By Adele Douglass, Executive Director for Humane Farm Animal Care
I don’t think you can stand in the way of progress for farm animals, euthanize more dogs and cats than other animal shelters, and still call yourself a “humane” organization.
The PETA animal shelter in Norfolk, Va., euthanizes dogs and cats in far greater numbers than does other animal shelters in Virginia.
According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA has euthanized more than 33,514 animals since 1998 at its Norfolk shelter. In 2014, the group euthanized 2,454 of the 3,369 cats, dogs and other animals there. Most were “surrenders” – pets turned into shelters by their previous owners. Only 23 dogs and 16 cats were adopted.
By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA in 2014, but saved 94 percent of its homeless pets. Other animal shelters in the state found homes for more than 90 percent of their animals, and without the $51,933,001 that PETA raised in contributions and merchandising in 2014.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes, of the Richmond SPCA, once wrote on the shelter’s blog, “Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent. It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes, but almost entirely to take their lives.”
Meanwhile, the elimination of pets rather than finding the animals new homes appears to be something PETA embraces. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk once admitted, “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself … I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day. The animals…got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had. How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!”
According to an article published in the Huffington Post in 2015, a former PETA employee, Heather Harper-Troje, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, alleged that Newkirk authorized her and other employees to steal and kill pets, then falsify records in order to cover their tracks. Harper-Troje said, “If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them . . . It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure . . . If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof, there is no trail.”
America has been hoodwinked to think that PETA wants to help animals, when in fact it wants to eliminate pet ownership and sever all our ties with the animal kingdom.
PETA’s Web site and print material states:
“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.”
“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.”
“The cat, like the dog, must disappear…We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist.”
“As John Bryant has written in his book ‘Fettered Kingdoms,’ they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves.”
“In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme.”
[Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild…they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch T.V.”
“The bottom line is that people don’t have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats. If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.”
That will not likely sit well with the estimated 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats living with people in the United States.. [Source: American Pet Product Association]
As the executive director for Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), I have spent 35 years working on animal protection issues. After seeing laying hens crammed in cages and pigs confined to gestation crates, I launched HFAC in 2003 to improve the lives of farm animals raised for food.
However, HFAC’s mission is not to turn everyone into vegans. With 95 percent of the U.S. eating meat, HFAC offers a realistic approach to helping farm animals with standards of care written by the world’s top animal welfare scientists. These standards ensure farm animals cage-free, allowed to exhibit natural behaviors, receive humane care throughout their lives, and includes humane slaughter guidelines. The standards also require the animals’ diets are free from hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products. HFAC uses third-party independent inspectors to perform audits for the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program, which has grown from 143,000 farm animals in 2003 to more than 103 million farm animals today in four countries.
All too often animal rights groups such as PETA sabotage farm animal welfare progress. Although they may appear to attack factory farming, they go after animal welfare groups such as ours that are trying to improve the lives of farm animals. They would rather see farm animals suffer to promote their agenda than support compassionate standards and systemic change to the farm animal system. That’s the height of hypocrisy to me. They would rather go after companies and farmers who have actually worked very hard to raise the animals the right way.
A growing number of farmers, producers, grocery stores, and retailers who want to improve the lives of farm animals, are under constant pressure by PETA to halt this progress because PETA believes factory farming will result in more vegetarians and vegans. Recently, fast-food retailer, Tasty Burger succumbed to PETA’s pressure to drop HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label from its menu because as PETA puts it, “the only truly humane meal is a vegan meal.” PETA also went after Whole Foods, asking that firm to remove “humane,” “humanely-raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials.
Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle quickly came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “This is why I am troubled that PETA has chosen to sue Whole Foods in an apparent attempt to undermine or call into question the value of the GAP program. This is counterproductive, especially in a marketplace where there are dozens of other chains nearly exclusively selling factory farm animal products. Not one of them has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”
PETA’s Newkirk was once quoted as saying, “Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
People who choose to be vegans and vegetarians will not be persuaded to eat meat because of HFAC’s standards. Putting pressure on businesses that want to make a difference for farm animals and keeping the status quo of factory farming alive only increases animal suffering. Any progress for animals is seen as a loss by PETA because it wants animals gone from our lives. That’s PETA’s warped strategy – a strategy that causes farm animals to continue to suffer in factory farms because that better supports their agenda.
The fact that this group continues to portray itself as the humane stewards of animals is duplicitous. I don’t think you can call yourself “humane” while you’re standing in the way of the humane treatment of farm animals and euthanizing dogs and cats at a 99 percent rate at your shelter. They’re not interested in creating a humane world, only a world where our relationship with animals is broken. Does this sound like an organization working on “humane” changes for animals?
Does PETA have the right to determine what’s humane considering their view on animals?
PETA QUOTES on Pets
“In a perfect world, animals would be free to live their lives to the fullest: raising their young, enjoying their native environments, and following their natural instincts. However, domesticated dogs and cats cannot survive “free” in our concrete jungles, so we must take as good care of them as possible. People with the time, money, love, and patience to make a lifetime commitment to an animal can make an enormous difference by adopting from shelters or rescuing animals from a perilous life on the street. But it is also important to stop manufacturing “pets,” thereby perpetuating a class of animals forced to rely on humans to survive.” – PETA pamphlet, Companion Animals: Pets or Prisoners
“We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of “pet keeping”—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as “pets”—never existed. The international pastime of domesticating animals has created an overpopulation crisis; as a result, millions of unwanted animals are destroyed every year as “surplus.” This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. Their lives are restricted to human homes where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.” Animal Rights Uncompromised: PETA on Pets: published on PETA’s website, January 8, 2007
“I don’t use the word “pet.” I think it’s speciest language. I prefer “companion animal.” For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. There would be no pet shops. If people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets. You would have a protective relationship with them just as you would with an orphaned child. But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially engineered by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship enjoyment at a distance.” Ingrid Newkirk, PETA vice-president, quoted in The Harper’s Forum Book, Jack Hitt, ed., 1989, p.223.
“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.” Ingrid Newkirk, national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Just Like Us? Harper’s, August 1988, p. 50.
“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles–from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.” John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a Changing Ethic Washington, DC: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PeTA), 1982, p. 15.
“The cat, like the dog, must disappear… We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist.” John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a Changing Ethic (Washington, DC: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), 1982, p. 15.
“As John Bryant has written in his book Fettered Kingdoms, they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves.” PeTA’s Statement on Companion Animals.
“In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme.” PeTA’s Statement on Companion Animals.
You don’t have to own squirrels and starlings to get enjoyment from them … One day, we would like an end to pet shops and the breeding of animals. [Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild … they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch TV.” Ingrid Newkirk, national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Chicago Daily Herald, March 1, 1990.
“I’m not only uninterested in having children. I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog; it is nothing but vanity, human vanity.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, New Yorker magazine, April 23, 2003
“The bottom line is that people don’t have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats … If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind,” Ingrid Newkirk, founder, president and former national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Animals, May/June 1993 – See more at:
“Six million people died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses.”- Ingrid Newkirk, founder, president and former national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as quoted in Chip Brown, “She’s A Portrait of Zealotry in Plastic Shoes,” Washington Post, November 13, 1983, p. B10.
“11 million people were killed in concentration camps during the Holocaust. 6 million of those 11 million were Jews. Why were the 6 million singled out? Is Ms. Newkirk comparing broiler chickens to Jewish people?” – Adele Douglass, Executive Director for Humane Farm Animal Care.
“I am not a morose person, but I would rather not be here. I don’t have any reverence for life, only for the entities themselves. I would rather see a blank space where I am. This will sound like fruitcake stuff again but at least I wouldn’t be harming anything.” Ingrid Newkirk, founder, president and former national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), as quoted in Chip Brown, “She’s a Portrait of Zealotry in Plastic Shoes,” Washington Post, November 13, 1983, p. B10.
“A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, Washingtonian Magazine, August 1986
“Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder, president and former national director, Readers Digest, June 1990
“Medical research is “immoral even if it’s essential.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, Washington Post, May 30, 1989
“If my father had a heart attack, it would give me no solace at all to know his treatment was first tried on a dog,” Ingrid Newkirk, founder, president and former national director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PeTA), Washington Post, Nov. 13, 1983.
“Even painless research is fascism, supremacism.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, Washington Magazine, August 1986
“Until your daddy learns that it’s not “fun’ to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He’s so hooked on killing defenseless animals that they could be next!” PETA flyer quoted in the Asbury Park Press, September 23, 2005
See more at: http://www.naiaonline.org/articles/article/quotes-from-the-leaders-of-the-animal-rights-movement#sthash.9kz3pw0C.oYk5SJo5.dpuf
“Most people have no idea that at many animal shelters across the country, any pit bull that comes through the front door doesn’t go out the back door alive. From San Jose to Schenectady, many shelters have enacted policies requiring the automatic destruction of the huge and ever-growing number of ‘pits’ they encounter. This news shocks and outrages the compassionate dog-lover… Here’s another shocker: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the very organization that is trying to get you to denounce the killing of chickens for the table, foxes for fur or frogs for dissection, supports the shelters’ pit-bull policy… People who genuinely care about dogs won’t be affected by a ban on pits.” – Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President.
“I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself… I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.” – Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President
“The animals… got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had. How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!” Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President.
“The extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions, of not billions of Earth-dwelling species, Phasing out the human race will sover every problem on Earth.” – Ingrid Newkirk
PETA AND PETS – Articles and Video
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6c1_1361968754 Penn and Teller telling you the truth about the birdbrain (and dangerous) hypocrites from PETA.
http://protecttheharvest.com/2015/02/13/petas-ingrid-newkirk-order-stealing-killing-pets/ Allegation that PETA is still pets from 15 year former employee.
February 2015: There appears to be a new allegation that could connect PETA’s higher-ups to the tragic stealing and killing of domestic animals. According to an article published Tuesday in the Huffington Post, Heather Harper-Troje, a former PETA employee, alleges that PETA President Ingrid Newkirk authorized her and her fellow employees to steal and kill pets, then falsify records in order to cover their tracks.
This shocking firsthand account is something rarely seen coming out of the animal rights industry. Most employees remain loyal to PETA, even after they’ve left the organization. This could be due to strong conviction in what they are doing, a blind acceptance in the sake of making a living, or any combination of reasons. We never see or hear of dissention from their ranks, and while you have to encounter any major claim against them with at least a smidgen of skepticism, such a bold and rare allegation is deserving of our attention.
Harper-Troje is the wife of a U.S. diplomat at the American embassy in Honduras, and she worked for PETA almost 15 years ago as a field worker.
She claims that her intentions for working with them were good, and she tried to find homes for as many dogs and cats as she could. However, she found that her requests were often disregarded and PETA’s headquarters became a source of something alternatively depressing, where innocent animals were killed under what they referred to as a “last resort”.
She goes into more detail: “What was referred to as the “shelter” was a large, empty storage closet across from our office. The only other holding facility we had was in the warehouse, where the animals were euthanized. And when I did use the room across from my office as a holding area for animals, Ingrid would ask why I hadn’t already euthanized them: one time nailing me to the wall because the litter of puppies I’d placed in there for a night had pooped everywhere; I was told to euthanize the puppies immediately. Needless to say, Ingrid refused our request for a shelter: waste of resources, not the aim of the program, animals beyond hope, same old, same old.”
She also reveals their logic behind stealing pets, and then euthanizing them unmercifully: “If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them . . . It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure . . . If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof there is no trail.”
Another disturbing aspect is the way in which she describes how they dealt with these deaths afterwards: “I know from first-hand experience that the PETA leadership has no problem lying. 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. I was told regularly to say whatever I had to say in order to get people to surrender animals to me: lying was not only acceptable, it was encouraged.”
Heather Harper-Troje was later fired for advocating for neutering programs for dogs in her area, something she says Ingrid Newkirk was not on board with, nor seemed to care much about in regards to the animals’ welfare.
For five years Cooper was a Contributing Editor at New York Magazine, where he wrote and photographed the travel features. His essays and photos have appeared in Rolling Stone, Food & Wine, Travel+Leisure and The New York Times. In 2012, his exposé of PETA’s shelter killing was a finalist for COPA (The Canadian Online Publishing Awards). He won the Lowell Thomas Gold Medal, America’s most prestigious travel writing award, and has been collected in Best American Travel Writing. (This is the second part of Douglas Anthony Cooper’s examination of PETA. The first is “PETA’s Celebs: Naked in the Name of Mass Pet Slaughter.”)
