Op-Ed: Is PETA Really Ethical?
Reports regarding a hefty kill rate in their shelters have forced some to question PETA's ethicsPublished July 26, 2012
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims to be the largest animal rights organization in the world.
Prominently posted on PETA’s website is their mission statement, which reads as follows:
“PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other "pests" as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.”
PETA’s mission statement has convinced many animal lovers to believe that PETA is a humane and compassionate institution working toward the goal of ending cruelty to domesticated animals. In fact, years ago, being quite naive, I was one of these animal lovers who regularly donated to PETA. I trusted that the money I sent the organization would be used to help and protect a wide variety of animals and to also find adoptive homes for abandoned and neglected companion animals
It’s important to understand that PETA is an “animal rights” organization, not an animal welfare group. Animal rights groups subscribe to the belief that animals have the same value as humans. Hunting should be outlawed, and there should be no consumption of animal products or any animals used in farming. They also believe cats, dogs, horses and other animal species should not be kept as pets. On the other hand, animal welfare groups maintain the goal of improving the lives of animals, and finding loving, adoptive homes for needy pets.
However, the more I am learning from folks connected with no-kill shelters and people involved in animal welfare about the abuses PETA is perpetrating upon the innocent animals which the organization vowed to save, I am becoming increasingly troubled.
Even though PETA is an animal rights organization and not an animal welfare group, I was dismayed to learn that according to a recent article in the Atlantic (March 2012) PETA euthanized an overwhelming number of dogs and cats held at their shelters. They killed 713 of the 760 dogs they impounded, arranging only 19 to be adopted, and transferred 36 to other shelters which may not have been "no kill" ones. They impounded 1,211 cats, euthanized 1,198, transferred eight, and found homes for only five. They took in 58 other species of companion animals (including rabbits) and killed 54 of them. Perhaps a small percentage of these animals were seriously injured, terminally ill or otherwise considered “unadoptable”, but what about the animals who were excellent candidates for adoption?
That’s more than a hefty kill-rate, especially for an organization whose mission statement professes their goal as “ending cruelty to domesticated animals.”
The majority of pet guardians consider their companion animals as part of the family on an equal level to their two legged kin. While in the past PETA has raised public awareness about the fur industry, and the use of animal testing in the manufacture of many common household products, my question is: why then, is PETA killing so many animals?
What are your thoughts about PETA? Share them in a comment.
The opinions expressed in here are solely those of the writer.