Ok, there is the rule against perpetuities, but I cannot find a rule against petatuities. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk has released her will that includes giving her body to PETA for the suggested purpose of people eating her flesh and making leather goods from her skin.
My favorite gesture is “That one of my thumbs be removed, mounted upwards on a plaque, and sent to the person or institution that, in the year of my death or thereabouts, PETA decides has done the most to promote alternatives to the use and abuse of animals in any area of their exploitation.” Now, that is something to work for — Ingrid Newkirk’s thumb mounted on your desk. It will go so nicely with the Ingrid Newkirk leather pumps and flank steaks. What ever happened to a nice PETA mug or tee-shirt?
Of course, being on Ingrid’s good side is not much different from being on her bad side. Here is the terms covering her pointing finger: “That my pointing finger be delivered to Kenneth Feld, owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum&Bailey Circus, or to a circus museum to stand as the “Greatest Accusation on Earth” on behalf of the countless elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and other animals who have been kidnapped from their families and removed from their homelands in India, Thailand, Africa, and South America and deprived of all that is natural and pleasant to them, abused, and forced into involuntary servitude for the sake of cheap entertainment.” In the tradition of P.T. Barnum, Feld should accept the finger and put it on display as the “Haunted Finger of a PETA Demoness.”
Newkirk has led PETA’s push to the fringes of society where it primarily serves to shock the public and confirm the worst stereotypes of animal activists and environmentalists. PETA’s loony commercials and displays could not please animal-use industries more. It has made people who care about animals appear completely insane. While one may believe “crazy as a fox” is a worthy model from our forest friends, it is not quite as useful when people drop the fox reference.
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. It is with this purpose in mind that I make the following directions and designations relating to the disposition of my final remains. I make these directions and designations after thorough consideration and pursuant to my firm belief in the purposes for which they are made.
1. Upon my death, it is my wish that my body be used in a manner that draws attention to needless animal suffering and exploitation. 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.
2. While the final decision as to the use of my body remains with PETA, I make the following suggested directions:
a. 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, and that flesh foods are not needed;
b. That my skin, or a portion thereof, be removed and made into leather products, such as purses, to remind the world that human skin and the skin of other animals is the same and that neither is “fabric” nor needed, and that some skin be 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 who, after a life of extreme and involuntary servitude, as I have seen firsthand, are exported all over the world in this form;
c. That 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, as a reminder of the depravity of killing innocent animals, such as elephants, in order that we might use their body parts for household items and decorations;
d. That one of my eyes be removed, mounted, and delivered to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a reminder that PETA will continue to be watching the agency until it stops poisoning and torturing animals in useless and cruel experiments; that the other is to be used as PETA sees fit;
e. That my pointing finger be delivered to Kenneth Feld, owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, or to a circus museum to stand as the “Greatest Accusation on Earth” on behalf of the countless elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and other animals who have been kidnapped from their families and removed from their homelands in India, Thailand, Africa, and South America and deprived of all that is natural and pleasant to them, abused, and forced into involuntary servitude for the sake of cheap entertainment;
f. That my liver be vacuum-packed and shipped, in whole or in part, to France, to there be used in a public appeal to persuade shoppers not to support the vile practice of force-feeding geese and ducks for foie gras;
g. That one of my ears be removed, 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 for their pelts; that the other ear be removed, preserved, and displayed outside the Deonar abattoir in Mumbai to remind all who do business there that the screams of the cattle who are slaughtered within its walls are heard around the world;
h. That one of my thumbs be removed, mounted upwards on a plaque, and sent to the person or institution that, in the year of my death or thereabouts, PETA decides has done the most to promote alternatives to the use and abuse of animals in any area of their exploitation;
i. That one of my thumbs be mounted in a downward position and sent to the person or institution that, in the year of my death or thereabouts, has gone against the changing tide of societal opinion and frightened and hurt animals in some egregious manner;
j. That a little part of my heart be buried near the racetrack at Hockenheim, preferably near the Ferrari pits, where Michael Shumacher raced in and won the German Grand Prix;
k. That anything else be done with my body that PETA believes will serve to draw attention to and so abate the plight of exploited animals.
3. As a resident of Virginia, and pursuant to Virginia law, including
§ 54.1-2825 of the Virginia Code, I designate PETA as the “person” who shall make arrangements for carrying out the directions contained in this document for the disposition of my remains upon my death. If, at any time, PETA is unable or unwilling to carry out these directions, I designate, in the alternative, Daniel Mathews as the individual who shall make arrangements for carrying out the directions contained in this document for the disposition of my remains upon my death. If Daniel Mathews is unable or unwilling to carry out these directions as required, I authorize either of the two listed “persons” in this paragraph to designate a third party to make arrangements for carrying out the directions contained in this document for the disposition of my remains upon my death.
4. While I prefer that my directions be first executed in the United States, I also direct that parts of my body be transported to the United Kingdom, of which I also am a citizen, and to India, my beloved spiritual home, to be executed there. 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, in whole or in part, may be lawfully executed.
5. I authorize the person carrying out these directions to deviate from them in any manner he or she deems appropriate to further the purpose expressed herein. If any provision or provisions of this document shall be held to be invalid, illegal, unenforceable, or in conflict with the law of any jurisdiction, the validity, legality, and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.
INGRID NEWKIRK DATE
SIGN: ________________________ (SEAL)
The foregoing document was published, declared, and signed by Ingrid Newkirk, in our presence, and we subscribe it in her presence, and in the presence of each other.
WITNESS (SIGN) DATE
WITNESS (SIGN) DATE
ACCEPTANCE BY DESIGNATED PERSONS
I have read and fully understand the contents of this document. I accept the designation as the person to carry out the directions set forth herein and will comply with those directions to the best of my ability.
For People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:
MARY BETH SWEETLAND DATE
Senior Vice President
SIGN: ________________________ (SEAL)
I have read and fully understand the contents of this document. Should the conditions precedent be met, I accept the designation as the person to carry out the directions set forth herein and will comply with those directions to the best of my ability.
DANIEL MATHEWS DATE
SIGN: ________________________ (SEAL)
This makes the will of Jeremy (“Greatest Good for the Greatest Number”) Bentham look perfectly normal Bentham who stipulated that his body be preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet called his “Auto-icon” by his disciple Dr. Southwood Smith:
it was acquired by University College London in 1850. The Auto-icon is kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the College. For the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, the Auto-icon was brought to the meeting of the College Council, where he was listed as “present but not voting”. Tradition holds that if the council’s vote on any motion is tied, the auto-icon always breaks the tie by voting in favour of the motion.
The Auto-icon has always had a wax head, as Bentham’s head was badly damaged in the preservation process. The real head was displayed in the same case for many years, but became the target of repeated student pranks including being stolen on more than one occasion. It is now locked away securely.
Of course, Newkirk’s will happens to dictate unlawful terms (though it is expressed as mere suggestions). In most states, it would be illegal to give someone your corpse unless it is a research facility or funeral home. Society is a bit sensitive about corporeal gifts. Perish the thought that this is just another PETA ploy for controversy.
It appears, however, that one group that is unlikely to receive a Newkirk thumbs up is the good people at “No Kill” who have accused Newkirk of being a mass murderer of animals. This break away PETA group accuses Newkirk of being responsible for the murder of thousands of pets in a pound in the 1970s by dispatching them early in the mornings — the virtual Mengele of the Mutt World.
For the will, click here.