And kills 2124 in 2008.
In 2007, PETA saves 17 and kills 1815
In 2006, PETA saves 12 and kills 2981
In 2005, PETA saves 146 and kills 1946
And on it goes.
It does seem unbelievable that an organization that purports to care for animals, spends so much time killing them. It's like something Orwell might dream up. Or maybe just someone with a hate on for PETA and yet here is the animal accounting filed by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for 2008 (the numbers under the column heading "Reclaimed by Owner" are for spay/neuter services and aren't added into the adopted/euthanized figures). Click on image for larger size:
PETA's submissions to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for earlier years can be found here:
PETA's usual response to this massacre is basically akin to the reasoning they gave for suggesting that all the Vick dogs be euthanized. From PETA's blog:
Every day that these dogs remain in kennels at animal shelters is a day of increased euthanasia rates for the potentially adoptable animals that the shelters must put to death for lack of space. There is only so much space, and resources are limited. May I humbly suggest that instead of raising hell and raising money to try to “rehabilitate” these dogs, and instead of flying to Virginia to “save the Vick dogs,” we do less “heroic” but even more important things to save dogs’ lives. When it comes to euthanasia, every day’s real world choice is of which not if — making the choice to demand that fighting dogs be “saved” is a soothing fantasy, more about public relations and, in some obvious cases, about fundraising, than about truly helping the most dogs in the most productive ways.
There is so much wrong with the whole of that particularly twisted blog entry, it's mind boggling, but let's just stick with the paragraph above. It's essentially saying that because of real world constraints, decisions need to be made as to which dogs deserve to be saved and which ones deserve to die. On the surface, that sounds like a pretty valid point.
Unfortunately, in practice, that's bullshit. No one carries around a list of traits to check off for animals that can be saved versus traits for animals that can't be saved. Acts of compassion aren't based purely on cost/benefit analyses. If that were the case, we'd all be too busy haggling over the list of the most worthy causes to ever actually do anything worthwhile.
I have to wonder what the cut-off is to make the grade at PETA to not be killed.
Euthman: Okey dokey, we've got 10 dogs here. Let's see which one of you lucky ones gets to be put up for adoption and which get snuffed.
Euthwoman: This one's all chewed up. Looks like it's been in a lot of dogfights.
Euthman: Well, then that one's no good. Obviously money can be better spent on dogs that are healthier. Sorry buddy but it looks like no tomorrow for you. No hard feelings?
Euthwoman: This one looks kind of sick. Its nose is dry.
Euthman: Yeah, I left the hand cleaner behind so if that one's sick keep it away from me. Nix.
Euthwoman: This pup's looking at me funny.
Euthman: That's a sure sign of aggression. Can't be wasting money on aggressive animals when there are so many friendlier ones out there.
Euthwoman: This one keeps licking my hand.
Euthman: That's some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder for sure. Probably suffers from separation anxiety too. Nix.
Euthwoman: These five are running around playing with each other.
Euthman: Yes, it's sad isn't it?
Euthwoman: Why's that sad?
Euthman: They've been so mistreated all their lives they're scared to death of people. We can't possibly allow their mental anguish to continue. PTS all of them.
Euthwoman: Okay and this last one. Mmm, uhh, I don't see anything wrong with it. Oh wait. It's dead already.
There was an interesting, though short-lived, dialogue which recently went on at The New York Times between sports writer, Toni Monkovic, and Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA, in which Monkovic decided that if he had a choice between surrendering his dog to Michael Vick or PETA, he'd pick Vick because it would have a better chance of coming out alive. Newkirk took exception to that editorial and wrote one back:
It’s easy to point the finger at those of us 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. It makes it easy for people to throw stones at us, but we are against all needless killing: for hamburgers, fur collars, dissection, sport hunting ― the works.
Yes, but is PETA against the needless killing of animals for the sake of needless killing?
Nathan Winograd, the world's foremost promoter of no-kill shelters has something to say about that in his blog post The Butcher of Norfolk:
PETA has argued that all of the animals it kills are “unadoptable.” ... But this claim is a lie. It is a lie because the numbers historically come from the State of Virginia’s reporting form which only asks for data for animals taken into custody “for the purpose of adoption.” It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making that determination. It is a lie because rescue groups and individuals have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable. It is a lie because testimony under oath in court from a veterinarian showed that PETA was given healthy and adoptable animals who were later found dead by PETA’s hands, their bodies unceremoniously thrown away in a supermarket dumpster. And it is a lie because Newkirk herself admitted as much.