Part I of blog on Huffington Post By Douglas Anthony Cooper, June 2012
(This is the first part of Douglas Anthony Cooper’s examination of PETA. Part two is “Ingrid Newkirk’s Death Wish.” Part three is “The Humane Alternative to PETA’s Pet Slaughter.” Part four is “Katniss Fight: Could Jennifer Lawrence Take Down PETA?” Part five is “Has Bill Maher Been Sucked in by PETA’s Naked Celebrities?” Part six is “PETA: Fighting For its Right to Kill“. Part seven is “Why is PETA Opposing No-Kill Animal Shelters?“)
A celebrity is at her most vulnerable when naked. This is when she is least likely to make sensible decisions. Often she is chilly and nervous. Hence, it is while naked that a famous person — who genuinely loves animals — finds herself shilling for people who are genuinely committed to slaughtering them.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) gathers up these A-list nudists like so many unwanted dogs. The difference between celebrities and dogs, however, is that PETA doesn’t butcher celebrities.
Nobody does the euthanasia thing quite like PETA, Ingrid Newkirk’s vaunted animal-rights organization. After long being dismissed as an outrageous slander — just another right-wing slur — this gruesome truth has finally gained traction in the mainstream press: PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk has the highest kill rate in the nation. A rescued pet has the same chances of surviving PETA’s sanctuary as it does of receiving genuine love and affection from Michael Vick.
This isn’t my opinion: It is a legally documented fact. In 2011, PETA killed 97 per cent of the animals delivered into its care.
Forget the right-wing blogosphere — this sorry business has now been covered at length by The San Francisco Chronicle and The Atlantic, among dozens of other respectable publications. It is not libel. People are routinely threatened by PETA’s lawyers, but nobody has been sued for repeating this. For good reason: PETA would have a very bad day in court. It would do tremendous damage to their cause — which is, above all, to appear both hip and compassionate.
You would rather go naked than wear fur? That’s admirable. Can I interest you in posing for another slogan? “I would rather jump naked into an industrial meat grinder than lend credibility to Ingrid Newkirk’s death cult.”
This will be the first poster campaign for PEENC: People for the Ethical Exploitation of Naked Celebrities. Pronounced “pink.” It will feature you, naked. Also Ingrid Newkirk, standing smugly beside a pit filled with 27,751 PETA-euthanized puppies and kittens and bunnies.
Nice people should not be taking off their clothes in the cause of euthanasia. Fame and prettiness are potent gifts, and should be flashed wisely. Nice people should not be convincing equally nice people to give their money to an outfit that kills pets, indiscriminately, at a rate that would shock seal hunters.
PETA no longer disputes the figures, by the way. Yes, almost every animal they take in is slaughtered, efficiently and quickly, by PETA employees.
But they are deeply hurt — “floored,” in fact — that you question the depth of their compassion: PETA refers adoptable animals to the high-traffic open-admission shelters rather than taking them in ourselves, thereby giving them a better chance of being seen and re-homed. As for the “no-kill” shelters, their figures are great because they slam the door on the worst cases, referring them, in fact, to PETA. We operate a “shelter of last resort,” meaning that when impoverished families cannot afford to pay a veterinarian to let a suffering and/or aged animal leave this world, PETA will help, free of charge. When an aggressive, unsocialized dog has been left starving at the end of a chain, with a collar grown into his neck, his body racked with mange, PETA will accept him and put him down so that he does not die slowly out there.
That’s sweet. Adoptable animals are referred elsewhere to be re-homed. And those evil no-kill shelters reject the most wretched cases; they deliver them willingly unto the angels at PETA. This really is quite touching. And, demonstrably, a complete lie: In 2005, two PETA employees described as ‘adorable’ and ‘perfect’ some of the dogs and cats they killed in the back of a PETA-owned van. The two were arrested after police witnessed them tossing the animals’ dead bodies into a North Carolina dumpster.
That’s from the employees. This from the man who placed three of those animals into PETA’s care, veterinarian Patrick Proctor: “They came to the office last Wednesday and picked up the cat and two kittens…. They were just kittens we were trying to find homes for. PETA said they would do that…. So imagine my surprise when I learned they allegedly dumped dead animals in a trash bin later that same day.” He said the animals “were in good health and were very adoptable, especially the kittens.” Proctor was asked to examine one of the dead animals taken from the PETA crime scene. “The animal that I found was a very healthy six-month puppy that had been killed that day,” he told TV station WNCT Channel 9. “It was a six-month-old lab mix and appeared to be in very, very good shape… and he had received some type of injection in his front right leg,” he said. “PETA will never pick up another animal from my practice.”
“The shelter of last resort” is an interesting euphemism for Death. PETA “accepts” those piteous creatures? Death is accommodating that way: It famously accepts all.
As for actual shelters knowingly giving their creatures over to Ingrid to be euthanized: appalled by the corpse-dumping scandal, two counties in North Carolina that had “animal collection agreements with PETA” — Northampton and Bertie — summarily terminated their relationship.
Now let’s address the standard PETA slander regarding no-kill shelters: sorry, but they do not attain this status by simply turning away the most sickly. Some organizations are selective, yes, but the No Kill movement is overwhelmingly headed in the direction of open-admission shelters. They define “no-kill” as a euthanasia rate of not more than 10 per cent. No Kill Communities offers a list of organizations that have achieved this status: “More and more shelters are managing to be both open-admission and no-kill, which is a revolution in animal sheltering.” Study that quotation. And contrast it with Ingrid Newkirk’s approach.
PETA’s angels of mercy have another favorite slander: They tend to dismiss open-admission shelters with low kill rates as “hoarders.” Which means that to achieve these statistics, these outfits have to take in far too many animals, and keep them alive under appalling conditions.
Let’s see. The Amelia County Animal Shelter in Virginia is open-admission, and managed an 87 per cent release rate in 2011 (as opposed to PETA’s 97 per cent slaughter). They’ve almost achieved no-kill. Must be a horrible place, right? “The shelter had a surprise inspection by the Virginia state veterinarian’s office last July, and received the highest possible rating — 100 per cent — on the inspection.”
If you’d like to know the official No Kill position on PETA, read Nathan J. Winograd, their most prominent spokesman. He is a Stanford-educated lawyer, and a strict vegan. Winograd used to do volunteer work for PETA, in fact. That was a long time ago. I assure you, no organization currently allied with this man would ever consider delivering the wretched unto Ingrid. He’s written at great length about the woman, in an essay entitled, “The Butcher of Norfolk.”
It is important to stress that most of the people who hate PETA are pretty unsavory themselves. They are trophy hunters, or perhaps just indifferent to animal suffering, or Ayn Randian libertarians opposed to welfare activism of any flavor. The most vocal tend to be associated with the Center for Consumer Freedom, Richard Berman’s organization, which is a transparent front for — amongst others — the meat lobby and the tobacco industry. Lots of these parties have good reason to go after PETA, and I assure you it has nothing to do with improving the lives of innocent creatures.
Hence, many of the critics — perhaps the great majority — are no better than PETA, and many of them are even worse. “Consumer choice” is hardly a convincing argument for causing animals unimaginable misery. No question: Some of the ugliest facts about PETA have been dug up by Berman and his sponsors, as part of their own publicity war against Newkirk.
The facts themselves, however, are meticulously supported by evidence, and irrefutable. The CCF’s discovery, for instance, that PETA has euthanized 27,751 animals since 1998, comes from records kept by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You don’t have to get in bed with the CCF simply because you quote the same information: A truth is a truth, whether it’s uttered by St. Francis of Assisi or Vlad the Impaler.
Luckily, the Center for Consumer Freedom is only one source among many, and finally unnecessary. Nathan Winograd, hardly a shill for the meat industry — he’s written a vegan cookbook — has done a superb job of documenting PETA’s crimes. Full disclosure: I’m nowhere near as saintly as this guy. I’m not even a vegetarian; and if I were intellectually consistent, I probably would be. Nevertheless, I am deeply involved in ending the slaughter of the Galgos (the Spanish Greyhounds), and my sympathies are very much with Winograd. I am in no way connected to the Center for Consumer Freedom, and I suspect they wouldn’t like me very much.
I am, in case you can’t tell, seriously impressed by Mr. Winograd. He is not a blinkered ideologue, and the “No Kill” movement, despite the name, is not a PETA-like army of extremists. They tend to be fierce animal partisans, but they’re not a glassy-eyed cult. Winograd himself supports euthanasia in certain circumstances his reasoning here is careful, sane, and compassionate.
This is a pretty obvious dichotomy. On the one side you have people who shelter rescued animals; on the other you have people who butcher them. Yet the No Kill network’s budget, relative to PETA’s, is minuscule. The same kind of donors — sincere animal lovers — are attracted to both groups, but they find PETA much more seductive.
The reason is clear: It’s a clever mix of dishonesty, fame, and cleavage. So. Please. Speak to PEENC before you take off your clothes. Ingrid Newkirk may be the world’s most effective name-dropper, but that doesn’t mean you want anything to do with her, or her death cult.
To be fair, Newkirk insists that she doesn’t pretend to run a shelter; you should not expect her to shelter animals with your money. Fine. But should you expect this?
Dave Shishkoff of the Friends of Animals pressure group claimed that he saw perfectly-healthy looking puppies and kittens killed at PETA when he worked there as an intern in 1991.
“Peta has a perverse definition of euthanasia — one that apparently demands that any animal with the slightest discomfort ought to be killed,” he said.
“The vast majority of the animals PETA kills are far from terminal or suffering from incurable conditions. PETA claims to have a $30 million annual budget, yet cannot find home for about 2,000 cats and dogs each year. Not with $30 million dollars, or millions of members and huge lists of email addresses.
“Literally an armful of cats and dogs somehow survive PETA’s ‘rescues’ each year.”
Yes, euthanasia is sometimes necessary. But it is a necessary evil. It is heartbreaking. It is the last resort, and should severely distress animal lovers forced to that extreme.
It sure doesn’t seem to distress Ingrid. When she put in time in a “shelter” in the 70s, she relates, “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.”
And she’s put together quite the little euth group. Nobody knows how many pets Ingrid’s troops have killed, but we do know that between 1998 and 2005, the number officially admitted to on PETA’s paperwork was 17,806. Those were the good old days, when PETA’s kill rate was only 90 per cent. Now that they’ve achieved 97 per cent mortality, I expect the numbers are truly heartwarming.
(The figure of 27,751 documented by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services represents a low minimum: I doubt we have an accurate accounting of those midnight body disposals, for instance.)
PETA noted on their 2002 federal income tax return that they used donors’ money — $9,370 of it — to purchase a massive walk-in freezer. Okay, when you put this many animals to death, you do in fact want a meat locker. No argument there. The freezer is certainly preferable to their earlier habit of surreptitiously depositing their animal corpses in commercial dumpsters. But why do you have a freezer in Norfolk, with all of that money, and not a single shelter? Not a single veterinary clinic?
Surely any decent organization that takes in millions of dollars in the name of making this world less vile for animals would want to concentrate personally on rescue, sanctuary, and medical care. Especially in a state where that kind of money is truly needed, and could do wondrous things for the local animal populace.
PETA is involved — to their credit — in spay and neuter programs, and their international publicity stunts, although often ditzy and wrongheaded, can do some good. But when it comes to personally dealing with animals (as opposed to celebrities and the public), the PETA folk have decided to focus their efforts on one thing. And it’s an odd choice for people who profess to adore these creatures. PETA has decided that their hands-on area of specialization, compassion-wise, is righteous slaughter.
Former director of Norfolk’s SPCA, Dana Cheek, wrote, “I often receive phone calls from frantic people who have surrendered their pets to PETA with the understanding that PETA will ‘find them a good home.’… Little do they know that the pets are killed in the PETA van before they even pull away from the pet owner’s home.”
I’ve been glib in my dismissal of celebrities deceived by PETA. It is not their fault. Almost all of them are, I’m convinced, well-motivated; some of them are very bright people. A woman like Natalie Portman could do a lot of good for a cause like PEENC: she’s highly educated, and eloquent, and clearly a decent soul. People for the Ethical Exploitation of Naked Celebrities needs her.
Natalie, if you’re listening: tell Olivia Munn to put her clothes on. George? Clooney, you there? You seem like a smart guy: convince your girlfriend to cover up. If they have to bare their souls for a cause, have them contact the No Kill Advocacy Center, or Best Friends, or (in Europe) Scooby Medina, or any number of organizations bent on rescuing and sheltering animals.
Otherwise, sorry Natalie, but they — and you — support this: A former PETA employee spoke of one particular incident that burned into her mind forever: A teary-eyed man showed up at PETA headquarters one day with his beloved pet rabbit. The man had grown old and sick and was no longer able to care properly for his friend. He supplied a cage, bed, toys, and even vet records for this pet. He was assured by PETA workers that they would take “good care” of his rabbit and find him a home. The man left distraught but no doubt believing that his friend would be able to live out the rest of his life in a loving, compassionate home… PETA workers carried him to the ‘death house’ immediately and ended his life.
