA USA. It is not known how much she gets from EarthSave International and United Poultry, where she is Advisory Board Member.
However, the President is not the top earner. A top earner with over $100,000 is the Asst Secretary Jeff Kerr. Also in this earnings segment was the veterinarian Wendy Taft. Kerr, however, makes his main earnings through PETA partner organisations, while Taft directly makes her money from PETA. But also vice president, Tracy Reimen, is a very shrewd businesswoman and gets around twice as much as Newkirk.

Newkirk is not only the president of the parent organisation, but also the chairman of PETA Germany. Here, up to 57 employed “managers”, “senior coordinators”, “coordinators” and “junior coordinators”, earned in total € 1,728,583 in 2015. Thus, from a euro of donation to PETA about 42 cents goes on personnel costs.
In 2016, this figure has risen further: in the last year we are talking about almost 2 million € in personnel costs.

Pirate treasure at Sea Shepherd

With his roughly $115,000, as for instance in the years 2011 and 2012, Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd does very well out of his donors. Not so bad at all for someone who is claimed to be so “selfless”. He can certainly live well in Vermont, where he is currently evading an international arrest warrant.


The protagonists of the animal rights movement are not selfless ascetics who sacrifice themselves for the welfare of animals. They make “profit with non-profit” and live well. Knowing this is important, not to make them look bad, but to expose myths. But it also reveals an economic dependence on the ideology that they spread.
Animal rights activists are not therefore in the position to criticise zoos, circuses or other animal keepers, for not being independent, because they get money for their work, and for being part of an “industry” because this accusation also applies to animal rights activists themselves. To see animal rights activists as independent experts is therefore completely wrongheaded – they make money with their ideological opposition to comprehensive species and nature conservation and indeed live off it.

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