PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Here’s another acronym they might be known by: People for the Euthanasia of Thousands of Animals.
What the what?
Okay, buckle up, kids, ‘cause this is going to be a bumpy ride. I don’t usually write posts like this, but this is something I’m passionate about and I want to share what I know, so then you’ll know it too and be able to make an informed decision about your support if you so choose.
If you’re anything like me, you lurve animals. You currently or have in the past financially supported various animal welfare, rights, and rescue organizations like PETA and HSUS, SPCA, ASPCA, World Wildlife Fund, etc. I’ve given money to all of them. Some on a consistent, monthly basis, like PETA & HSUS.
That was before.
When I found out what PETA actually does with companion animals, aka pets, that come into its Norfolk, Virginia facility I was shocked, appalled, and mortified that I’d supported them for so long without actually finding out what I was supporting.
Last year, while I was writing a novel that centered around a girl, a dog, and dog fighting in the girl’s small hometown, I did a lot of research about that abhorrent ‘sport’ and in my travels around the Interwebs I happened upon some information about PETA.
It Was Not What I Was Expecting
Please understand that in relaying this information I’m in no way dismissing the great work PETA has done to help many other animals. I’d like to think the people who work for PETA do so because they love animals and want to help, but some of these numbers are horrifying.
The PETA I knew stood for animal rights, for humane treatment of farm animals, for no testing on animals, for spay and neutering, (things I wholeheartedly support) so I was willing to overlook the ridiculous shenanigans they pulled because they were fighting for something worthy I believed in.
Or so I thought.
But when I dug a little deeper and discovered the dark underbelly (not fuzzy at all) of the organization, and the even darker and inexplicable rationale for doing what they do to companion animals, I was sucker punched.
Since 1998 PETA has, on record, ‘compassionately euthanized’ 33,514 companion animals – ie. pets. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. Let’s sit with that for a minute shall we?
33,514 animals killed by an organization who purports to love animals and fight for them. What the what?! (Btw, those are only the reported ones…)
Out of the 38,464 animals brought in or found, they were only ‘able’ to adopt out 3,263 over that 17 year period. That’s a kill rate of 86.64%.
Sometimes these animals would be put down within twenty-four hours of coming to their facility without ever trying to find another home for them.
Really, PETA? Really? That’s the best you can do?
They claim that most of the animals brought to them are in a dire state, which is defined as “aged, injured, sick, and dying animals” needing that compassionate euthanasia they talk so much about.
Since when is being old punishable by death? Injured? There are a lot of injuries that can and should be healed. Sick? Again, unless it’s stage 4 cancer or some incurable disease causing unrelenting pain, why not try to help heal them?
Dying animals already on the way to the Rainbow Bridge? Yes, I understand the mercy there. I wish no animal ever had to suffer.
People do atrocious things to animals. I’ve seen the results of it and it makes me want to scream. But do we really believe the majority of their intakes are in an impossible state beyond hope?
It’s Their Job to End the Suffering
This means that almost all the animals that come to them are dispatched and disposed of regardless of their state of health much of the time. It’s what Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s fearless leader and founder, calls “the greatest gift.”
“The greatest gift” you can give an animal is death? Yikes. Does this sound like something a person fully in command of all their marbles, someone who claims to love animals, would think, no less say out loud? That’s the Koolaid, folks.
While I don’t disagree there is widespread and massive suffering in the domestic animal population, I certainly don’t believe the only option is putting perfectly adoptable animals down because they may suffer at some point in their lives, or because Ingrid has decided that no one would want them (e.g. elderly animals).
And frankly, it shouldn’t be an option for wounded ones either when there is hope they can be saved as so many other organizations have done (like Hope For Paws here in Los Angeles).
I wish ‘the greatest gift’ was never an option for any healthy pets, but unfortunately 4 million shelter animals are put down every year in this country. We have to find a better way.
Last year, PETA’s budget was nearly $52 million. Most of it from donations. You’d think with that kind of cash they could allot more resources for the care and adoption of the animals that come in to them. Other organizations do it with far, far less money every single day.
But PETA doesn’t advertise. They don’t share information about their intakes. How the hell can these animals be adopted if no one knows they exist?
It would appear their idea of “ethical” and mine are not even floating in the same universe when it comes to pets. And while we’re on the subject of ethical, let’s look at what ‘euthanasia’ really means.