PETA will pretend to be floored by this article. We’ll see a lawyer’s letter, probably within hours. They will demand equal time in this publication. This is one of their most successful publicity stunts: They extort free editorial space.
PETA’s smiling Senior Vice President of Communications, clutching a conspicuously uneuthanized puppy, will talk to Atlantic readers about how it’s just broken their hearts that such bad things have been said about them. Or Daphna Nachminovitch, the vice president of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department, will explain to Huffington Post readers that the report on PETA’s euth addiction is “rife with inaccuracies.” Again, we’ll hear something like this: Each animal, each “number,” has a story, often a devastating one. We invite everyone to visit www.PETA.org and read about just some of them: Pokey, DJ, Trixie, Pepper, Sasha, Diamond, Tupac, Zoo, Asia, Sheba, Holly, Big Girl, Santana, Rikus, and so many more — including some whose guardians never even bothered to name them but who suffered just the same.
Every single number. Quite right. That’s 27,751 stories. Enough to keep a Vice President of Cruelty telling stories for a long, long time.
When I read PETA’s response here, the name and title rang a bell: Daphna Nachminovitch, VP. Funny. So I went back to the documents. Ingrid Newkirk personally signs off on a vast number of euthanasias in those papers kept by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Real hands-on type, that Ingrid.) But the report dated January 29, 2009 — listing 584 slaughtered dogs, 1589 butchered cats, and 294 “other companion animals” summarily executed by PETA for the crime of being alive — that report is signed by one Daphna Nachminovitch: “Vice President, Cruelty Investigations.”
The next year, in a report dated February 15, 2010, this same Daphna Nachminovitch personally signed off on 681 exterminated dogs, 1620 liquidated cats, and 51 more exotic corpses. Oh, and the previous year, on March 5, 2008, there’s that same vice president, and similar numbers (although it was a particularly bad year for living kittens).
These numbers represent individual creatures, we’re told, each with a story. Some with a name. You wouldn’t know that from these documents. But hey: at least we get a collective body count for the species, the year of death, and an official signature.
Daphna? You want to earn your title? You want to be a real live, responsible, totally adult investigator of human viciousness, with full vice-presidential gravitas? Here you go: This is what’s called a “mirror.”
I too have a title. I just gave it to myself. I’m the “PEENC Subcommander for the Ruthless Exposure of PETA’s Freezer Contents.” My official position requires me to respond rigorously to in-coming propaganda from butchers. You can have your equal time, Daphna, and I’ll take your teary, compassionate fiction to pieces, lie by lie.
By the way, that’s me posing with the PEENC mascot: Pixel, our beloved Italian Greyhound. And let me assure you, if Pixel were ever to fall into the merciful claws of PETA, the Dear Leader and her official Vice Ghouls would quickly find out the meaning of the word “euthanasia.”
Part II of blog on Huffington Post By Douglas Anthony Cooper, June 2012
How does a saint become a butcher?
I am convinced that Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA (“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”) was once a good person. What happened?
The story of Newkirk’s moral awakening — outrage in response to betrayal — is genuinely affecting. In 1972, when she was a young stockbroker in Maryland, Newkirk rescued a group of abandoned kittens and brought them to an animal shelter. The shelter workers told her plainly that the kittens would be “put down,” but she had been born in England and raised mostly in India, so she misunderstood the expression: She thought that the cats would be put up for adoption; when she asked some minutes later to see them, presumably settled in their cages, she was shocked to hear they had all been immediately euthanized.
It was a shock that derailed her. It set her on an entirely different path: She left the sphere of commerce and committed herself to animal rights. The former stockbroker went on to found PETA, which became by far the most successful animal advocacy group in secular history.
And then something vicious took hold of her soul.
PETA, for reasons near impossible to comprehend, decided to devote itself to precisely the treachery that inspired Newkirk’s mission in the first place. Her organization now routinely takes in animals, with the gentle lie that it intends to re-home them. It then exterminates them. Generally, within twenty-four hours. All of them. Correction: almost all. Some lucky 3 percent managed to escape PETA’s euthanasia machine last year. How these blessed few got chosen is an interesting question in itself. While we are being precise: the workers at that first shelter were not in fact treacherous — they did not lie about their intentions. They were less vicious than the organization that Newkirk founded in response to their blithe slaughter.
Consider this grotesque moral path. It really is difficult to come up with a more perverse character arc. Imagine Harriet Tubman deciding late in life to become a slave trader. Or Raoul Wallenberg collaborating with the SS. Or St. Francis of Assisi joining the butchers’ guild.
Those first two are, by the way, irresponsible metaphors, and PETA’s favorites. Newkirk’s group likes to conflate cruelty to animals with the American slave trade and the Holocaust: an obscene equation, even for those — like me — who consider the plight of animals a crucial issue. My intention here is not to suggest that equivalence, but to examine a psychological paradigm. How can a person turn so utterly against themselves? How can they actively devote their lives to undermining the cause that matters to them most — a cause that they still profess to embrace with a passion?
The very last person on earth who ought to be responsible for the butchery of 27,561 innocent pets is Ingrid Newkirk. And yet she is.
Even less probable is PETA’s habit of concealing its intentions from rescuers: willfully recreating the monstrous circumstance that radicalized Newkirk.
The following anecdote from my last article cannot be repeated often enough — it has in fact reoriented more than a few people who used to be fierce PETA advocates:
A former PETA employee spoke of one particular incident that burned into her mind forever: A teary-eyed man showed up at PETA headquarters one day with his beloved pet rabbit. The man had grown old and sick and was no longer able to care properly for his friend. He supplied a cage, bed, toys, and even vet records for this pet. He was assured by PETA workers that they would take ‘good care’ of his rabbit and find him a home. The man left distraught but no doubt believing that his friend would be able to live out the rest of his life in a loving, compassionate home… PETA workers carried him to the ‘death house’ immediately and ended his life.
This was not an isolated incident: as I have documented, it is the way that PETA operated, and still does.
How does this happen? The closest analogy I can think of is Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Not the Che from Albert Korda’s iconic and ubiquitous photograph — the guerilla with a beret gazing ominously towards the horizon from t-shirts — but the young medical student in The Motorcycle Diaries: a sincere humanist, whose encounters with the dispossessed moved him to become an almost saintly advocate for the poor. I am convinced that Ernesto Guevara was, like the young Newkirk, a truly decent soul.
And then something happened. The Che that was assassinated in 1967 is still lionized by people who have chosen to maintain a comfortable distance from the historical details, but the older Guevara is not admirable. This is not an ideological observation. Whether regarded from the left or the right, Che was a murderer.
He was among the 82 guerillas who invaded Cuba with Fidel Castro in 1956. Fulgencio Batista’s soldiers decimated them, and the myth is that in the retreat from the slaughter, Che had to make a rapid decision between carrying a medical kit, or ammunition for his rifle. He chose bullets.
And then he began to execute people. The first was Eutimio Guerra, a peasant comrade who had betrayed their position to the enemy. In his journal, Che wrote about the experience of killing him: The situation was uncomfortable for the people and for [Eutimio], so I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 [-caliber] pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal [lobe].
This banal scientific description reads like a sociopathic parody of a medical report: discomfort is remedied by a surgically targeted bullet to the brain.
After Batista fell, Che was appointed Castro’s “Supreme Prosecutor.” We do not know how many people he killed. One hundred and five murders are well-documented, most of them enemy prisoners at La Cabaña Fortress, who were denied due process: a war crime. The number summarily eliminated on Che’s orders may be five times as high.
He is quoted as having said, “If Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.” We can ignore the perversity of a Marxist leader invoking Nietzsche, and simply dwell on the sheer viciousness of the sentiment here. Somehow a quasi-saint became a war criminal. We can only hypothesize regarding this process, but I suggest that these once-compassionate leaders go through a critical transformation when they achieve power: they conclude that their chief attribute — mercy — has in effect turned them into a kind of deity. It is a distorted syllogism: I am merciful. God is merciful. Therefore I am a god.
Would Che literally have called himself a god? As a Marxist, probably not. But he did not hesitate to announce that he was prepared to commit deicide. When Ingrid Newkirk found herself with god-like power over animals — the power of life or death — it was clearly a revelation. And she chose death.
Another quotation bears repeating, again and again. This is Newkirk describing her experience working at a supposed shelter in the 70s. It is disturbingly similar in its detached tone to Che’s description of his first execution. It is also strikingly similar in reasoning: the remedy for discomfort is slaughter. “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.”
Yes, that is the same woman who was awoken to the vulnerability of innocent creatures by an encounter with euthanasia. It beggars belief.
PETA’s literature now describes euthanasia in terms that can only be considered pornographic: “For (the dog) Pepper, euthanasia was a sweet release from the painful existence that she’d endured for so long.”
This is not a new metaphor: orgasm has long been referred to as “le petit mort” — the little death. Rarely do you see the analogy reversed in this manner, however: death of the innocent described as a little orgasm.
The psychology here is thoroughly pathological. No question. It is a sickness of the soul. Particularly disturbing, however, is that the reasoning behind this cult of euthanasia is thoroughly sound.
If your goal in this world is to prevent suffering, then one perfectly rational solution — perhaps the only rational solution — is to end life. Death makes sense. It is the termination of pain. This is very much the PETA argument: life is suffering; hence death is good.
Ingrid Newkirk demonstrates a chilling consistency here. Yes, she feels the same way about humans — their eradication would be an improvement to the universe: “Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.”
She is no less consistent when she discusses Ingrid Newkirk — her horror of humanity extends to herself: “I am not a morose person, but I would rather not be here. I don’t have any reverence for life, only for the entities themselves. I would rather see a blank space where I am. This will sound like fruitcake stuff again but at least I wouldn’t be harming anything.”
This is not the reasoning of a fruitcake. Many PETA supporters are a bit on the loopy side, but those are the ones I tend to like: they can be silly in their methods, but most of them have allied themselves with the organization because they have bought into the lie that it cares for the helpless. These people are not always stupid — some are surprisingly thoughtful — but they are horribly misinformed.
Ingrid Newkirk, on the other hand, is neither stupid nor misinformed. Here in particular she is utterly rational. Her argument is irrefutable: End life, and you end suffering. Kill all animals, and no animals will suffer. Kill all humans, and humans will cease to cause animals to suffer. We have heard this argument before. It is, in fact, the essence of Stalinism: “Death solves all problems — no man, no problem.”
Our species was never in danger of eradication by Stalin. He was happy to kill millions, but he did not indicate a wish to extinguish the human race. Domestic animals however — should Ingrid prove successful — will not be so lucky. PETA’s stated goal, in the elimination of animal cruelty, is a “No-Birth” nation. Of all PETA’s euphemisms, this is perhaps the most disturbing.
A No-Birth nation means a zero birth rate. Contrary to popular belief, “zero birth rate” does not imply population stasis, where the number of births is equal to the number of deaths. That would be “zero RNI” (Rate of Natural Increase).
A zero birth rate means extinction.
“I don’t have any reverence for life, only for the entities themselves.”
Newkirk’s assertion here bears close examination, given her astonishing disregard for individuals qua individuals. You can butcher a man’s pet rabbit only if you abstract entirely from THAT man’s love for THAT man’s creature. He is simply one out of billions of humans, and his pet merely one out of billions of rabbits: hence insignificant.
Recall Stalin’s other notorious pronouncement: “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” The way for a mass murderer to deny the tragic nature of each extinguished soul is to place it in a statistical context. Which is to say: you must deny the individuality of the entity that you are killing. You must see him or her as simply an instance of the species, a dot on a near-infinite diagram. Crucially: you must withhold love.
Say what you like, Ingrid, but your reverence for entities is suspect. Your ability to distance yourself from the animal that you are killing suggests that for Ingrid Newkirk, there are no individual creatures. No entities. Simply a species, which would be better off extinct.
If extinction requires a little help from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, they are more than happy to oblige. “In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether,” said Ingrid Newkirk to Newsday in 1988. She did not make it entirely clear that by “stopping” she intended mass murder. I recognize that my own language here is arguably hypocritical and inaccurate. I have said that I deplore Newkirk’s invocation of slavery and the Holocaust, yet I am happy to compare her to Stalin. When I use the words “mass murder” to describe PETA’s approach to animals, surely this is a category error, and a serious one.
I have my reasons. We shall see whether they are any good.
What matters is this: Ingrid Newkirk is a mass murderer according to Ingrid Newkirk. Consider her most famous quotation: “There’s no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.
