With the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd, animals and the people who care about them have lost a longstanding and true friend.
Byrd's soft spot for animals-which was fueled by his love for his little dog, Billy-was as legendary as the passionate speeches that he often made in their behalf. No one who saw the speech that he gave in response to the Michael Vick scandal can forget the way in which Byrd rightly condemned dogfighting as "barbaric, barbaric, barbaric!" He was also among the first legislators to speak eloquently from the Senate floor about cruelty to farmed animals, defending animals who are raised for food with the words, "These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain."
Named PETA's 2007 "Person of the Year" for his defense of animals throughout six decades of public service, Byrd gave a powerful voice to those who have no voices of their own. His passionate and inspiring dedication to helping animals will be sorely missed.
In memory of Sen. Byrd, let us work to keep his respect for animals alive by practicing kindness every day-by rejecting cruelty at the dinner table, in the clothing store, in entertainment, and wherever else it is found. For more information or to order a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit, please visit GoVeg.com.
Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals