How Ethical is PETA’s Treatment to Animals?

Ingrid Newkirk (Getty Images)

Ingrid Newkirk (Getty Images)

When one hears about the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) the first time, images of animal-saving efforts and crusades for protection of animal rights come to mind. However, the horrors masked by the sublime facade of this non-profit organization are all too great not to go unnoticed by the general public, including supporters who wrongfully believed in the cause it claimed to serve.

Through the years, the two-faced organization has attracted detractors in people who could not stomach its vicious scheme of non-subscription to the superior dictum “right to life” of animals.

Moreover, PETA is also infamous for its insensitive acts and means to forward the motto it prides itself with: “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way,” often times engaging in campaigns featuring naked women and making them vulnerable to exploitation.

PETA’s critics debase the seemingly exaggerated war the organization wages against those who eat meat and support animal testing for medication production purposes, especially when PETA is believed to kill animals for the petty reason that it has not enough room to house the pitiful creatures.

If not for animal saving and rescue, where does over $30,000,000 annual revenue of PETA go? Where do your donations go?

Well, PETA spends money for purchase of giant walk-in freezers which store the remains of the animals after they were injected with fatal doses of poison designed to end their lives. Thereafter, the “Pet Cremation Services of Tidewater,” does the remaining work.

PETA believes that animals have the right to die a humane death. But how humane of a death do animals receive in the hands of PETA employees?

Charged with 31 felony counts and animal abuse, two PETA employees faced ridicule from the public when in 2005, they were caught disposing the remains of animals considered “healthy” and “adoptable”  by a veterinarian who was trying to find them homes before PETA shouldered the responsibility.

In reality, PETA does not even try to find home for the animals it takes into custody. Its founder, Ingrid E. Newkirk admitted to killing healthy and treatable animals, answering “absolutely” with utter conviction when asked whether or not PETA kills.

She later qualified her answer, saying they kill adoptable and healthy animals only when they couldn’t find them homes. Ironically, it must be known that she furthered her statement by saying that they are not a ‘home-finding business’ at all.

The investigation by Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is another story. The visit disclosed that PETA facility “does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody.” Also, the shelter is not accessible to the public, and does not engage in efforts to promote and facilitate the adoption of animals it houses. PETA does not list adoption hours nor it has adoption rooms.

If this was the truth, then how could PETA claim that they only kill adoptable animals when no home has been found for them and when “nobody wants them,” if they never offered these animals for adoption in the first place?

Isn’t it flawed reasoning if PETA kills less healthy and treatable animals so the healthier ones will have greater chances at survival? Also, how could it be said that animals with certain disabilities are completely unwanted by all animal lovers? Wouldn’t it be jumping into conclusion, especially if no efforts have been exerted to find them homes?

Surely, there are people out there with welcoming arms who would be enamored to adopt and save struggling animals desperate for a home. The problem is that they are never informed nor given the opportunity to do so.

With all these said, it then becomes unsurprising that PETA kills 4 in every 5 animals it takes into custody, and around 90% of them were killed within their 24 hours of stay in this animal-killing facility.

Since 1998, PETA has killed around 32,000 animals. Last year alone, out of the 2175 animals it received, it killed 1792 or 82.4%. The percentage of animals it kills each year is ever disquieting: 89.4% in 2012; 95.9% in 2011; 93.8% in 2010; 97.3% in 2009; 95.8% in 2008; and the preceding years with not less than 72 percent of killing rate. These figures are more than enough affirmation to the fact that PETA kills animals more than it saves them.

In addition to this, PETA is believed to support the ‘pit bull policy,’ which calls for the mass extermination of pit bulls. Another predicament encapsulated in this proposed movement against pit bulls is the ambiguity of such distinction.

It is reported that “pit bull” is merely a “catch-all term used to describe a continually expanding incoherent group of dogs.” Thus, the killing of pit bulls would mean the killing of dogs which people believe subscribe to the stereotype of the equivocal breed of pit bulls.

PETA also advocates the killing of feral cats. It has reportedly defeated Sb 1320, the law which have acknowledged other nonlethal options to release feral cats, instead of killing them in Florida, “providing that release of community cat by a community cat program is not abandonment or unlawful release of the cat under specified provision.”

This called for public outrage, especially from donors who believed they were affiliated with an organization which only has the best interest of animals in mind.

When asked for comments on the issues raised, Ms. Jessica Johnson, PETA’s media liaison, opted to direct us to the website of PETA instead, saying “it provides information and videos that highlight the works of PETA’s rescue team and the organization as a whole.”

On their website, it was said that PETA “will basically take anything that comes through the door, and other shelters won’t do that.” This perhaps is their comment whenever they are compared with the rising number of “no-kill” shelters. PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch was even noted saying: “It’s stunning that shelters that tout ‘no-kill’ policies direct people to the very facilities that they publicly condemn.”

Could this statement justify PETA’ decision of killing animals over the years of its operation? More likely not. Perhaps it’s time to correct misinterpretations about PETA: that it is an organization devoted to fighting for animal rights and sheltering the homeless animals that need helping for not being in the best of health. After all, PETA seems to have a singular, simple answer to address all forms of animal suffering and need: DEATH.

So before we answer how ethical PETA’s treatment to animals is, first we should answer the question: Is it ethical at all?