If humans have no special rights, then a dog’s right not to be killed is precisely the same as a boy’s: unalienable. Euthanasia — the Newkirk version, which includes the extermination of healthy pets — is the same as murder. This so-called “euthanasia,” on the scale routinely practiced by PETA, is mass murder.
I do not happen to buy into this reasoning, but Ingrid does. PETA’s death toll (27,521) is not in the same league as Stalin’s or Mao’s — that is a very select club — but it puts her in the range of numerous minor Stalinists and Maoists. In fact, if you accept her equation of dogs and humans, she is responsible for almost the same number of murders as one of the most gruesome Maoist cults: the Shining Path in Peru.
Hence, my characterization of Ingrid Newkirk’s personal career arc — from saint to mass murderer — is simply a matter of taking her ideas seriously.
And I do take one idea very seriously: the insistence upon extinction as the end of suffering. I am sincere when I say that this is a good argument; from the strict standpoint of logic, it is perfect.
What then are we to do, as rational, moral actors? If extinction makes sense — if it makes perfect sense — then how are we supposed to proceed as human beings? Why should we not simply acquiesce, and join PETA in willing the death of all animals, including homo sapiens?
The answer is complicated. The answer is not to refute this. You cannot. The answer is simply to refuse it.
Do not embrace it. Suffering is perhaps the worst thing imaginable, but it is not the worst thing. The end of suffering, if it requires death, is not a virtuous goal. It is nihilism. And it is evil. Christians know this. I am not a Christian, and I am not religious — but you would have to be a fool to reject the wisdom offered by Augustine and Aquinas. In traditional Christian theology, evil is not in fact suffering, but non-being. The further you get from the divine in the Great Chain of Being, the closer you get to nothingness.
Buddhists know this. It is a core tenet of their faith: the first of the Four Noble Truths. Buddhists recognize — like Stalin and Newkirk — that life is a problem: it is characterized, fundamentally, by suffering. The Buddhist response, however, is precisely the opposite of Newkirk’s: Despite the impossibility of ending this suffering, you vow paradoxically to do just that. And, crucially, you vow to do this within life. A Buddhist saint, a Bodhisattva, vows to return to earth — to life — in order to continue this quixotic task.
Yes, it is less coldly rational than Newkirk with her freezer, or Stalin with his gulag. The Bodhisattva Vow is arguably the height of unreason: “Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them all.”
Notice that the vow is not to kill them all — which it would be, if that were what the Buddha had meant by salvation. Perhaps nobody this side of enlightenment truly understands what he meant — certainly, what I do not know about Buddhism could fill many libraries, and in fact has. I will insist, however, that we have empirical proof that the Buddhist end to suffering is not the extinction promoted by Newkirk. Either that, or millennia of Buddhists have managed to get it wrong: Of all the world religions, Buddhism is by far the least murderous.
So: “I vow to save them all” is, somehow, the vow to do the highest good to every individual, within life. It is the sober recognition of an absurd task. It is precisely the kind of reasoning that Kierkegaard advocated in his leap of faith (which is untraditional Christian theology). Death is logical; goodness, finally, is not.
I suggest that it is time to erase the word “good” from any description of PETA’s behavior. Again: every one of the thousands of executions at PETA headquarters is termed “euthanasia,” even if the animal is perfectly healthy. “Euthanasia” is from the Greek: “eu” (good) plus “thanatos” (death). PETA workers like to shorten this term: they talk about performing a “euth.” Which is telling: You emphasize the “good” part, and all but erase the “death.”
A first step in putting Newkirk’s debased organization to sleep — which will in fact be euthanasia, properly speaking — is to recognize that in PETAspeak the word “good” is the special, totalitarian variant. (The superlative form is “doubleplusgood.”) It is at best meaningless. If it has content, then it is a saccharine lie.
The animal rights group at peace with slaughter can be said to have many interesting attributes, but goodness is not one of them.
PETA Euthanized a Lot Of Animals At Its Shelter In 2014, And No-Kill Advocates Are Not Happy About It
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals killed most of the animals at its Norfolk, Virginia, shelter in 2014, according to preliminary figures filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The group euthanized 2,454 of its 3,369 cats, dogs and other animals, the vast majority of which were “owner surrenders,” meaning that they’d been relinquished to the group voluntarily. Just 23 dogs and 16 cats were adopted.
These figures aren’t shocking to PETA’s long-time critics — who have for years pointed out the discrepancy between how this prominent animal rights group is perceived, and what they actually do — but they are leading to a renewed call from no-kill advocates to put the shelter out of business.
Here’s how long-time PETA critic Nathan Winograd, a well-known shelter reform advocate, recently put it on his Facebook page: How much money did PETA take in last year from unsuspecting donors who helped pay for this mass carnage? $51,933,001: $50,449,023 in contributions, $627,336 in merchandise sales, and $856,642 in interest and dividends. They finished the year with $4,551,786 more in the bank than they started, after expenses. They did not see fit to use some of that to comprehensively promote animals for adoption or to provide veterinary care for the animals who needed it.
By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society, also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA but saved 94% and without PETA’s millions. Seagoville Animal Services in Texas took in 1/3 of the numbers (about 700 animals) but only 1/20th of 1% of the amount of money that PETA did, saving 99% of them on a paltry $29,700 budget. In fact, hundreds of cities and towns across America are saving over 90% of the animals and doing so on a fraction of PETA’s wealth.
VDACS collects and publishes information about how many animals are taken in and what becomes of them, for every public and private shelter, humane society, pound and other sort of animal rescue group in the state. Indeed, as can be seen in this chart, Virginia as a whole has far lower euthanasia rates. And while PETA says it must euthanize animals because it’s an “open-admissions” shelter — meaning that it will accept any animal brought to it — other such Virginia shelters, like the Lynchburg Humane Society, present far differently:
The initial figures for PETA’s 2014 numbers were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Winograd, a leader in the “no-kill” movement, which aims to reduce (or, even better, eliminate) the number of shelter animals that are put down every year. VDACS spokeswoman Elaine Lidholm told The Huffington Post the figures may be amended before the final report is published online. The numbers, however, are in line with those from previous years — numbers that have earned the high-profile animal rights group a significant amount of criticism.
When reached for comment, a PETA representative did not take issue with the numbers — in fact, a PETA press release touted the group having provided “free euthanasia services for 2,454 dogs, cats, and other animals in just one area of the United States” — but directed HuffPost to this video.
“Please know that everything you need is in the video. The video is our statement,” the rep added, in response to another interview request — having wanted to find out, among other things, how the group selects which animals will be euthanized, if the surrendering owners are made aware of their pets’ likely fate and why the group doesn’t open a dedicated low-cost euthanasia clinic in place of (or in addition to) its shelter.
The video touts PETA’s low and no-cost spay/neuter programs and other veterinary services, as well as its provision of dog houses and supplies for outdoor animals. It then ends with a defense of euthanasia by Amanda Kyle, a fieldworker from PETA’s Community Animal Project.
“It breaks my heart, but I know that euthanasia is a necessary part of alleviating suffering and dealing with the horrors created by irresponsible and careless people,” she says. “In many cases, it’s the best anyone can do for a particular animal.” It’s a statement that’s in line with a blog post by PETA president Ingrid Newkirk called “Why We Euthanize,” in which she states: It’s easy to point the finger at those who are forced to do the “dirty work” caused by a throwaway society’s casual acquisition and breeding of dogs and cats who end up homeless and unwanted, but at PETA, we will never turn our backs on neglected, unloved, and homeless animals — even if the best we can offer them is a painless release from a world that doesn’t have enough heart or homes with room for them.
Winograd isn’t buying that euthanasia is the only, or even the best, option for many of these animals, however. “Surely PETA can do better than a 1 percent adoption rate, especially given their national media reach and enormous resources,” he says. “What PETA is doing to dogs and cats is wrong not just in and of itself, but it is self-defeating to larger goals PETA claims it has to promote veganism and other animal rights issues.”
There’s hope the Virginia legislature may also think the shelter’s animals deserve better.
On Wednesday, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that defines a “private animal shelter” — like the one that PETA operates — as “a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals.” Private animal shelters are now defined under Virginia law as “a facility that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned or operated by an incorporated, nonprofit, and nongovernmental entity, including a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other organization operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals.”
Lidholm says it is “premature at this stage to speculate how the passage of SB 1381 would impact the operation of private animal shelters.” But supporters say this change is important because if PETA’s shelter isn’t operating in accordance with the new definition, it might lose its status as a shelter — and, thus, its access to euthanasia drugs.
“The current wording of the definition has been interpreted to create a loophole under which the PETA facility in Norfolk operates as a private animal shelter but without the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals,” Tabitha Frizzell Hanes, of the Richmond SPCA, writes on the shelter’s blog. “Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent.
“It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes but almost entirely to take their lives.”
Companion legislation in the House hasn’t yet been introduced, but Debra Griggs, with No Kill Hampton Roads, says her group has lined up a sponsor. However, sponsorship, she says, won’t end the fight: “I’m not pessimistic, but I think it will take some work on advocates’ part to pass.”
There are other approaches now underway, as well. Winograd’s group, The No Kill Advocacy Center, has petitioned VDACS to revoke the PETA facility’s “shelter” status even without the change in definition. To this, he hasn’t yet received a response.
He’s also asked the state to issue regulations requiring shelters to disclose more information about their operations. A public comment period for that begins on Feb. 23, and according to Virginia’s “Regulatory Town Hall” website, the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services is scheduled to consider the request at its next board meeting on March 19.
“This time next year, I would love to see figures showing PETA did not kill any animals because they are no longer allowed to. Ideally, I would like to see a PETA that is true to its mission,” says Winograd. “As to the public, they do not have to believe me and they shouldn’t believe PETA. They owe the animals to look at the evidence, weigh it for themselves, and ask themselves if it is keeping with the vision for animals they wish to see.”
PETA’s 2014 report has now been published on the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. The final numbers are not very different from those in the earlier report: 1606 cats were taken in in 2014, of which 1536 were euthanized; 1025 dogs were taken in, of which 788 were euthanized. Just 16 cats and 23 dogs were adopted, while forty-three cats and 209 dogs were sent from the PETA shelter to other shelters and rescue groups.
SB 1381 has passed Virginia’s House of Delegates, in a slightly amended form. A lobbyist hired by PETA to advocate against the bill has said that the passage could force PETA’s shelter to close.
Others say it’s not yet clear what the effect of the law will be, according to the newspaper Hampton Roads: Robin Robertson Starr, CEO of the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, sent lawmakers an email in response to Haner’s, saying the bill would not prevent PETA from meeting the definition of a private animal shelter “so long as PETA were willing to make some effort to adopt out the animals in its facility.”
If PETA is willing to do that, there should be no reason for the group to oppose the bill, she wrote.
But Sharon Q. Adams of Virginia Beach, chairwoman of the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters, said she’s opposed to the bill because it’s unclear how it would be interpreted. “We don’t know,” she said.
Read the preliminary 2014 PETA shelter report filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services here.
Here’s the video and press release to which PETA directed The Huffington Post.
Groups call on PETA to reduce high euthanasia rate
PETA contends it’s offering humane option for animals turned away by no-kill shelters
Aug 22, 2013, By Julie Scheidegger, DVM360 MAGAZINE
The American Kennel Club (AKC) issued a statement this summer expressing “vehement disapproval” of the euthanasia policy at the shelter run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Norfolk, Va. Joined by the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), the AKC called for PETA to take steps to balance its adoption and euthanasia rates.
“While most shelters strive for a 90% re-homing rate, PETA is apparently proud of their 99% killing rate and callously boasts that the animals it rescues are ‘better off dead.’ That is an alarming ratio that should be fully investigated. PETA’s track record is absolutely unacceptable,” AKC Chairman Alan Kalter says in a release.
PETA does not dispute the high euthanasia rate at the shelter. However, Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice-president of the Cruelty Investigations Department, says it should be put into context. “The numbers don’t tell the story,” Nachminovitch says. She says the shelter takes in animals turned away from other shelters—animals that are considered unadoptable by “no kill” shelters because of medical condition or temperament. She says the shelter also provides euthanasia to pet owners who can’t afford it. “It’s a service to end suffering.”
According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), of the 1,110 cats brought to PETA’s Norfolk shelter in 2012, 94 percent were euthanized. Of the 733 dogs brought to the shelter, 82 percent were euthanized. In total, 1,675 animals were euthanized at the shelter in 2012—approximately 89 percent.
