IDA Mission Statement

Our mission is to end animal exploitation, cruelty, and abuse by protecting and advocating for the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals, as well as to raise their status beyond mere property, commodities, or things.


Dr. Elliot Katz and Tyrone

Dear Friend of Animals,

You can’t imagine the shock I felt when I first came face to face with the horrors that were befalling millions, in some cases billions, of animals in our nation’s laboratories and fur and factory farms ... our nation’s puppy mills.

As a veterinarian, I’d been trained to help animals ... to relieve their pain ... to heal their wounds. I had been taught not to stand by or turn my back while animals suffer and die ... certainly not to purposely burn them or beat them, poison them or starve them, blind them or electrocute them, addict or infect them.

And so, in 1983, to right these terrible wrongs, to come to their defense ... to end the terrible animal exploitation and cruelty ... I founded In Defense of Animals (IDA).

And now, some 25 years later, words fail me as I attempt to convey the depth of my appreciation and gratitude to the tens of thousands of IDA supporters, caring people like you, who have given my staff and I the resources to become one of the most effective animal rights organizations in the world today.

Over the years, we have won some precedent setting victories for our animal friends, both here at home, and around the world. They include:

  • Closing down what once was the largest experimental center for chimpanzees in the world, the hideous Coulston Foundation. In doing so, hundreds of chimpanzees were freed from the horrors of vivisection.

  • Creating a chimpanzee sanctuary and education center in the West African Republic of Cameroon, providing a safe haven for severely abused adult chimpanzees and for babies orphaned by a thriving bushmeat trade.

  • Closing down New York University's gruesome crack cocaine experiments on monkeys ... and Rockefeller University’s horrific vomiting experiments on cats.

  • Saving the lives of 180 "research" beagles at the University of California after an employee tipped us off they were about to be killed.

  • Helping pass a law that, for the first time, protects Taiwan's 1.7 million stray dogs from cruelty, abandonment, and exploitation.

  • Canceling a proposed slaughter of thousands of baby seals off the coast of South Africa.

  • Rescuing hundreds of dogs and cats after a devastating firestorm swept through the Oakland/Berkeley hills, destroying more than 3,500 homes.

  • Liberating 40 dolphins when an IDA investigator flew to Japan and swam underwater in the dead of night to cut the nets that imprisoned the terrified animals.

  • Filing five lawsuits that resulted in the freeing of 42 racing greyhounds from Army, University of California and Arizona research laboratories. Many were already in the midst of painful research. The lawsuits successfully prevented horrific bone breaking experiments on 120 retired racing greyhounds.

  • Conducting undercover investigations that exposed the cruelties of the puppy mill industry... rescuing thousands of starving and abused animals, and developing a 64-acre abused animal sanctuary in rural Mississippi.

As you can see, what started out as the personal crusade of a few dedicated individuals has become a national organization dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation wherever it might exist.

But as our effectiveness grows, so does the determination of the animal abusers to fight for their “right” to exploit, mutilate and kill our animal friends ... to libel and attack us. That is why your support is so crucial to helping us break the deadly cycle of violence, torture and death.

It has taken much time, energy, courage, dedication and resources for us to accomplish so very much ... to win so many victories ... in the harsh and dangerous environments we often work in.

But we truly had no choice, for we could not ... nor will we ever, turn our backs on suffering and pain ... on the terrible tragedies befalling our animal friends.

And so I ask for your help and support.

I would like to propose that you allow me to become "your" veterinarian, but not in the traditional sense. For my practice is now with animals who I am never allowed to see or touch – those gentle, frightened animals locked away in our nation’s laboratories, puppy mills, factory and fur farms... fellow beings who I am determined to help.

My staff and I have never held back in our efforts on behalf of our animal friends. I now ask you not to hold back either. Your participation and support are essential if we are to end the torture, the maiming, the killing of defenseless animals.

The animals have no voice with which to thank you, but I do. And so on their behalf, I thank you for your compassion, generosity and caring.

Respectfully,
Elliot M. Katz, DVM
Founder and President Emeritus, IDA


"In Defense of Animals has set the standard for integrity and results in animal advocacy. In a world in which too many look away, IDA has been on the cutting edge of front-line activism to end abuse and exploitation. No organization has done more to uphold the principles of justice for our animal friends."

Jeffrey Masson
Author, When Elephants Weep