People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describes itself as an abolitionist group in support of the total liberation of all animals. It is organized as a Virginia nonprofit organization that functions as a “humane society” and “releasing agency.” Ingrid Newkirk, the president and founder of PETA has stated that:
“If anybody wonders ‘what’s this with all these reforms?’, you can hear us clearly. Our goal is total animal liberation, and the day when everyone believes that animals are not ours to eat, not ours to wear, not ours to experiment [on], and not ours for entertainment or any other exploitive purpose.”
~ Ingrid Newkirk, 2002.
The first issue is “total animal liberation.” Although Newkirk may believe that domesticated dogs, cats, horses, etc. wish to be liberated in some Utopian paradise, no such place exists except perhaps in her mind. The reality is that wherever there are feral colonies of domesticated animals, those animals suffer. They suffer from starvation, lack of adequate shelter, injury and disease.
Domesticated dogs evolved living on the edge of human society and developed a symbiotic relationship with humans, an incredibly successful symbiotic relationship which makes them more in tune to human expressions and communication than any other animal in the world.
“Total animal liberation” is an ill conceived, naive, and frankly, asinine concept that, if achieved, would be hugely detrimental to the animals.
Newkirk told Michael Specter of The New Yorker that working for animal shelters in her twenties left her shocked at the way the animals were treated:
“I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, ‘John is kicking the dogs and putting them into freezers.’ Or I would say, ‘They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don’t care.’ In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through that. I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”
Specter, Michael. “The Extremist: The woman behind the most successful radical group in America”, The New Yorker, April 4, 2003. Apparently, at that time in her life, “total animal liberation” involved preemptively killing “a thousand” animals.
PETA’s track record as an organization is also controversial. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) formally petitioned Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to officially reclassify PETA as a slaughterhouse in 2008. The CCF claimed that according to PETA’s own official reports, PETA put to death nearly every dog, cat, and other pet it took in for adoption in 2006.
In 2006, PETA put to death 97.4 percent of all the domestic animals it took in, a percentage that steadily increased in each year between 2001, when PETA’s “kill rate” was 72.4 percent and 2006. In 2006, the Virginia state average for other humane societies was less than 35 percent. In 2006, PETA adopted out only 12 animals.
In 2007, two PETA employees were acquitted of animal cruelty after at least 80 euthanized animals were left in dumpsters in a shopping center in Ashoskie over the course of a month in 2005; the two employees were seen leaving behind 18 dead animals, and 13 more were found inside their van. The animals had been killed in their van, on the road after being picked up and taken from other shelters.
Newkirk’s legacy of liberation by death apparently continues.
I support the humane treatment and welfare of animals and I support stricter laws against the abuse and neglect of animals with weightier punishments.
I do not and cannot support ridiculous ideology and hypocrisy that leads to more suffering of animals. And that is, in my opinion, what PETA stands for.