“While it is true that some animals at shelters are too physically injured or psychologically scarred to be adoptable, many of them can be successfully treated, rehabilitated and adopted,” VVMA President Mark Finkler, DVM, says. “Veterinarians throughout Virginia work with numerous shelters and rescue groups to assist in the care of these dogs and cats.”
Finkler says he was surprised at PETA’s low adoption rate. In 2012, only eight cats and 12 dogs were adopted from the Norfolk shelter. But Nachminovitch says the Norfolk shelter keeps a very low number of adoptable dogs on site. “The vast majority of adoptable animals are transferred—dozens and dozens—to Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) so they can have a chance at adoption.” Others are placed in foster homes.
VDACS records say the Norfolk shelter transferred 2 percent of cats and 15 percent of dogs to the Virginia Beach Society SPCA in 2012. PETA does not agree with the “no kill” shelter standard believing it attributes to low quality of life for animals and that it does not address what the organization sees as the real problem—over population.
“I realize there are not enough homes for all unwanted dogs and cats—not all are adoptable—so we will never get out of euthanasia,” Finkler says. However, he says it’s not the job of the SPCA or other humane organizations to carry it out. “It’s a function of the municipalities, the Animal Control Department. Here in Virginia, and the trend across the United States is that more humane societies are going to ‘no kill.’ They’re letting municipalities go to the dark side.”
Nachminovitch says she understands people are upset by euthanasia, but she says the key to decreasing euthanasia is prevention—“not buying from pet shops and breeders while others are dying at shelters.” She says PETA’s three mobile clinics in the Norfolk area have provided no cost or low-cost spay and neuter services to 95,000 animals since 2001. “No one wants to have to euthanize animals,” she says. However, “We take our duties very, very seriously.”
Finkler, who served as a board member with his local SPCA, says, “The bottom line is, there is a genuine need for humane euthanasia, but that falls under the duties of the cities and counties, at least in Virginia. We got out of the ‘killing business.’ That was not our mission. That was not what we volunteered for.
“In my opinion, a major role of a modern humane society is to adopt dogs and cats, not euthanize them.”
Proof PETA kills https://www.petakillsanimals.com/proof-peta-kills/
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) requires all animal shelters to report the number of cats and dogs they take in each year. The records indicate how many cats and dogs were reclaimed by their owners, adopted out, transferred to other Virginia releasing agencies (i.e. animal shelters and animal control), transferred to out-of-state releasing agencies, died of natural causes, euthanized (killed), and how many the shelter held alive at the end of the calendar year. We added the dogs and cats euthanized and divided by the total number of dogs and cats taken in excluding those held only for sterilization surgery to determine the percentage of dogs and cats PETA killed in a given year. In 2009, Virginia modified its policy and eliminated animals held for sterilization from the records.
We obtained the reports by filing public records requests under Virginia’s sunshine laws with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The information for years 2004-2010 is also available on the VDACS website for public inspection (animals classified as “other” from 2004-2009 include those reported by PETA as held for sterilization).
Dogs and Cats killed by PETA
* figures represent the second half of 1998 only † Other than spay/neuter animals » Skeptical? Click here to see the proof.
Visit PETA’s “Shelter” State Inspector likens PETA’s “Shelter” to a “Euthanasia Clinic”
Recent documents uncovered by PETAKillsAnimals.com indicate that the Commonwealth of Virginia was so shocked by the number of animals PETA kills each year that the state inspector attempted to revoke PETA’s license to operate a shelter.
In 2010, a Virginia resident called PETA to ask if it operated an animal shelter. PETA said no. Apparently perplexed, she sent PETA’s response to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the government agency responsible for overseeing shelters and animal welfare matters in the state. Responding to the complaint, Dr. Daniel Kovich, an investigator with the VDACS, conducted an inspection of PETA’s animal shelter at its Virginia headquarters in July 2010. Dr. Kovich determined “the facility does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody.”
This is probably because most animals taken in by PETA aren’t housed for very long. After reviewing two months worth of records, Kovich found that 245 of the 290 animals–84 percent–that PETA took into custody were killed within 24 hours. Only 17 were reported as adopted or in foster homes. Kovich noted that PETA’s shelter did not meet PETA’s own published guidelines for operating a humane animal shelter.
At the time of the visit, Kovich found a mere three animals were in PETA’s “shelter” which apparently consists of three rooms on PETA’s 4th floor, nestled amongst cubicles and conference rooms. None of the animals available for adoption, and PETA’s representative indicated the shelter was not accessible to the public.
Kovich reviewed the disposition of cats and dogs that were either euthanized or adopted/transferred out in the previous six years and found the adoption/transfer rate at PETA’s shelter dropped from an embarrassing 14 percent in 2004 to an abysmal 0.7 percent in 2009. In other words, of the 2317 dogs and cats in PETA’s shelter 99.3 percent were killed.
Based on his investigation, Kovich made the following determination: The findings of this site visit support the assertion that PETA does not operate a facility that meets the statutory definition of an animal shelter as the primary purpose is not to find permanent adoptive homes for animals. PETA’s lawyer responded to VDACS arguing that a legal technicality protected their status as an animal shelter.
PETA’s Lame Defense Is PETA euthanizing perfectly adoptable dogs and cats?
Since PETAKillsAnimals.com debuted in 2005, people have frequently asked PETA why it kills so many animals. PETA dubiously claims it does not run a “traditional animal shelter” and that it puts down animals that are too sick or injured to carry on. There are good reasons to believe this claim is inaccurate.
In November 2014, WAVY-TV reported that PETA employees had allegedly taken a family’s Chihuahua without cause in broad daylight from the family’s home. A surveillance video showed a van branded with the PETA logo pull up in the driveway followed by a worker seizing the dog and driving off. Wilbur Cerate, the dog’s owner, said that PETA employees later returned to his home with a fruit basket and news that the dog had been killed. The Accomack County Sheriff charged the employees with larceny. PETA refused comment to WAVY despite numerous requests.
In 2007, two PETA employees were tried for animal cruelty and littering in North Carolina after they were caught in a late night stakeout dumping the bodies of dead dogs and cats in a dumpster. Evidence presented during the trial showed that PETA employees killed animals they considered “adorable” and “perfect.” Likewise, witnesses at the trial testified that PETA told them they “shouldn’t have a problem at all finding homes” for dogs left in their care. Other North Carolina shelter personnel testified that they were under the impression PETA would find homes for the animals they handed over to PETA. These impressions were incorrect. PETA picked up dogs and cats from animal shelters in North Carolina and killed them before they even left the state. Beyond the evidence presented at the trial, PETA has never backed up its claim with any evidence to suggest that it only takes in injured or otherwise unadoptable dogs and cats. See images of the dogs PETA put down without giving them a chance at life.
PETA’s Dirty Tactics PETA targets your kids with comic books and protests
In 2003, in more than 15 states, the group handed out a graphic comic titled “Your Mommy Kills Animals” to children accompanying women wearing fur outside holiday performances of The Nutcracker and other theatrical shows. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News classified PETA’s attempt “to manipulate adults by traumatizing their children” as “despicable.” The Omaha World- Herald declared, “it’s the vulnerable children who will likely suffer for the anxiety-inducing insensitivity of the attack on what should be a happy, family-oriented outing.”
Dr. Jeffrey Dolgan, chief of psychology at Denver’s Children’s Hospital, told The Denver Post that PETA’s “Your Mommy Kills Animals” campaign is “beyond insensitive.”
The group also featured convicted arsonist Rodney Coronado as a guest columnist in Grrr! Kids Bite Back, a defunct periodical described as “PETA’s magazine for students aged 8 to 14.”
PETA’s Teachkind teaching aids have involved themes that draw connections between African-American slaves and livestock animals. They have asked students to “compare the progression of the civil rights movement in the U.S. to the current animal rights movement.” There is more. In 2006, we BROKEN LINKS released this report [English only] which we updated in 2008 as a comprehensive examination of PETA’s propaganda aimed at kids.
PETA’s Connections to Violent Extremists PETA gave grants to arsonist Rodney Coronado and the eco-terrorist group Earth Liberation Front
Former PETA vegetarian campaign coordinator Bruce Friedrich told an animal rights convention that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation,” adding, “Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”
In 2002, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told The Boston Herald: “More power to SHAC [the violent Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty] if they can get someone’s attention.” Six of SHAC’s core members were subsequently convicted for their attacks on businesses, with four serving between three and six years in jail. The PETA Foundation was formerly run by Neal Barnard, president of the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. PCRM has been linked with FBI-designated terrorist groups, including SHAC and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). In 2001, Barnard co-signed a series of threatening letters with the U.S. president of SHAC, who was convicted on federal terrorism charges in 2006. Dr. Jerry Vlasak, the ALF “Press Officer” who is known for openly advocating the use of violence to further animal liberation goals, was a PCRM spokesperson when he first called for the “political assassination” of medical research scientists in 2003.
PETA also gave $2,000 to David Wilson, then a national Animal Liberation Front spokesperson.
PETA paid $27,000 for the legal defense of Roger Troen, who was arrested for taking part in an October 1986 burglary and arson at the University of Oregon.
Ingrid Newkirk: Radical Animal Liberation Activist
Ingrid Newkirk isn’t just the President of PETA, she’s also a militant activist. She’s soaked herself in fake blood, of course, but she’s also been arrested more than 20 times. And she’s an avowed supporter of the terrorist Animal Liberation Front.
Newkirk wrote a book called Free the Animals! The Untold Story of the U.S. Animal Liberation Front and Its Founder, ‘Valerie.’ In it she writes that she has “become somewhat used to jumping on a plane with copies of freshly purloined documents and hurriedly calling news conferences to discuss the ALF’s findings.” In 1993, Newkirk arranged an interview for TIME magazine with “Valerie.” Later, the animal-rights movement would be abuzz with speculations that Valerie was just one of Newkirk’s PETA employees. The entire episode has suggested what many federal law enforcement officers have openly speculated: that ALF and PETA may be populated with identical personnel, the only difference being a setting sun and a ski mask.
Newkirk gives interviews to ALF’s publications, supports the legal defense efforts of ALF criminals (with PETA’s money), has been subpoenaed in regard to her ALF connections, and has even been accused in court documents of participation in the ALF arson of a Michigan State University research lab.
In the 1970s, Newkirk worked for Montgomery County (Maryland), and then for the District of Columbia, as an animal protection officer and deputy sheriff, before becoming DC’s first female poundmaster in 1978. She co-founded PETA in 1980 with established animal-rights activist Alex Pacheco. Since then, PETA and Newkirk have become synonymous. Former employees refer to PETA as “the cult of Newkirk.”
PETA opposes testing medications on animals, even if they could lead to a cure for AIDS
- PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told Vogue that “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”
- PETA made a $5000 cash payment to Josh Harper, a leader of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, a violent extremist group that intimidated, threatened, and attacked people affiliated with a medical research facility.
- The head of the anti-animal testing animal rights group the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) was formerly president of The PETA Foundation.
- PETA awarded a grant of over $70,000 to Rodney Coronado, who was then accused and later convicted of arson against a Michigan research facility.
- PETA solicited volunteers to infiltrate facilities as “behind-the-scenes heroes for the animals.
“Ethical Treatment” is Optional for PETA’s Celebrities
These celebrities are PETA activists, but have shown flexibility with the organization’s forceful call for strict vegetarianism, also known as veganism.
- Pamela Anderson’s Dodge Viper (auctioned to benefit PETA) had a “luxurious leather interior.”
- Jenna Jameson was photographed fishing, slurping oysters, and wearing a leather jacket just weeks after launching an anti-leather campaign for PETA.
- Morrissey got an official okay from PETA after eating at a steakhouse.
- Dita von Teese has written about her love of furs and foie gras.
- Steve-O built a career on abusing small animals on film.
- The officially “anti-fur” Eva Mendes has worn fur anyway.
PETA insists, contrary to centuries of rabbinical teaching, that the Jewish ritual of kosher slaughter shouldn’t be allowed. Its infamous “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign compared the Jewish victims of Nazi genocide to farm animals.Want to see more? We issued a report in 2005 that comprehensively debunked PETA’s religious campaign literature.
PETA’s Religious Nonsense
PETA’s religious campaigns include a website that claims–despite ample evidence to the contrary–that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian. PETA holds protests at houses of worship, even suing one church that tried to protect its members from Sunday-morning harassment. Its billboards taunt Christians with the message that hogs “died for their sins.”
PETA insists, contrary to centuries of rabbinical teaching, that the Jewish ritual of kosher slaughter shouldn’t be allowed. Its infamous “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign compared the Jewish victims of Nazi genocide to farm animals. Want to see more? We issued a report in 2005 that comprehensively debunked PETA’s religious campaign literature.
