PETA's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad History of Killing Animals

What do you all think of this article about PETA? 


James McWilliams

James McWilliams - James McWilliams is an associate professor of history at Texas State University, San Marcos, and author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Re...

PETA's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad History of Killing Animals

By James McWilliams

Mar 12 2012, 8:06 AM ET 314

The organization, which claims to be dedicated to the cause of animal rights, can't explain why its adoption rate is only 2.5 percent for dogs.

In 2011, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) behaved in a regrettably consistent manner: it euthanized the overwhelming majority (PDF) of dogs and cats that it accepted into its shelters. Out of 760 dogs impounded, they killed 713, arranged for 19 to be adopted, and farmed out 36 to other shelters (not necessarily "no kill" ones). As for cats, they impounded 1,211, euthanized 1,198, transferred eight, and found homes for a grand total of five. PETA also took in 58 other companion animals -- including rabbits. It killed 54 of them.

These figures don't reflect well on an organization dedicated to the cause of animal rights. Even acknowledging that PETA sterilized over 10,500 dogs and cats and returned them to their owners, it doesn't change the fact that its adoption rate in 2011 was 2.5 percent for dogs and 0.4 for cats. Even acknowleding that PETA never turns an animal away -- "the sick, the scarred and broken, the elderly, the aggressive and unsocialized..." -- doesn't change the fact that Virginia animal shelters as a whole had a much lower kill rate of 44 percent. And even acknowledging that PETA is often the first to rescue pets when heat waves and hurricanes hit, that doesn't change the fact that, at one of its shelters, it kills 84 percent of supposedly "unadoptable" animals within 24 hours of their arrival.

Read the rest here.

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Replies to This Discussion

I did a little reading on this before and from what I gathered, the 2.5% figure for PETA is the very lowest it had and the 44% figure by the Virginia shelters was an all-time high, with average figures closer to double or triple that for PETA and half that for the Virginia shelters. (Those figures may be a bit off since it's been a while since I did the research and I tend to misremember details, but I think the point stands that they're comparing PETA's worst with other shelters' best.) I'm not entirely sure why, of all the shelters in the USA, they only used the figures for the ones in Virginia, either - and as the article itself admitted, PETA is fairly unique in having a no-turn-away policy and being on the front lines when natural disasters occur, so you'd assume their shelters would kill more animals with other variables being similar.

I hate to sound like a PETA shill (one friend I talked to about the issue stated that I sounded like a member of the Church of Scientology), but I just don't see where the controversy is coming from. I don't normally consider myself especially pro-PETA, but articles like this are just comparing apples and oranges and I don't feel like you can take a strong position. I don't see the data being gathered in a consistent, objective fashion anywhere in the article (most often it'll pick the most extreme examples it can find and then extrapolate off of that as though it were the average), so it's hard to draw a sharp conclusion. Maybe they do have a point and PETA is being hypocritical on this issue, but they're not going to prove that case with the data they're presenting here.

There are few ways more likely to get people riled up than a mention of PETA.  It's hard to know.  Certainly, a high percentage of euthanasias undercuts their credibility.  There was a rebuttal to the article as well.  I wil need to read that then get back to here.

Thanks for the link to the book, I read the first few pages and am very interested in the subject. The food 'system' is one of controversy of late, genetically modified foods, pink slime. Eating can be scary.

I look forward to downloading the book and reading more.

I think I will look into buying the book .. Looking interesting. Glad you like!


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