A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

PETA Euphemizes as it ‘Euthanizes’

Asked about the staggering number of dogs, cats and other animals that PETA kills at its headquarters in Virginia, Daphna Nachminovitch told Newsweek:

“We would rather offer these animals a painless death than have them tortured, starved, or sold for research.”

How nice of them to “offer” the animals a nice death rather than the risky choice of life in a new family home. I wonder how Ingrid Newkirk and Daphna Nachminovich, her spokesperson on pet issues, make this offer? Do they explain to Fido and Fluffy that they’d be better off dead than running the risk of their new family torturing and starving them?

And do Fido and Fluffy then have a choice? (“Thanks for the offer, Ingrid. Sounds like a plan.”)

With a budget well over $35 million a year, is the world’s largest animal “rights” organization truly incapable of finding homes for the dogs and cats they personally rescue? Do all the potential homes seem to be filled with secret sadists masquerading as happy families?

Oh please!

Finding homes for homeless pets is not rocket science. When scientist Frank Peek and his wife, Aileen, retired, they decided to do something for stray dogs in the remote region of Southern Colorado where they live. Frank and Aileen used their savings to build a shelter next to their home. They started a spay/neuter program, and they began gathering up homeless dogs from underprivileged areas far and wide. Twice a month, Aileen drives 30 or more of the dogs to Colorado Springs – a three-to-four-hour journey – where volunteers meet them at a PetSmart store to help with the adoptions. They place most of them in good homes – more than 700 a year.

(And to the best of their knowledge, none of the adopted dogs have later been tortured, starved or sold to research.)

Last year, with its huge budget, PETA took in 778 dogs – about the same number as Frank and Aileen. They killed 713 at their offices, and found homes for 19. Others were handed over to a local shelter, where they, too, may have been killed. PETA also took in 1,214 homeless cats and killed 1,198 of them. And their report to the Virginia Department of Agriculture shows that they took in 58 other companion animals – rabbits, hamsters, etc. – and killed 54 of them.

(The 2011 report is here. And earlier reports can be accessed here.)

None of this should be news to any of us in the world of animal protection. Killing homeless pets has been Ingrid Newkirk’s modus operandi since the time when she held the job of killing animals at the Washington Humane Society. Exactly what is the psychology that lies behind her philosophy that they’re all better off dead is something many of us have speculated on. But more urgent right now is the need simply to stop the killing – and the Kool-Aid madness to which PETA staffers meekly subscribe. (Those who disagree with the policy apparently get fired.)

The rights of animals

The single primary obligation of any animal rights organization is surely to protect the lives of the animals you rescue. If PETA can’t even give the animals in their own office the right to life, then there’s little else we can expect them to be able to accomplish in the long run.

Newkirk and Nachminovich know perfectly well that on any given day there are millions of good homes available. If these two women seriously think that new families they screen and visit are still likely to be closet torturers, they need to get out of the animal rescue business altogether.

If they think it costs too much time or money to find good homes, then they could cut back a bit on a few of those “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”billboards. Frankly, the ads can’t be working very well since the fur industry seems to be no closer to shutting down than it ever was.

The single primary obligation of any animal rights organization is to protect the lives of the animals you rescue.

Sadly, PETA’s killing machine has been a gift beyond imagining to the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a lobbying group for the animal exploitation industry. Every year, its executive director, Rick Berman, publicizes the report that PETA, which is a registered “shelter” in the state of Virginia, sends in to the state Department of Agriculture.

Berman is actively lobbying for PETA’s headquarters to be labeled as a “slaughterhouse” rather than a shelter. It’s hard to disagree with him.

But while Berman and his lobbyists take PETA to task, the animal protection world keeps largely silent. Is that because humane groups feel powerless in the face of PETA’s big, bold lies, its Orwellian propaganda machine, and its frequent threats of lawsuits? Or perhaps that we feel obliged not to police our own movement in case we appear to be divided?

Whatever the reason for our continued silence. Newkirk and Nachminovich keep getting away with it. And with the blood of so many thousands of animals on their hands, and all the guilt that they have to bury under mounds of rationalizations and justifications, these two Lady Macbeths are probably incapable of stopping on their own. Just for starters, they’d have to admit to themselves that all those homeless pets never needed to be killed in the first place.

No, the only way PETA is ever going to stop the killing spree is when the rest of the humane world brings concerted pressure on it. PETA may have the bigger propaganda machine, but over the past 20 years, the no-kill movement has been hugely successful in bringing down the numbers of dogs and cats being killed in shelters. Spay/neuter and adoption programs have flourished. And while there’s still more work to be done, the wind is in our sails.

With nothing more than their personal retirement budget and some small adoption fees, Frank and Aileen Peek are rescuing, caring for, and rehoming the same number of homeless pets each year that PETA kills. With that in mind, it is surely time for all of us – shelters and animal protection organizations of every size and stripe, along with our members – to speak up with a single, united voice against this travesty, and to shame PETA, if that’s what it takes, into stopping this unconscionable madness.