PETA’s Virginia Shelter has a High Euthanasia Rate
By Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service, March 13, 2015
NORFOLK, Va. — Prudence the bunny nibbles on organic greens, listens to classical music, and hops about on soft blankets in a sweet-smelling space larger than many college dorm rooms. She shares her “guest room” with no other animal, though staff members at the headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, working in the adjacent office, visit frequently to cuddle her.
Here on the banks of the Elizabeth River, you could say PETA runs the Waldorf Astoria of animal shelters. But that same facility also euthanized more than 80 percent of the animals in its care last year, a rate so shockingly high that Virginia lawmakers passed a bill in February — nearly unanimously — to define a private animal shelter as a place where the primary mission is to find permanent homes for animals in this life, not send them on to the next.
The bill, its sponsor made clear, is designed to protect animals and rein in PETA. PETA? The group that doesn’t want you to eat turkey at Thanksgiving — or any animal ever?
The same PETA that wants to free circus animals and pushed the Vatican to “give peas a chance” by going vegan and to strip the leather seats out of the popemobile?
“It’s sanctimonious to say they are lovers of animals,” said Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr., the lead sponsor of the bill, who has never been to the PETA shelter, but said it’s clear it doesn’t do much sheltering. “It’s a way station of death, and it’s a shame.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has until March 29 to sign or veto the bill — or send it back to be amended.
PETA is more widely known for its edgy protests and media campaigns to draw attention to animal suffering than for this riverside shelter, and some in the animal welfare community deem the group too radical. The high euthanasia rate at its shelter, the only one it operates, seems to many to run counter to its mission.
Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president and head of its cruelty investigations unit, does not dispute that the vast majority of the thousands of animals in PETA custody each year are euthanized. In 2014, according to its own records, it took in 3,017 animals, about 1 percent of the total number brought to Virginia public and private shelters. Of those, PETA euthanized 2,455, or 81 percent. In some prior years, that rate has risen above 90 percent.
Statewide, 210,599 animals wound up in Virginia animal shelters last year, according statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Less than a quarter — 49,302, to be exact — were euthanized.
The statistics, Nachminovitch said, have been twisted to demonize PETA, focusing attention on the tragic symptom of euthanasia instead of the root of the problem: millions of unwanted animals who suffer neglect and cruelty.
“You can count animals, but they’re not numbers,” she said. “And there are many fates worse than euthanasia.” PETA puts a high proportion of animals down, Nachminovitch explains, because it ministers to those that many other shelters turn away, often because of the shelters’ “no kill” policies.
PETA staff will drive more than 100 miles beyond Norfolk, at any time and in any weather, to help animals that are gravely ill, infested with parasites, or too aggressive ever to be adopted, she said. And PETA doesn’t care if the animal in need is a dog or a cat or a chicken or a rat, Nachminovitch continued. It doesn’t matter if the owner can’t or won’t pay for the services. More than 500 of the animals it euthanized last year were brought in by owners who wanted to end their elderly or suffering pet’s pain, she said, but couldn’t afford the vet’s fee.
But even for many who appreciate PETA’s free and low-cost veterinary care, its mobile spay-and-neuter clinics, or the hundreds of dog houses it gives to owners who insist on leaving their pets outside in bad weather, the euthanasia rate seems high.
Paul Waldau, a professor at Canisius College who studies and writes about religion and animal rights, said it makes sense that people who care about animals hold conflicting views of PETA, given both its dedication to animal welfare and the many thousands it has put to death.
“There’s a certain plausibility to the line they’re taking,” said Waldau. “If you take the very worst problems that others can’t solve, your rate of putting dogs down is going to be much higher than anybody’s who has taken on the simple problems, the easy ones, the golden retrievers of life.”
But PETA’s euthanasia rate “is such an ugly number,” Waldau continued. “We should also be welcoming people who say, ‘Can’t we find a way to kill fewer?’ ”
A spokesman at the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal welfare group in the nation, said it would not comment on PETA’s euthanasia rate or the bill in the Virginia Legislature. The Humane Society’s statement on euthanasia supports the practice as a last resort.
PETA — honored by many in the animal welfare community and many Hollywood celebrities — has never won over mainstream America. It’s the animal welfare group many people love to hate, perhaps because it’s not just for animals, but against many of the things people like do with animals, such as eating them for dinner and confining them in zoos.
“I don’t think anybody likes the idea that they might need to change their behavior,” said Nachminovitch. “We provoke people to think about their daily choices: what they eat, what they wear, where they get their entertainment. It’s human nature not to want to feel sad or guilty.”
The group’s reputation wasn’t helped last October after news broke that PETA had taken a healthy Chihuahua from its owner’s porch on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and euthanized it. Nachminovitch said PETA was “devastated” by the mistake, and she drove to the owner’s home and personally, tearfully, apologized. The employee was fired for what Nachminovitch said was a breach of PETA rules. But the dog’s death was also a violation of state law, and Virginia fined PETA $500.
Stanley, the sponsor of the bill that could make it difficult for PETA to continue to run its shelter, has used the Chihuahua’s death to question the organization’s motives. He also talks about the four dogs he adopted, some with serious health problems, and wonders — most recently in an op-ed in a major Virginia newspaper — whether PETA understands that even sick and old animals deserve a chance to live.
“When I was a young man, my father told me that God put cats and dogs on this Earth as a reminder of the traits we should all aspire to have as human beings: perfect love, loyalty and forgiveness,” he wrote in The Virginian-Pilot. “It is our obligation to care for them, love them, and above all else, do our level best to protect them.” It’s great that Stanley adopted dogs in need of a home, Nachminovitch responded. “But there are millions more.”
Last year, PETA transferred 353 pets to shelters that have larger adoption programs, and it placed 162 animals in permanent homes, its records show. It sent about 100 to foster homes. Prudence the rabbit, who stays in one of the five cushy animal “guest rooms” that comprise PETA’s shelter on the fourth floor of its headquarters, is going to be one of the lucky ones. Most of the time, PETA houses 10 or fewer pets awaiting adoption.
On a recent day, the shelter hosted Prudence, two 10-week-old puppies, a more mature dog, two cats enjoying an elaborate climbing post, and four sleeping rats. An outdoor dog park along the river provides a place to exercise.
In the adjacent offices, three cats, permanent residents of PETA headquarters, nap in desk drawers lined with flannel.
The euthanasia clinic is on the ground floor. There is one small room, softly lit by a standing lamp. A poster is mounted above the padded surgical table where the animals receive their lethal injections. It shows three dogs that PETA staff have cared for, and reads:
“This room is Sacred Territory. Leave your stress and troubles at the door. In here, only the animals we serve matter. For them, your gentle touch and kind words are likely their first and their last.”
PETA’s Virginia shelter killed 88% of rescued pets last year, up 30%: report
By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The number of animals killed at a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) facility in Virginia increased 30 percent in 2014, according to a new report by the Center for Consumer Freedom.
The animal rights group that touts responsible pet adoption and veganism euthanized a total of 2,324 dogs and cats at their facility in Norfolk last year, representing 88 percent of all pets PETA rescued, the CCF said.
“This delusional animal rights group is talking out of both sides of its mouth — on one side preaching animal rights, while on the other signing a death warrant for 88 percent of cats and dogs in its care,” Will Coggin, director of research at CCF, said in a statement. “PETA should be called a slaughterhouse, not an animal shelter.”
The report said 33,514 animals have died since 1998 at the hands of PETA. The kill numbers come from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), which requires annual disclosures. A 2010 inspection conducted by a VDACS revealed that 84 percent of the animals PETA took in were killed within 24 hours, the CCF said. Only 1.5 percent of dogs and cats reportedly found a permanent home outside of the shelter.
“PETA’s so-called ‘shelter’ might as well be called a slaughterhouse,” Mr. Coggin added. “For an organization that once disgustingly compared the treatment of farm animals to the Holocaust, you’d think PETA would avoid the appearance of systematic killing. It’s time Virginia stopped the madness and shuttered PETA’s shelter of horrors for good.”
In response to a request for comment, PETA directed The Washington Times to a January video on their YouTube channel that champions their veterinary services and condemns some no-kill shelters that reject “unadoptable” animals in order to “keep their euthanasia statistics appealing.”
In March of 2013, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote an article that said, “It’s easy to point the finger at those who are forced to do the ‘dirty work’ caused by a throwaway society’s casual acquisition and breeding of dogs and cats who end up homeless and unwanted, but at PETA, we will never turn our backs on neglected, unloved, and homeless animals — even if the best we can offer them is a painless release from a world that doesn’t have enough heart or homes with room for them.
“Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis. PETA is proud to be a ‘shelter of last resort,’ where animals who have no place to go or who are unwanted or suffering are welcomed with love and open arms,” she said.
Watchdog fail: PETA killed nearly 2,000 shelter animals in 2013 – report
Published time: 7 Feb, 2014 10
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA), known for its anti-fur campaigns, put down 1,792 stray cats and dogs at its shelter last year alone. PETA defends its work, saying euthanasia is sometimes the best option for animals.
The death rate per animal averages 5 per day. The 1,792 figure represents an 82 percent euthanasia rate of the total number of animals PETA brought to its Norfolk, Virginia shelter in 2013, according to an annual report by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF).
The numbers come from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), which requires records be submitted yearly for review. Since 1998, 31,190 animals have died at the hands of PETA. Despite protests from several animal rights groups, PETA defends its record, insisting the animals it puts down are sick or unadoptable.
In 2005, PETA workers were arrested in North Carolina after killing adoptable cats and dogs and disposing of the bodies in a supermarket trash dumpster. Court evidence showed the employees euthanized animals they described as “perfect” and “adorable.”
Defendants Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook were cleared of animal cruelty charges in 2007, according to the AP.
Will Coggin, senior research analyst at CCF, decried PETA’s actions. “This delusional animal rights group is talking out of both sides of its mouth – on one side preaching animal rights, while on the other signing the death warrant of 82 percent of cats and dogs in its care. Labeling PETA as hypocritical would be the understatement of the year.”
Coggin concluded, “PETA’s so-called ‘shelter’ might as well be called a slaughterhouse. For an organization that once disgustingly compared the treatment of farm animals to the Holocaust, you’d think PETA would avoid the appearance of systematic killing.”
According to the website, PETA Kills Animals, the animals rights group fails to find homes “for the deluge of animals it kills,” and “[D]espite its $32 million budget.”
The website pointed to past evidence that indicated PETA’s preference for the “death needle versus care and nourishment” once an animal is brought to its shelter. A 2010 inspection carried out by a VDACS veterinarian discovered that 84 percent of the animals PETA took in were killed within 24 hours.
PETA expressed its disagreement with the findings in a statement this week: ‘PETA’s shelter took in and euthanized 1,805 elderly, feral, sick, dying, aggressive, and otherwise unadoptable animals—more than 400 of whom were brought to PETA by loving but destitute guardians desperate to alleviate their beloved animals’ suffering, and many others who had been turned away by local so-called “no-kill” facilities that reject unadoptable animals in order to keep their euthanasia statistics appealing.’
Daphna Nachminovitch, the head of PETA’s cruelty investigations department, defends the use of euthanasia for animals in some cases: “Turning animals away or going to great lengths to convince people to keep animals they don’t want – those things put animals in bad situations,” she told the The Virginia Pilot.
Meanwhile, PETA’s practice of euthanizing adoptable animals is running up against public opinion as an increasing number of animal groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, are opting for a no-kill approach to handling animals.
In Virginia, for example, the animal euthanasia rate tumbled from about 85,000 dogs and cats killed in the state in 2011, compared with 103,000 in 2004. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk previously indicated to The Virginian-Pilot that changing the animal right’s group’s policy may affect its future efforts.
“We could become a no-kill shelter immediately. It means we wouldn’t do as much work,” she said.
Watchdog fail: PETA under fire over claim that it kills most animals left at its US headquarters
By Philip Sherwell in New York , 04 Apr 2009
Ricky Gervais has recently backed one of :Peta’s campaigns and other vociferous advocates among its 128,000 members and backers in Britain and Europe include Sadie Frost, Naomi Campbell and Sir Paul McCartney. Its headline-grabbing stunts have made it one of the most formidable global lobbyists against the exploitation of animals.
But now Peta – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – is itself on the receiving end of angry words over its own treatment of animals after it emerged that the organisation put down 96 per cent of the animals handed into its American headquarters. Of 2,216 animals taken to its premises in Norfolk, Virginia, last year, 2,124 were put to sleep – almost six per day. Homes were found for just seven.
The high-profile charity, famous for its “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaigns, has euthanised more than 20,000 pets in the last decade, according to figures it has supplied to Virginia state officials.
