One day I was reading Flaming Vegan while i was eating lunch, and a comment on a blog caught my eye. Someone mentioned in their comment that PETA kills animals. The person included a link to check it out. I have to admit, I was blindsided. When I thought of PETA, I thought of over the top, flamboyant protests, with stunts so outrageous that the news media is on it in a heart beat. I thought of them as an advocacy group that tried to overall improve the lot of all animals, from the victims of factory farms to the stray on the street. Honestly, I didn't even know that they ran a shelter. I immediately clicked on the link.
What I found was agonizing. I've done rescue on a grassroots level. I've done the kind of rescue where you physically interact with a colony of feral cats and try to catch, spay, neuter, feed and adopt out kittens after you've tamed them and brought them back to health. For years we fostered kittens. I'm a "think globally, act locally" kind of girl, so I never personally interacted with an organization the size of PETA. The organizations I'm familiar with haul puppies and dogs up north from the bowels of kill shelters in the south, then distribute them to foster families that care for them until they get a permanent home. The animal is assimilated into the family, and once a family of their own is found, the cycle repeats. I was not prepared for what found.
In a nutshell, they run a kill shelter. Their 2012 percentage of kills exceeds many of the shelters that admit that they're kill shelters, and announce to the rescue goups that they are a kill shelter, SO COME AND GET 'EM. They're been brought up on charges for improperly disposing of bodies. The stories were heart wrenching, and covered many years. I contacted an animal advocacy group in a local state to find out if it was really true. I wanted them to tell me that everything I had read was lies. instead, I got "scolded" for daring to question the actions of the almighty PETA. Seriously?!? He said it was uninformed people like me that gave PETA a bad name. He was more interested in helping the animal trapped in the cycle of factory farming than the little guy on the street. Though I have to admit I've been tempted to steal a calf out of a veal pen a time or two, I know my limitations and am more equipped to save cats and dogs than livestock. I don't eat animals, and hope that I can influence and educate people other ways about factory farming. I truthfully want them all saved.
It turns out I'm not alone in thinking that PETA's actions are hypocritical. Many reputable animal rights groups oppose PETA. My husband contacted PETA, and they wrote back. He received a much more profesional letter than I did from the group in the next state. Yes, they admitted that they euthanize, and added that they report all of their numbers to the state as they are required to do. They did not include the numbers.
I understand that sometimes the kindest thing that you can do for an animal is to put it down. When they are sick and in pain, or dying, and there is no hope of recovery, the kindest thing you can do is end the suffering. I am not talking about hat kind of killing.
So friends, check it out! I'm afraid that this blog might stir up a hornet's nest, but I promised myself I'd tell everyone I know. Spend your charitable dollars elsewhere, with a group that's more above board. I don't know how I missed this piece of news, but everyone I've talked to except one friend who runs a horse rescue, had no idea either. Check out the actual numbers, read the police report you'll find, ask your local rescue what they know, see where ETA's money actually goe . Maybe you'll find that they aren't what you thought they were either. We have a right to know.
PS: Thank you to the person that opened my eyes. I'm not sure you want the limelight in my blog, or I would include your name. I am sure that since you're so passionate about the topic, you'll find this.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)