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.
Nearly a decade later, Daphna Nachminovitch still remembers the rerelease of the Disney classic “101 Dalmatians” and the tragedy that followed. First there was a spike in sales of the famous spotted breed. Then, in the months that followed, shelters took in hundreds of Dalmatians from disillusioned pet owners around the country. “As soon as the puppies outlived their cuteness and the kids didn’t want to scoop the poop anymore, the dogs were dumped in shelters,” says Nachminovitch, vice president of cruelty investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “Many of them had to be euthanized, because there was simply no place for them to go.”
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 organisation, 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.
In defense of its policy PETA has insisted that euthanasia is a necessary evil in a world full of unwanted pets. But while the group has some well-known allies, including the Humane Society of the United States, a growing number of animal rights activists claim to have found a better, more humane way.
“Over-population is a myth,” says attorney Nathan Winograd, whose recent book “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America”" chronicles the rise of the no-kill shelter movement. “With better outreach and public relations, we can find homes for virtually all of the healthy animals we are now killing.” As proof he points to a string of communities across the country whose shelters have managed to stop euthanizing all but the sickest animals. Bonney Brown, executive director of the Nevada Humane Society, says that in 2007, the first year her group went “no-kill,” her shelters managed to save 90 percent of the 8,000 animals they took in. Among other strategies, the organization ramped up its volunteer force, from 30 to 1,700, expanded its hours so that people could come in after work and engaged in extensive media outreach.
Why would an animal rights group secretly kill animals at its headquarters? PETA’s continued silence on the matter makes it hard to say for sure.
PETA has a $33 million annual budget. But instead of investing in the lives of the thousands of flesh and blood creatures in its care, the group spends millions on media campaigns telling Americans that eating meat, drinking milk, fishing, hunting, wearing leather shoes, and benefiting from medical research performed on lab rats are all “unethical.”
“With the resources at their disposal, PETA and the Humane Society of the U.S. could become no-kill in no time,” Winograd says. “Instead they have become leading killers of cats and dogs, and the animal-loving public unwittingly foots the bill through taxes and donations.”
Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life