Peta insists that homes could not be found for the dogs and cats, usually because they were in such poor health or because they were “unsocialised” and aggressive, usually because of bad treatment by their owners.
But the organization, which does not run its own animal adoption programme and does not accept animals into its care elsewhere, admitted to The Sunday Telegraph that some treatable and adoptable animals were also among those killed by lethal injection.
“We are doing the dirty work that others won’t,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, vice-president for cruelty investigations. “We are proud to be a shelter of last resort that takes in old broken animals and gives them a humane end.
“America is facing an epidemic of overpopulation. Six to eight million unwanted pets are turned in to shelters each year and half of them have to be euthanised. Our euthanasia programme is no secret.
“It’s a societal problem. We’re not going to turn our backs on these animals just so that our figures look good. We’re not saying that all the animals we euthanise are suffering from incurable conditions. But overpopulation is a crisis. It’s a matter of actually finding a good home.”
Now critics of the group are accusing it of being more interested in using its $32 million annual budget to fund its campaigns against the fur and meat industries than helping the cats and dogs in its backyard.
“Many people who contribute to Peta’s funds will be very disturbed to learn that their money is going towards killing animals,” said David Martosko, director of research at the US-based Centre for Consumer Freedom (CCF).
“It’s inconceivable that Peta is taking in only the least, last and lost of the animal kingdom. The odds that Peta is only receiving unadoptable animals are about the same as me winning the lottery and being struck by lightning on the same day. The reality is that Peta has no interest in trying to find homes for unwanted animals as they want to use their money to fund their political campaigns.”
A spokesman for its UK and European headquarters in London said the non-profit making organisation, which is not registered as a charity, raised almost £2 million on this side of the Atlantic last year. It does not attempt to look after animals directly in Europe – or, indeed, in America outside Virginia, where it runs a neutering programme.
The CCF last week released the latest Peta euthanasia figures it had obtained from the state of Virginia. The centre receives funds from companies involved in every aspect of the food business, from farm to fork, and Peta dismisses its long-term foe as a “front” for industry opponents.
Chrissie Hynde, former lead singer of The Pretenders and a Peta supporter, said: “It’s curious that the meat and tobacco industries, who destroy innumerable human lives with their ‘goods’, and billions of animals producing them, try to incite public outrage by throwing stones at a charity who’s very existence is to promote the welfare of animals and offer to put suffering animals out of their misery.”
But some animal rights activists who support “no kill” policies for abandoned and stray animals are also fiercely critical of Peta’s euthanasia programme.
Dave Shishkoff of the Friends of Animals pressure group claimed that he saw perfectly-healthy looking puppies and kittens killed at Peta when he worked there as an intern in 1991.
“Peta has a perverse definition of euthanasia – one that apparently demands that any animal with the slightest discomfort ought to be killed,” he said.
“The vast majority of the animals Peta kills are far from terminal or suffering from incurable conditions. Peta claims to have a $30 million annual budget, yet cannot find home for about 2,000 cats and dogs each year. Not with $30 million dollars, or millions of members and huge lists of email addresses. Literally an armful of cats and dogs somehow survive Peta’s ‘rescues’ each year.” Ms. Nachminovitch rejected the criticisms. “If people contact us with pets they want to have adopted, we refer them to other agencies,” she said. “The animals that end up with us are the dogs that have lived life on a chain, never been touched by humans, completely unable to socialise, and have terrible injuries.”
As well as the 2,124 animals that were put down, she said that Peta spayed, neutered and treated another 8,000 dogs and cats last year – a key element of its campaign against animal overpopulation.
Peta president Ingrid Newkirk explained the group’s position in a moving blog on the group’s website, entitled “Why we euthanise”, accompanied by pictures revealing the terrible condition of some animals it took in. But in a recent Canadian television interview, when the questioner pushed her on whether Peta euthanised adoptable animals, she acknowledged: “If we get them and cannot find them a home, absolutely.”
Peta has amassed a battery of celebrity supporters, including adoring pet-owners such as the actresses Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Alicia Silverstone and Pamela Anderson. The Sunday Telegraph contacted representatives for all of them about Peta’s policy of euthanising nearly every animal handed in to them, but they either declined to comment or did not respond.
Peta is best-known for its anti-fur campaigns featuring naked models and actors. But it has consistently courted controversy with its uncompromising campaigns.
Germany’s highest court last month ruled that a Peta advertisement comparing animal slaughterhouses to the Holocaust was an offence against human dignity. The campaign had depicted images of factory farms next to Jewish concentration camp inmates and the slogan “Holocaust on your plate”.
Last year, a campaign aimed at children – “Your Mommy Kills Animals” – featured a graphic cartoon image of a woman in pearls and apron ripping apart a rabbit with a knife for fur. And eyebrows were raised when the group urged Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to replace cow’s milk with human breast milk in their products.
Patrick Holden, director of UK organic farming body the Soil Association, said: “The difficulty for Peta is that where animals are kept as pets or farm animals, their eventual death is inevitable.
“The moral question for society is whether we have a right to take the life of animals. Some say we do not, and I respect that, but we have a different position: if an animal life is taken, we have an obligation to respect and look after the animal during its life to the highest standards.
Perhaps this is an example of how, in the real world, it is impossible to escape the responsibility that one sometimes has to take the life of an animal. There is an apparent contradiction in Peta’s philosophy.”
||FALSE: PETA workers routinely lure pets away from families for the sole purpose of euthanizing the animals.
||TRUE: PETA associates have been involved in some incidents involving the alleged theft and/or euthanization of family pets.
Partially at issue in many of the claims regarding PETA’s handling of companion animals appears to stem from their “uncompromising” stance on euthanizing shelter animals:
Euthanasia literally means “good death,” and true euthanasia — delivered by an intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital — is painless, quick, and dignified. Because of the high number of unwanted companion animals and the lack of good homes, sometimes the most humane thing that a shelter worker can do is give an animal a peaceful release from a world in which dogs and cats are often considered “surplus.” The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States agree that an intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital administered by a trained professional is the kindest, most compassionate method of euthanizing animals.
Until dog and cat overpopulation is brought under control through spaying and neutering, we must prevent the suffering of unwanted animals in the most responsible and humane way possible. Euthanasia, performed properly, is often the most compassionate option.
Many critics contend PETA’s policies extend to its putting down tens of thousands of healthy, adoptable stray and homeless animals without having made sufficient (or any) effort to find homes for them:
In the last 12 years, PETA has killed 31,250 companion animals. While PETA claims the animals it takes in and kills are “unadoptable,” this is a lie. It is a lie because employees have admitted it is a lie. They have described 8 week old, 10 week old, and 12 week old healthy kittens and puppies routinely and immediately put to death with no effort to find them homes. It is a lie because rescue groups, individuals, and veterinarians have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable and PETA insiders have admitted as much, one former intern reporting that he quit in disgust after witnessing perfectly healthy puppies and kittens in the kill room. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspector, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because PETA staff have described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA had no comment.
While PETA’s stance on euthanasia is controversial, we could find little evidence it has been extended to family pets with any frequency. PETA workers were arrested over pet theft incidents in 2007 and 2014, but the intent of the workers in those cases was not sufficiently clear to consider their actions unlawful. Aside from those two incidents, we’ve found no evidence supporting the claim that PETA regularly takes household pets from their homes and euthanizes them. PETA has not responded to a request for comment.
WHISTLEBLOWER: PETA Ex-Employee Alleges She Was Encouraged to Steal and Kill Pets, and to Falsify Records
By Douglas Anthony Cooper, Novelist, Amnesia, Milrose Munce, Galunker, February 2, 2015
A woman employed by PETA fifteen years ago is now alleging that she was encouraged by its president, Ingrid Newkirk, to steal and kill pets, and to falsify records.
Heather Harper-Troje is the wife of a US diplomat serving at the American embassy in Honduras, and her eyewitness account is unprecedented. For three years I have investigated People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ regular slaughter of dogs and cats at their headquarters in Norfolk, but I have never encountered first-person testimony of this nature. According to Harper-Troje, Ingrid Newkirk authorized her staff to steal pets — animals that were then killed, immediately — and records of killing were routinely doctored. Ms. Harper-Troje is an exceptionally brave woman — she is willing to go on the record and use her real name. She will be eviscerated.
Some of this is told in a blog post, which I quote here at length but urge you to read in its entirety: “Rescued by Black Boy: how a neglected dog set me back on my path, away from PETA.” The extent to which PETA has stolen animals and falsified documents, however, is not revealed there. My own conversations with Ms. Harper-Troje have gone into considerably more detail.
Note that the following is the testimony of one woman, and must be considered merely allegation until substantiated. Heather Harper-Troje is hardly a disreputable citizen, however: She’s married to a Foreign Service Officer — the chief of the public diplomacy section at the American embassy in Honduras — and she has told me that she would be willing to testify to the following in court, under oath. I contacted PETA earlier today to request a comment, and have not yet heard back. I will provide updates here should they respond.
These are allegations of crimes committed fifteen years ago, and the statute of limitations has long expired. The claims have become urgently relevant, however, as PETA is increasingly embroiled in a scandal involving the theft and killing of a little girl’s dog.
As always with PETA, the story begins with good intentions, and good deeds. Ms. Harper-Troje mostly believed in what she was doing as a field worker; she spent a lot of time in poor neighborhoods, “getting to know people, educating them on the benefits of spaying and neutering, vaccinating, proper nutrition, and the importance of socialization for dogs.”
And she was not considered an inferior employee, by any means: “My first performance review earned me a raise and accolades from Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA and my direct supervisor.” But she had what is apparently considered by PETA to be a serious moral flaw: She wanted to keep rescued animals alive.
In the beginning, I wanted to adopt out the majority of animals I brought in, and sometimes I neglected to report when I picked up an animal — in doing so, I could bring them to a local shelter, because the alternative was euthanasia at PETA.
But surely PETA tries to find a home for an animal that’s clearly adoptable? You’d gather this from their website; on a page entitled “PETA Saves,” they explain that “PETA performs the heartbreaking task of euthanizing animals who are unwanted for one reason or another: because they are aggressive, sick, hurt, elderly, or at death’s door and because no good homes exist for them.”
Contrast this with what Ms. Harper-Troje alleges she witnessed: I remember one day bringing a tiny white dog into Ingrid’s office, to tell her I wanted to adopt her out, not euthanize her. She rolled her eyes and asked why that dog was any more worthy than any of the countless other animals in shelters waiting for a home. I told her she was an adoptable dog: small, social, sweet; could be placed with very little trouble. After sarcastically berating me, with a smile on her face, she turned to a man in her office and asked what he thought. He said she was very cute. She sighed and said something along the lines of, “fine, do what you want.” So I found her a home.
Consider the allegation here. We are told that the urge to find a home for an adorable, healthy dog met this response from Ingrid Newkirk: The famous animal lover “rolled her eyes” and berated her employee as sentimental.
I had to fight hard for each adoption and, increasingly, I encountered great resistance. I heard phrases like “a waste of resources” and “not adoptable” — my desire to save each animal was belittled as naive and trivial. I was told that I was missing the bigger picture.
That’s unquestionably a large, ugly picture. If you worked for PETA, you were expected to kill adoptable animals. And, as I reported in a long series of articles, everything suggests that the picture painted fifteen years ago is an accurate portrait of PETA today.
PETA likes to call their headquarters a “shelter of last resort.” Ms. Harper-Troje’s description warrants that bleak term: What was referred to as the “shelter” was a large, empty storage closet across from our office. The only other holding facility we had was in the warehouse, where the animals were euthanized. And when I did use the room across from my office as a holding area for animals, Ingrid would ask why I hadn’t already euthanized them: one time nailing me to the wall because the litter of puppies I’d placed in there for a night had pooped everywhere; I was told to euthanize the puppies immediately. Needless to say, Ingrid refused our request for a shelter: waste of resources, not the aim of the program, animals beyond hope, same old, same old.
Are we meant to imagine that this entire litter of puppies was “aggressive, sick, hurt… or at death’s door”?
Perhaps we believe that these puppies were brought in by an owner desperate to have them killed. This is what Mary Tully would like us to believe regarding today’s kind and gentle organization. Ms. Tully, who insists that she does not work for PETA, has an entire site devoted to explaining and excusing PETA’s mass killing. And she wrote this comment last week: “PETA’s Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services animal reporting data and shelter inspection reports confirm that nearly every animal PETA receives for euthanasia is received from his or her guardian for this service.”
