Picking Apart PETA’s “Humane Euthanasia” Myth
It’s no secret that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals kills thousands of animals each year — in 2014 PETA killed 2,324 of the 2,631 cats and dogs it took in. That statistic is from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as submitted to them by PETA itself, so those numbers are not up for debate. What is up for debate, according to PETA, is the reason their kill rate is so high.
PETA states the reason for such high kill numbers is because they offer free humane euthanasia to the community, and that they are the only shelter in the area offering this.
First, let’s set a few things aside. Let’s set aside the fact that they are not the only shelter in the area offering free humane euthanasia. Lets also set aside the fact that it is considered highly unethical for a shelter to euthanize an animal without first performing its own thorough evaluation process — a shelter following what is considered to be best shelter practices will euthanize because it is warranted, and not because a guardian says it must be done. Let’s also set aside Maya, who PETA stole and killed; the animals who PETA employees killed and whose bodies were dumped in North Carolina; and my own experiences while working for PETA.
So, with those pesky facts put in the naughty corner, let’s hypothetically say that PETA really is a “shelter of last resort,” as they assert. Let’s pretend that Mary Tully, self-proclaimed PETA expert and someone to whom PETA has referred people when they have questions about its shelter, is being honest when she says that PETA’s shelter exists primarily, possibly even “solely,” for the purposes of humane euthanasia.
If you still believe these lies that PETA and its apologists are peddling ask yourself this question: why, if its shelter exists primarily (solely?) for the purposes of offering free humane euthanasia, does PETA even bother to go through the rigmarole of being a licensed private animal shelter? Why not, instead, integrate their free humane euthanasia service into their mobile spay/neuter clinic? Seems like a simple enough solution and it sure would save them a lot of headache and expense — just in lobbyist fees alone. After all, they don’t need to be a shelter in order to provide free humane euthanasia. And they could still adopt out the handful of animals they find homes for each year, private citizens do it all the time — it doesn’t require a license.
So, if it’s true that they exist primarily for the purposes of humane euthanasia, and if it’s a viable option for them to no longer be a shelter and still provide this service, why do they continue to spend so much money, and undergo such public scrutiny and backlash, in order to be a licensed private animal shelter? It doesn’t make any sense. And that’s because the shelter that exists for the primary purposes of free humane euthanasia is all part of the facade.
The vast majority of animals surrendered to PETA are not given to them by guardians for the purpose of humane euthanasia but for the purpose of rehoming. The vast majority of animals PETA takes in aren’t terminally ill, or hopelessly aggressive, or aged and suffering — they are healthy and adoptable. This was exactly the case with a mother cat and her two kittens a veterinarian handed over to PETA employees who told him they would try to find them homes — rather than do that they killed them in the PETA van. During my employment with PETA I was instructed to say whatever needed to be said in order to get guardians to surrender their animals to me. And being able to tell people that they run a private licensed animal shelter makes it so much easier to convince guardians that new homes will be found. After all, a shelter run by the world’s leading animal rights group should be the safest place in the world for an animal needing a new life. At least that’s what trusting guardians are led to believe. In actuality, it’s a death trap.
*A note to Virginians about what you can do to stop PETA’s killing. PETA is attempting to undermine important animal welfare legislation that would help prevent them from killing the vast majority of animals they take in. For more information about this please go here. It is so important for us to keep contacting our legislators to tell them we want PETA’s killing to stop. For more information about how you can help please see this action alert from No Kill Hampton Roads. UPDATE: Please see this new action alert from No Kill Hampton Roads. We have more time to contact legislators, we need to seize that!