Euthanasia (literally means ‘good death’): ‘the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.’
‘Hopelessly sick or injured.’ By PETA’s standards, that includes puppies and kittens, other perfectly adoptable dogs, elderly animals and just about any other critter that comes through their doors.
And many who don’t.
One day in 2005, two PETA employees picked up a cat and two kittens in perfect health from veterinarian, Patrick Proctor, in their rolling death mobile. They also had other healthy animals, described by the employees themselves as “perfect’ and ‘adorable’, in the back of the van with them that day.
The vet was told they would try to find homes for the animals he entrusted to them. Instead, the employees killed all of the animals and dumped their bodies in a dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
Business as usual apparently.
An ex-employee alleges that she was repeatedly encouraged to lie, steal pets, and fudge reports on a consistent basis. She was also encouraged not to bring the animals to the warehouse, but instead take care of them elsewhere so there would be no record.
Some devious, back alley shit here, folks.
Peta yells, “fur is murder!”
Um, pardon me while I point out the obvious and ask, what the hell do you call killing perfectly healthy animals in the back of a van and throwing their bodies in a dumpster?
“According to statistics reported to VDACS by PETA itself, PETA took in 1,605 cats in 2014 and killed 1,536 (a kill rate of 96%). They transferred another 43 to kill shelter. They found homes for only 16, an adoption rate of 1%. During that same time frame, they took in 1,021 dogs of which they killed 788 (a kill rate of 77%). Another 210 were transferred to kill shelters. Only 23 were adopted. Since 1998, PETA has killed over 30,000 animals, including healthy puppies and kittens, many of them immediately after taking custody of them and without ever trying to find them homes.”
While I will fully acknowledge that PETA does good things for some animals, those statistics are shocking and not something I can personally abide.
There’s some insidious shit underlying PETA’s philosophy. It doesn’t appear that compassion for animals is at the root of Newkirk’s mission at all. At least not anymore. It may have been at one point, but it seems more like she just wants to rid the world of companion animals so we horrible humans can’t have at them anymore. She’s said as much time and again.
When she was younger, before she created PETA, Newkirk worked at a shelter:
“I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals). I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”
I don’t want to ever see animals suffering either, but this nihilistic whacked-out approach is not the answer to our animal over-population and abuse problem.
Educate (people), adopt (please don’t support puppy mills, don’t BUY your best friends, always adopt from either shelters or rescues – there are thousands of them and millions of animals), spay and neuter. These are some answers, but we need to do much more still.
It’s your call. Ultimately, you decide who you want to support for animal welfare and rescue (if that’s your thing), but there are other charities doing saner work out there than PETA.
Please be careful with HSUS. They have direct ties to PETA and though they do accomplish great things in the rescue world, there’s some not great stuff in their closet as well. In my research I’ve found they basically have the same ideology as PETA. Obviously, that doesn’t sit well with me, so I have to do more research on them.
If you live in Los Angeles and are looking for great rescue organizations to get involved with or donate money to, I worked with Molly’s Mutts and Meows as well as Adopt Me Rescue and they’re both fantastic organizations that desperately need donations. Hope For Paws is amazing too. They rescue and rehabilitate. They save animals.
Angel City Pitbulls do incredible work rescuing and adopting out pitbulls from shelters here. If you know anything about the pitbull situation in our country you understand how desperately they need our help.
These organizations rescue and help healthy as well as sick and unwanted animals and do their best to find them awesome forever homes on a shoestring budget. They could use our help. Please consider giving yours to them or some other worthy organization in your area.
This post is, by no means, an exhaustive detailing of the egregious ways in which PETA has, in my opinion, let the three million plus members of their organization down with regard to fighting for “animal rights.”
Please do research this more if I’ve lit a fire under your tush. Be informed. Let’s discuss in the comments below. And be courteous with your dissent, PETA folks, if I’ve nudged you out of the woodwork. I’ll be expecting my cease and desist letter any day now.
Other horrible, terrible, very bad things about PETA:
“On October 18, 2014, in Parksley, VA, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out. They killed her that very day.” (There is actual video of this happening, and yet the prosecutor didn’t charge them. Mind blown.)
Honestly, there’s just so much information out there. Get informed.
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Thanks for sharing your time with me. Be warned, I may steal your stories at some point. It’s what we do.