According to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) killed 95 percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2008.

The report was compiled with public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; the animal rights group euthanizes an average of 5.8 pets every day at its Norfolk, Va. headquarters. The records showed that 2,124 pets were put to sleep last year and only seven were placed in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 21,339 dogs and cats have been euthanized.

“PETA hasn’t slowed down its hypocritical killing machine one bit, but it keeps browbeating the rest of society with a phony ‘animal rights’ message. What about the rights of the thousands of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens that die in PETA’s headquarters building?” said CCF Research Director David Martosko.

In defending the organization PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne said CCF is only concerned with protecting their interests rather than protecting animals.

“I think that there are two things that need to be mentioned. First, the fact that CCF is a group that is funded by the meat, alcohol, pharmaceutical and tobacco industries and most of those industries try to use their money to hide their bad practices. They know PETA is doing anything they can to expose the their wrong doings and they’ll do anything they can to fight back as well,” said Byrne.

The campaign manager added that euthanasia is not a subject people like to discuss critically, but that is used to point the finger. Because of “casual” pet acquisition, as Byrne put it, many animals that can be adopted at shelters are left without a home whenever people buy a pet from a breeder or a pet store. Furthermore, Byrne said that PETA puts pets to sleep only in cases where the animals have severe behavioral issues, like aggressiveness, or are too old or sick to be adopted.

“We think ourselves as the shelter of last resort because a lot of shelters give us animals that are not adoptable, they are euthanized just as they would be at other shelters and at least with us they are given a last resort in a loving and peaceful environment,” Byrne added.

But despite having a $32 million budget, PETA does not put that money or corresponding effort into an adoption shelter. The organization uses money from that budget to create campaigns like Animal Birth Control (ABC), which educates and encourages pet owners to spay and neuter their animals so that those at shelters do not have to compete with newborn kittens or puppies, amongst others.

“People who do care about these issues can help by never buying form a breeder or pet store but only adopting from a shelter and spaying and neutering pets. Our t blog is filled with photos of animals and the type of cases that PETA handles for euthanasia. After you read stories and look at photos to understand the way these animals are suffering, you can see why we have to do this,” said Byrne.

About The Author

Bessie King is a Blast contributing editor. She can be reached at [email protected]

13 Responses

  1. Lianne

    It’s disingenuous, to say the least, for the deceitfully-named Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) to complain about the number of unwanted and suffering animals whom PETA has been forced to euthanize because their guardians requested it, or because no good homes exist for them.

    CCF is a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters who kill millions of animals every year, not out of compassion, but out of greed. CCF promotes meat-eating and defends corporations that send billions of cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals to terrifying, gruesome, and painful deaths in slaughterhouses.

    PETA handled far more animals than 2,124 in 2008. In fact, we took in more than 10,000 dogs and cats, spaying and neutering all of them at low to no cost. We gave them shots, fixed their wounds and treated their illnesses, and returned them to the community. Most of the animals we took in and euthanized could hardly be called “pets,” as they had spent their lives on heavy chains, for instance. They were unsocialized, never having been inside a building of any kind or known a pat on the head. Others were indeed someone’s, but they were aged, sick, injured, dying, too aggressive to place, and the like, and PETA offered them a release from suffering, with no charge to their owners or custodians.

    Those figures also do not include the hundreds upon hundreds of dogs and cats whose suffering PETA works to alleviate by providing them with free food when their owners are poor, clean water buckets, sturdy dog houses, straw for winter, and more, or the hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats we will not take in but refer to walk-in animal shelters and adoption centers. Since 2001, PETA’s low- to no-cost spay-and-neuter mobile clinics, SNIP and ABC, have sterilized more than 50,000 animals, preventing hundreds of thousands of animals from being born, neglected, abandoned, abused, or euthanized when no one wanted them. We also actively decrease the number of animals who end up in animal shelters only to be euthanized for lack of good homes by using star power to promote spaying and neutering in ads across the country.
    On a national level, PETA is focusing on the root of the problem through our Animal Birth Control (ABC) campaign. The ABC campaign targets breeders, pet stores, and cat- and dog-breeding mills and in an active way through protests, PSAs, celebrity support, and investigations and puts the blame for the overpopulation crisis squarely where it belongs—with those who breed animals or allow their animals to breed. As long as animals are bred, homeless dogs and cats in animal shelters will die because there simply aren’t enough good homes for them all.

