Many people are accusing well-known animal rights charity PETA of hypocrisy today.
The criticism is in response to documents obtained from the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services revealing that the charity euthanized 90 percent of the animals brought into its Virginia HQ last year.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, famous for campaigning against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation, euthanized 1,647 cats and dogs last year while placing only 19 in new homes.
According to the report, PETA took in 1,110 cats and 733 dogs in 2012. Twenty-two cats and 108 dogs were transferred to another shelter, and two cats and three dogs were reclaimed by their owner. Meanwhile, 1,045 cats and 602 dogs were euthanized.
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The documents also reveal that PETA has euthanized 29,398 animals since 1998.
The statistics are being promoted by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a restaurant advocacy coalition that has had issues with PETA in the past. Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at the coalition, accused PETA of reaching “the height of hypocrisy” in light of the findings.
“It seems PETA is more dedicated to publicity stunts than to keeping the animals in its own care alive,” he said. “It’s the height of hypocrisy for PETA to demonstrate for the 'rights' of rats and pigs, while killing tens of thousands of pets. It’s time that the Commonwealth of Virginia finally reclassifies PETA’s pet shelter for what it is – a slaughterhouse.”
A PETA spokeswoman responded to the criticism, saying the organization has no choice but to euthanize many of the animals it takes in.
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“We have a small division that does hands-on work with animals, and most of the animals we take in are society's rejects; aggressive, on death's door, or somehow adoptable,” she said.
The spokeswoman also criticized the Center for Consumer Freedom, saying “CCF's goal is to damage PETA by misrepresenting the situation and the number of unwanted and suffering animals.”
An additional statement from PETA said that “PETA refers adoptable animals to the high-traffic open-admission shelters where they have the best chance of being seen and finding a new home.”
Previously, PETA has said euthanasia is a last resort for the animals they bring into shelters. “Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis,” they said.
However, critics are not buying PETA’s reasoning, saying the organization should be able to achieve higher adoption rates with its $37 million annual budget.
Although PETA euthanizes about 90 percent of the animals they take in, the charity estimates that only 50 percent of animals taken into shelters nationwide are euthanized.