Animal rights activist gives up her name for cause

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The Independent US

An animal rights activist from Indiana has legally changed her name to Karin Robertson took the name from a website run by her employers, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Ms Robertson, 23, who works as a youth educator for the animal rights organisation in Norfolk, Virginia, said that the name was just one word. "I like the whole name together," she said.

According to Ms Robertson, the name change was not intended to promote Peta - where senior staff were apparently surprised by the move.

She said that she changed her name to encourage debate about vegetarianism and animal rights. She said: "People are really perplexed [when they find out]. They say, 'You've got to be joking'.

"And every time I go to the bank, the tellers will report back about vegetarian food they've tried."

Her decision to take on such an unusual name also provides her with the opportunity to talk to strangers about the treatment of animals on farms and in processing plants.

But those who work in the meat industry were not impressed with the name change.

Kara Flynn, a spokeswoman for the National Pork Producers Council, a lobbying group in Washington, said: "It sounds like she needs to get a life.

"If she actually went on a farm and saw what was happening there, she might be pleasantly surprised."'s mother, Melanie Robertson, said that her daughter's name change had been difficult to get used to.

The kindergarten teacher said: "My first comment was 'But your real name is so pretty. Why would you want to do that?'"

Her father, Bob, regularly eats vegetarian food, since having triple bypass surgery two years ago. But the fisheries biologist, who counts many hunters among his friends, has been teased for his daughter's unusual choice of name. "To us, she will always be Karin," her mother said. "But I think she has a good reason for doing what she's doing."