    As long as animals are still be purposely bred and people aren’t spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society’s dirty work. Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis. PETA is proud to be a “shelter of last resort,” where animals who have no place to go or who are unwanted or suffering are welcomed with love and open arms.

    You can read more about this in Ingrid Newkirk’s last blog:

  2. Gail

    The Virginia Beach SPCA, just down the road from PETA’s Norfolk headquarters, manages to adopt out the vast majority of the animals in its care. And it does it on a shoestring budget. There isn’t a pet overpopulation problem at all. Read Nathan Winograd’s book — “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation” and you’ll understand that it’s simply a marketing issue and that there are plenty of adoption homes!

    PETA collects abo0ut $31 million every year. That’s around $2.6 million a month. Or $615,000 every week. With that kind of money, don’t you think they should be finding the odd stray kitten a home.

  3. Maya

    Gail, I don’t represent PETA, but I read elsewhere that they refer adoptable animals to the Virginia Beach SPCA: I guess they should start referring ALL animals to local shelters to put an end to these “PETA Kills Animals” stories.

    The misnamed “Center for Consumer Freedom” seems to have become the national leaders of the “no kill” movement, even though they’re in favor of quite a bit of animal killing – even lab experiments on live dogs and cats that are later killed, as well as the Canadian seal hunt. They’ve defended the “lifesaving research” of Huntingdon Life Sciences, which killed 12,800 animals, including dogs, in Splenda experiments! They also defend the research of Covance, which conducts tobacco experiments on dogs. They’re funded by multi-billion dollar corporations, so perhaps they could hit up their corporate sugar daddies for some animal shelter money. They promote “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation” on their website, but write articles about the pet overpopulation problem: “Pet shelters are understaffed and overcrowded. Our few thousand operating shelters simply can’t handle the millions of cats and dogs they see each year.”

    And they accuse PETA of hypocrisy!

  4. David

    In 2008, PETA adopted out a total of 7 pets.

    They transferred 34 to other shelters.

    They killed 2,124.

    Any questions?

    • Jayne

      Yes, I have a question. Why can’t these sub-humans be stopped. Who issues their funding? I think if the funding stopped or was redirected to someone with ethics, maybe there would be more than 41 pets saved.

  5. Laura

    Yes, David I have questions. Is pet overpopulation a myth or not? Why does the Center for Consumer Freedom defend dog killers like Huntingdon Life Sciences?

  6. Big Mama

    The Center for Consumer Freedom is a front group for restaurants, junk food pushers and other animal abusers. They don’t care about dogs and cats and they’re being dishonest when they say those animals were “adoptable.” The Center for Consumer Freedom is located near Virginia. Why didn’t THEY adopt them? Do they look adoptable to you?

    The Center for Consumer Freedom is also not telling you that some of the shelters near PETA’s headquarters were shooting animals with rifles or gassing them in metal boxes. PETA’s getting the animals no one else wants.

    Pet overpopulation is not going away anytime soon, so neither is euthanasia. It’s an important lesson to spay and neuter your dogs and cats, don’t buy from breeders and don’t even get a pet until you’ve got the time and money to take care of them.

  7. Trevor

    “PETA and Euthanasia” at gives Peta’s side of the story.

  8. Man for the Ethical Treatment of Humans

    I have a question. So, you have a gun. There is a human and a dog standing in front of you. In order to have a chance to save the human, yuo must shoot the dog. What do you do?

  9. Ed

    I don’t believe that the animals PETA kills were adoptable, but even if they were so what?

    Seven million unwanted pets are killed each year in American shelters. Many of these really are adoptable, but there is no home for them. So they are killed. And some of those shelters are still using outdated and painful methods. If PETA found homes for all their animals that would just leave a few thousand fewer homes available for animals in these other shelters.

    PETA is doing no different than any of these shelters that kill unwanted pets. As for the no-kill movement, I don’t believe it can find homes for all. We have five “no-kill” shelters in my town. They try really hard to find homes for all the animals in their care and I applaud them. But they all take in a limited number and that’s it! All the animals they just don’t have room for are left to be killed at the city pound. Or turned away to even worse fates!


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