Does PETA have the right to determine what’s “humane” considering their views on animals? by Adele Douglass
I don’t think you can stand in the way of progress for farm animals, euthanize more dogs and cats than other animal shelters, and still call yourself a “humane” organization.
The PETA animal shelter in Norfolk, Va., euthanizes dogs and cats in far greater numbers than does other animal shelters in Virginia.
According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA has euthanized more than 33,514 animals since 1998 at its Norfolk shelter. In 2014, the group euthanized 2,454 of the 3,369 cats, dogs and other animals there. Most were “surrenders” – pets turned into shelters by their previous owners. Only 23 dogs and 16 cats were adopted.
By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA in 2014, but saved 94 percent of its homeless pets. Other animal shelters in the state found homes for more than 90 percent of their animals, and without the $51,933,001 that PETA raised in contributions and merchandising in 2014.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes, of the Richmond SPCA, once wrote on the shelter’s blog, “Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent. It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes, but almost entirely to take their lives.”
Meanwhile, the elimination of pets rather than finding the animals new homes appears to be something PETA embraces. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk once admitted, “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself … I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day. The animals…got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had. How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!”
According to an article published in the Huffington Post in 2015, a former PETA employee, Heather Harper-Troje, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, alleged that Newkirk authorized her and other employees to steal and kill pets, then falsify records in order to cover their tracks. Harper-Troje said, “If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them . . . It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure . . . If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof, there is no trail.”
America has been hoodwinked to think that PETA wants to help animals, when in fact it wants to eliminate pet ownership and sever all our ties with the animal kingdom.
PETA’s Web site and print material states:
“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.”
“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.”
“The cat, like the dog, must disappear…We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist.”
“As John Bryant has written in his book ‘Fettered Kingdoms,’ they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves.”
“In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme.”
[Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild…they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch T.V.”
“The bottom line is that people don’t have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats. If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.”
That will not likely sit well with the estimated 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats living with people in the United States. [Source: American Pet Product Association]
As the executive director for Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), I have spent 35 years working on animal protection issues. After seeing laying hens crammed in cages and pigs confined to gestation crates, I launched HFAC in 2003 to improve the lives of farm animals raised for food.
However, HFAC’s mission is not to turn everyone into vegans. With 95 percent of the U.S. eating meat, HFAC offers a realistic approach to helping farm animals with standards of care written by the world’s top animal welfare scientists. These standards ensure farm animals cage-free, allowed to exhibit natural behaviors, receive humane care throughout their lives, and includes humane slaughter guidelines. The standards also require the animals’ diets are free from hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products. HFAC uses third-party independent inspectors to perform audits for the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program, which has grown from 143,000 farm animals in 2003 to more than 103 million farm animals today in four countries.
All too often animal rights groups such as PETA sabotage farm animal welfare progress. Although they may appear to attack factory farming, they go after animal welfare groups such as ours that are trying to improve the lives of farm animals. They would rather see farm animals suffer to promote their agenda than support compassionate standards and systemic change to the farm animal system. That’s the height of hypocrisy to me. They would rather go after companies and farmers who have actually worked very hard to raise the animals the right way.
A growing number of farmers, producers, grocery stores, and retailers who want to improve the lives of farm animals, are under constant pressure by PETA to halt this progress because PETA believes factory farming will result in more vegetarians and vegans. Recently, fast-food retailer, Tasty Burger succumbed to PETA’s pressure to drop HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label from its menu because as PETA puts it, “the only truly humane meal is a vegan meal.” PETA also went after Whole Foods, asking that firm to remove “humane,” “humanely-raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials.
Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle quickly came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “This is why I am troubled that PETA has chosen to sue Whole Foods in an apparent attempt to undermine or call into question the value of the GAP program. This is counterproductive, especially in a marketplace where there are dozens of other chains nearly exclusively selling factory farm animal products. Not one of them has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”
PETA’s Newkirk was once quoted as saying, “Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
People who choose to be vegans and vegetarians will not be persuaded to eat meat because of
HFAC’s standards. Putting pressure on businesses that want to make a difference for farm animals and keeping the status quo of factory farming alive only increases animal suffering. Any progress for animals is seen as a loss by PETA because it wants animals gone from our lives. That’s PETA’s warped strategy – a strategy that causes farm animals to continue to suffer in factory farms because that better supports their agenda.
The fact that this group continues to portray itself as the humane stewards of animals is duplicitous. I don’t think you can call yourself “humane” while you’re standing in the way of the humane treatment of farm animals and euthanizing dogs and cats at a 99 percent rate at your shelter. They’re not interested in creating a humane world, only a world where our relationship with animals is broken. Does this sound like an organization working on “humane” changes for animals?