So, some of you all recently informed me about the current PETA scandal. For those of you who don’t know, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a massive animal rights organization that receives about 36 million dollars a year in donations and has about two million fans. It’s been around since 1980, and its headquarters is located in Norfolk, VA.
PETA has often received criticism for its practices – it spends a decent amount of money on media campaigns and general awareness-raising, which is well and fine. The problem here, the thing that people are getting upset about, is that PETA runs an animal shelter out of Norfolk where in the last year almost 90 percent of the animals taken in were euthanized. This is obviously horrible, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when considering the way PETA runs their shelter.
The only news I could find about the PETA shelter (and that was only after someone commented me the link) was a website called www.PETAkillsanimals.com. I read the front page, which seemed fine. They are stating facts about PETA’s shelter. But if you scroll down to the “Recent News” section, all of the articles are from the website of the Center for Consumer Freedom. These articles have sensational and accusatory titles, so I tried to figure out what the CCF is all about. As it turns out, they’re a lobbying group for the meat, tobacco and alcohol industries, and they created the aforementioned website. Some of their past endeavors include fighting against bills to ban smoking from restaurants and campaigns against organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they produce propaganda that tells people that obesity isn’t that bad, and have fought against tighter blood alcohol limits for drivers. These people are what should come to mind when you think “scum of the earth.” Their most recent target is PETA – and if you were making millions of dollars in the meat industry, wouldn’t you want to take out America’s largest and loudest animal rights organization?
Another important fact is that PETA is not alone in the killing of shelter animals. Many shelters, for whatever reason, have experienced a recent decline in adoptions. No-kill shelters are very costly to run, so the only alternative that most shelters have is to euthanize animals. It’s horrible. But unfortunately, we don’t find it as important to donate to no-kill animal shelters as we do to organizations that seek to cure cancer or provide clean water to developing countries. Most individuals would rather give money to a cause that’s personally significant to them. Isn’t it funny that this lobbying group that so viciously attacks PETA receives donations (I couldn’t find an exact number, but rest assured that it’s at least in the tens of millions) from companies like Philip Morris, Wendy’s, and Coca-cola, and doesn’t donate any money to no-kill shelters? Isn’t that what the CCF is so upset about – the unnecessary killing of animals?
PETA is not innocent in all of this. An organization that receives so much money and is so publicly visible can and should run a no-kill shelter, if it’s going to run one at all. But please, don’t let corporate assholes influence you. And don’t let PETA’s failure influence your opinion of the animal rights campaign. There are no-kill shelters, and thousands of people who work to keep them open. The euthanization of shelter animals is a sad reality that can only be combated by supporting no-kill establishments, and by spaying and neutering pets.