In a December 2, 2008 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Stroumboulopoulos asks Newkirk: “Do you euthanize those pets, the adoptable ones, if you get them?” To which Newkirk responds: “If we get them, if we cannot find a home, absolutely.” In short, Newkirk admits that PETA “absolutely” kills savable animals.
Here is that interview starting at the 10:00 mark:
Of course, I'd like to know how much effort PETA puts into finding suitable homes for the animals they grab.
Daphna Nachminovitch, the supervisor of PETA's Community Animal Project, CAP, gives some good insight into PETA's philosophy put into practice. In early 2007, she was on the witness stand in a trial involving two PETA employees caught dumping dead animals they had just killed in their van into a grocery store dumpster.
From Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald's article "DA probes into PETA procedures" (the paper did some in-depth coverage of that trial): Nachminovitch added that the CAP protocol for field visits included euthanizing the animals at the site.
Hmm. Euthanized at the site. Doesn't sound like they spend much time at all looking for potential homes.
Oh, but wait. Maybe all those animals they euth'd were all sick and on the verge of death anyway.
At least one of the dogs found dead in an Ahoskie dumpster on June 15 has been diagnosed as healthy.
That is according to an autopsy performed by the North Carolina Medical Board. They forwarded their findings to Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh who had solicited the Medical Board's assistance to help determine the cause of death of 31 animals in the care of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Okay, so maybe that was a slip up.
On Wednesday of last week, the longtime Hertford County veterinarian handed over a mother cat and two kittens to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) representatives Andrew Benjamin Cook of Virginia Beach, Va. and Adria Joy Hinkle of Norfolk, Va.
The felines, all strays brought to Proctor's business - Ahoskie Animal Hospital - were in good health, according to the local vet. He said there was no one on his list that had expressed an interest in adopting cats, so he contacted PETA.
"They (Cook and Hinkle) came to the office last Wednesday and picked-up the cat and two kittens," Dr. Proctor recalled. "So, imagine my surprise when I learned they allegedly dumped dead animals in a trash bin later that some day."
As Britney would say, Oops, I did it again.
Here is, I think, the best quote from that series of articles on that particular trial:
Who else [but PETA] could have a department known as Domestic Animal and Wildlife Rescue and then claim they are forced to end the miserable lives of these poor, unwanted animals. If that is their definition of rescue, I sincerely hope that if I’m drowning, they’re not the first on the scene. I may be on the receiving end of a cinderblock rather than a life preserver.
And please don’t respond with the tired excuse that all the pets at our local pounds are unhealthy and have to be put to sleep. That’s your wet dream, not ours. If it were the case, then how has an under funded group of volunteers, aka PAWS of Hertford County, adopted out nearly 300 animals since July of last year. If PETA’s “rescue” program had their way, those 300 pets would all be dead by now.
That, of course, is PETA's excuse for killing put into practice. There will always be "better" animals to save so why not just kill the one you've got.
It may sound like a dilemma - which animals deserve saving - but it's not really. The answer's pretty simple if saving animals is the real goal for PETA.
Here's one answer to PETA's dilemma: You save the one that is in front of you.
A doctor walking to work sees a traffic accident where a pedestrian is hit by a car and may not survive. The doctor stops and aids the victim. According to PETA, though, the doctor should ignore the victim and just keep going because she's got lots of patients already waiting for her at the clinic with much easier problems to solve like colds and sprained fingers.
Here's another answer: You save the one that you can readily save.
A young man eating a sandwich is sees an older man, hungry, sitting on the sidewalk. The younger man gives the older man half his sandwich. According to the PETA philosophy, the younger man is in the wrong and instead should have searched out the hungriest person in the world and sent the sandwich to that person.
And here's another: You save the one you want to save.
There are often no clear cut reasons for putting more effort into one being over another. Maybe it all comes down to the level of emotional attachment. Maybe it's because someone likes short haired dogs over long haired ones. Whatever. The important thing is that an animal is saved. Of course the problem with this answer arises if you don't actually want to save anything.
Which brings us back to the PETA statistic of 2124 killed versus 7 which were allowed to live.
Those 7 must have been fuckin saints.
There's been much written about this already so if you want to read more, you can start with Gina Spadafori's blog entry at Pet Connection Blog and then follow her links.