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When PETA Comes to Town
PETA is urging communities to kill animals, claiming doing so is a “gift” — in the dark and dystopian words of Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder, it is “the greatest gift of all.”
PETA is on a bender. In Sarasota, FL, in Killeen, TX, in Manteca, CA, in DeKalb County, GA, in Norfolk, VA, and elsewhere, PETA staff members are urging public officials in a growing number of communities to kill more animals.
PETA contends that a shelter faces three extreme choices: kill animals, turn them away, or “warehouse” them for months. Of the three, PETA wants officials to choose the most violent of all possible responses — killing. But there’s another option that PETA intentionally ignores: the No Kill Equation — a series of programs that include foster care, marketing, sterilization, pet retention, volunteers, and robust adoption campaigns.
These programs are humane, readily available, affordable, and, when comprehensively implemented, effective. Communities across the country that embrace the No Kill Equation place 95%- 99% of animals without turning animals away, putting public safety at risk, or warehousing animals. The average stay before adoption is less than two weeks, about the time a dog or cat would spend at a boarding facility during a family vacation.1 Collectively, the No Kill Equation has resulted in a nationwide shelter death rate decline of 90% and 30% fewer puppy mills as more people are adopting rather than buying animals.
By contrast, PETA kills 90% - 99% of the animals it takes in and has an adoption rate of less than ½ of 1% for cats and only 4% for dogs, despite over $80 million in annual revenues. To date, PETA has killed 46,364 dogs and cats that we know of. The number may be many times higher. According to a former employee whose job it was to acquire animals to kill,
I was told regularly to not enter animals into the log, or to euthanize off-site in order to prevent animals from even entering the building. I was told regularly to greatly overestimate the weight of animals whose euthanasia we recorded, in order to account for what would have otherwise been missing ‘blue juice’ (the chemical used to euthanize); because that allowed us to euthanize animals off the books.
PETA also has a history of stealing and killing people’s pets. In one case, they were caught on a surveillance camera trespassing on someone’s property to steal Maya, the family’s dog. They illegally killed her the same day. PETA was not only fined by the state of Virginia for doing so, but they paid $49,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the dog’s family, which included a devastated 9-year-old girl. In another case, PETA lied to several people by promising they would find homes for animals, only to kill the animals within minutes in the back of a van, a donor-funded slaughterhouse on wheels. PETA staff were subsequently arrested after they discarded the bodies in a supermarket dumpster.
Why does PETA kill the vast majority of animals? Why do they adopt out so few (and primarily to staff) despite seemingly endless resources to find them homes? Why do they acquire animals under false pretenses, including theft and lying, to kill them?
PETA officials believe that sharing one’s home with an animal subjects them to bondage and oppression:
Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and metal chains by which we enslave it.
Employees also report that they are made to watch “heart-wrenching” films about animal abuse designed to brainwash them into believing that people are incapable of caring for animals. They are then told that animals cannot live without living in a home. Thus, the animals are damned either way and killing them is a “gift.” In the dystopian words of Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder, it is “the greatest gift of all.”
For officials who set shelter policy in Sarasota, DeKalb, Killeen, Manteca, Norfolk, and elsewhere, it begs the question: Since it runs the functional equivalent of a slaughterhouse, why should they listen to PETA?
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Even if it was longer, it doesn’t matter. A few months or even a year in a shelter that offers nutritious food, medical care, socialization, and plenty of love and attention, is no reason to kill an animal, but PETA staff know this. Denigrating the movement to end shelter killing as akin to warehousing is a cynical attempt to shield those who kill animals — like PETA staff — from public criticism and public accountability by painting the alternative as darker.