The reports say no such thing; you are welcome to read them for yourself. Here’s the kill report submitted by PETA to the government in 2013, for instance. According to Ms. Harper-Troje, when she worked at PETA, people certainly weren’t handing over their beloved pets to be euthanized: “I never had an owner tell me they wanted their animal killed.” What about the woman who surrendered the white dog that Ingrid was so keen on not re-homing? No, that owner “wanted her adopted out, and she was an extremely adoptable dog.” What about those puppies Ms. Harper-Troje tried to save? “They were surrendered by their owner — I picked them up. We were supposed to find them homes, but they were all euthanized.”
PETA’s yearly kill rates have always been approximately the same — generally over ninety percent of the animals taken in by PETA are killed. So are we meant to believe that this part has changed? That only now are owners explicitly requesting that their pets be euthanized? “If anyone ever came to me for euth service it was so rare that I don’t remember one instance of it happening.” Here we are debating over the status of animals willingly surrendered. The basic facts have long been known. What Ingrid Newkirk has never come close to admitting, however, is that among the animals killed by PETA are stolen pets.
“If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them.” Did any of these stolen animals get re-homed? “To my recollection, no. If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof there is no trail.”
And Ingrid Newkirk herself approved of this? “It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure.”
I asked Ms. Harper-Troje whether she could give me any idea of the number of animals stolen.
I really can’t. Not with any accuracy — it’s been so long. They were the minority, by far, but it was an acceptable practice. My criteria is if I really felt that an animal was in a life-or-death situation, like Black Boy, then I would steal them. In eight months I think it would be fair to say I could count the number of animals I stole on one hand… I was less inclined to steal; I wanted to work with people, educate, etc.
But she’s sure that others were also stealing? “That I am 100% positive of. Absolutely.” Theft was clearly less common than another crime that Ms. Harper-Troje says Ingrid Newkirk encouraged them to commit: the falsification of records. “Doctoring logs was routine.”
Routine meaning weekly? Monthly?
As far as I remember it was daily. Because each time you euth an animal you enter it in the log — if you say the animal is ten pounds heavier than he is, you’ve given yourself room to euthanize another ten-pound animal off the books.
For those of us who care about animal rescue, this crime is considerably more horrifying than well-meaning theft. Both are of course illegal, but here we have a self-described “animal rights activist” allegedly telling her employees to doctor official records, so that her organization can kill even more animals than they report. If this is true, Ingrid Newkirk was encouraging them to break the law not in order to save, but to slaughter.
Heather Harper-Troje wrote about her PETA experiences last year, but this part is new. In the earlier account, she revealed only what she determined was “common knowledge.”
This is the first time I’ve come out and said how Ingrid ran the unit, and encouraged us to break the law, lie, etc. Pheno B, as you know, is a controlled substance, and we used ketamine to sedate when needed. I was under direct orders from her to doctor logs, in order to compensate for what would have otherwise been missing pheno and ketamine.
She details this in her blog post: I know from first-hand experience that the PETA leadership has no problem lying. 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. I was told regularly to say whatever I had to say in order to get people to surrender animals to me: lying was not only acceptable, it was encouraged.
Ironically, the circumstance of Heather Harper-Troje’s firing did not involve the controversial practices of killing, theft, and falsifying documents. It involved the much less controversial practice of neutering dogs. PETA, along with most animal welfare organizations, has long purported to endorse this strategy wholeheartedly.
One day I took part in a meeting about the “allocation of resources” for our program. Ingrid announced that, in order to cut costs, we would no longer be paying to have male pit bulls neutered — we would only pay to have females spayed. She asked for feedback, which I knew she did not really want, but I spoke up anyway. I told her that neutering was a necessity: without it the male dogs would be vulnerable to being used as fighting dogs. She maintained we didn’t have the funds for it.
PETA’s annual budget, of course, is never less than jaw-dropping. Their total revenues in 2014 — mostly donations — amounted to $51,933,001.
I took a deep breath, and told Ingrid that if we discontinued the neutering program in the particular area where my focus was, then we would be as guilty of perpetuating the cruelty of dog fighting as those who were fighting the dogs, and that the suffering and death of each dog lost to a fight would be on our hands.
Honesty of this sort is apparently not appreciated by the ethical founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: A few weeks later I was given a letter of dismissal from the woman who had started out as my assistant but had since become my supervisor. (Her promotion happened around the time I’d stopped being such a good little soldier.) Not cut out for a job in animal rescue, best of luck, effective immediately.
So. If you insist upon finding homes for animals, and endorse a policy that would fund the neutering (as opposed to killing) of dogs, you are — by PETA’s definition — unfit for a job in “animal rescue.”
As I say, Heather Harper-Troje is a truly courageous woman. She will be vilified for refusing, finally, to remain silent about PETA’s grotesque “shelter of last resort.” The ubiquitous posse of shills and trolls is guaranteed to insult her, to insult her family, to question her ethics and her sanity — we’ve seen it happen again and again. (I’ve become accustomed to it, but not everyone finds it easy to simply shrug off defamation.)
I’m certain we’ll be told that Heather Harper-Troje was fired for incompetence. This is the libel generally cooked up to discredit a whistleblower: Oh, we’re simply dealing with a disgruntled employee.
Here I think we can safely believe Ms. Harper-Troje, however, as it accords with everything we know about this depraved organization: “I was good at my job. What I was no longer good at was following orders that I knew were immoral.”
This Thanksgiving, PETA was the Turkey
For normal people, Thanksgiving is a time of year for enjoying the company of family and stuffing ourselves to a day of football. But for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, it’s a time of year to chide everyone who enjoys a little white meat—whether through guilt trips or by comparing eating turkey to cannibalism.
This year, however, there was something to be thankful about with PETA: The fact that the organization is now being sued for $9 million.
Last Monday, a Virginia family filed suit against PETA in state court following an incident last year in which two PETA employees took the family’s Chihuahua off their front porch and killed it. The duo was caught on camera performing the apparent theft in broad daylight. The dog was killed the same day it was taken, in violation of Virginia law, which requires a 5-day holding period. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services fined PETA, noting the “severity of this lapse in judgment.”
Astoundingly, PETA allegedly took months to apologize for this atrocious act. Granted, killing pets is nothing new for the group: PETA kills close to 90% of the cats and dogs it takes in at the “animal shelter” it runs at its Virginia headquarters.
This time next year, hopefully we’ll be thankful for justice.
PETA QUOTES on Farm Animals and other Animals
“The point at which society moves towards our views is a point where we are significantly closer to the vegan world that we are all working toward.” – Bruce Friedrich, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, AR 2010.
“There is so much blood on this chicken-killer’s hands, a little more on his business suit won’t hurt.” – Bruce Friedrich, PETA Director of Vegan Outreach, PETA news release, June 23, 2003.
“Eating meat is primitive, barbaric, and arrogant.” – Ingrid Newkirk, founder, president and former national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), as quoted in Charles Griswold, Jr., “Q&A,” Washington City Paper, December 20, 1985, p. 44.
“Do you know that fat little guy from Seinfeld? He has become the main pitchman for KFC, Jason Alexander. And beginning in May he is going to star in the West Coast production of ‘The Producers.’ It’s made for us. We can be slamming him as the play opens. If we do this properly, he will wish he never saw a chicken.” Dan Matthews, Director of Media Relations, PETA: The New Yorker, April 14, 2003
“We’re looking for good lawsuits that will establish the interests of animals as a legitimate area of concern in law.” – Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder and president, Insight on the News. July 17, 2000
“Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.” Ingrid Newkirk, UK Financial Times, Nov 7, 2008.
“It is dangerous to engage in even the most innocuous-seeming discourse with the FBI/ Homeland Security/ a local detective.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, Letter to activists posted on Yahoo, March 17, 2003
“A burning building doesn’t help melt people’s hearts, but times change and tactics, I’m sure, have to change with them. If you choose to carry out ALF-style actions, I ask you to please not say more than you need to, to think carefully who you trust, to learn all you can about how to behave if arrested, and so to try to live to fight another day.” Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA’s founder and president, Interview in ALF quarterly Bite Back, February, 2003
“Based on my time living with rats and mice in Washington, D.C., I have always assumed that animals will escape such fires, since their senses of smell, wariness of such dangers, and ability to move through almost invisible holes is so impressive, but I think that we should not dismiss the possibility that they, also, will be harmed. These reflections do not, of course, rule out burning meat trucks. And they don’t mean that when the next slaughterhouse or vivisection lab burns down, I will denounce those who carried out the burning, or that I will feel anything other than joy in my heart …” – Bruce Friedrich, quoted via Consumer Freedom, September 21, 2006
“I will be the last person to condemn ALF [the Animal Liberation Front].” Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president and founder, The New York Daily News, December 7, 1997
“If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then, of course we’re going to be, as a movement, blowing things up and smashing windows … I think it’s a great way to bring about animal liberation … I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows. … Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.” Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s director of Vegan Outreach, Animal Rights Conference, 2001
HSUS Blog – Wayne Pacelle
This is why I am troubled that PETA has chosen to sue Whole Foods in an apparent attempt to undermine or call into question the value of the GAP program. This is counterproductive, especially in a marketplace where there are dozens of other chains nearly exclusively selling factory farm animal products. Not one of them has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.
This announcement helps create an economy where no agribusiness company—for business reasons alone—should ever again install a new battery cage, gestation crate, or veal crate. Walmart is helping drive the transition away from immobilizing cages and other inhumane practices, and toward a more humane, more sustainable approach to production agriculture.
This is an unstoppable trend, and that was the trajectory even before Walmart made the announcement. The company’s embrace of a more ethical framework for the treatment of all farm animals serves as perhaps the most powerful catalyst for change throughout animal agriculture.
PETA and vegetarian sites
PETA’s goal is to have Whole Foods remove terms such as “humane,” “humanely raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials.
As PETA works outside the company to remind everyone that the only truly humane meal is a vegan one.
…not all animal-rights groups shared PETA’s criticism of Whole Foods. Last month, Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “Not one (grocery store) has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm-animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-newkirk/humane-meat_b_2765996.html (Written by Ingrid Newkirk, PETA, Executive Director)
– One hates to be absolute, but in my view, there is no such thing as humane meat.
– If we support any meat consumption, we are supporting not only continued animal slavery — for if we are honest, that is the accurate way to describe how animals are treated when raised for meat…
– As for organic and pesticide-free meat, I think two of PETA’s campaigners summed it up nicely. They were standing in a supermarket check-out lane, and behind them was an unattended cellophane package containing a chicken. The label read, “Young chicken” and “Pesticide-free.” One campaigner said to the other, “Look at that! Do you think that poor young chicken lying dead under the plastic wrap was pleased that she was pesticide-free?” The man buying the chicken came up and heard her and said, “Ew, I can’t buy that now.” So they took him and showed him vegan Gardein “chicken,” as that was the taste that he wanted, and gave him a vegan starter kit. Now that’s public education. What if instead, they had suggested that he eat “humane meat”? They would have kept his preference for meat alive, taught him nothing, and made it seem as if even animal protectionists believe that it is somehow acceptable to eat meat. Which is the better approach? Meat facilitation or real education? Meatification or vegification? Supporting the fantasy of humane meat works against vegan education, and that can’t be helpful or right.
– At PETA we believe that animals are not ours to eat, to pick off a shelf, to consider as food at all. They are just like human beings, like us, in all the important ways, such as having emotions and desires. So anyone who asks us to support any animal farming and slaughter is working against the just and compassionate world that most of us wish to create, and we can’t go along with something so needless and wrong.
– The momentum for vegan living is here. Let’s advocate for that and actively reject the fallacy of humane meat. We don’t need more generations of meat-eaters, and we don’t need anyone, including animal protectionists, to be selling out animals as worth only the flesh on their bodies, with their hearts and minds and feelings forgotten. There is no such thing as humane meat.
Whole Foods website http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/our-animal-welfare-standards-separating-fact-fiction
– We all need to be clear about PETA’s mission. PETA is dedicated to ending animal agriculture and animal meat consumption. Period. The allegations they hurl at Whole Foods Market, and the many other targets on their hit list, are generated with that specific agenda in mind.
– “It is important to remember that PETA’s mission is a total end to animal agriculture and animal meat consumption, and their claims against our business are generated with that specific goal in mind,” he wrote in an email to the Guardian.
Other news sources
Whole Foods spokesman Michael Silverman: “It is important to remember that PETA’s mission is a total end to animal agriculture and their claims against our business are generated with that specific goal in mind.”
– This is about Whole Foods misleading consumers that are buying meat,” Jared Goodman, director of animal law for PETA, said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “These are individuals who might make the decision not to buy meat. Whole Foods offers programs that give them impression that it is okay.”
– Whole Foods spokesman Michael Silverman: “It is important to remember that PETA’s mission is a total end to animal agriculture and their claims against our business are generated with that specific goal in mind.”