By Gina Spadafori
September 19, 2007
Good question, and Nathan Winograd asks it, in the latest of his blog posts:
[M]any animal rights activists blindly follow PETAâ€™s lead, whitewashing killing even in the face of No Kill alternatives and the success of shelters like Tompkins County [which Winograd runs]. They do so because they see PETA fighting for the right to life of other animalsâ€”animals in circuses, on factory farms, in research laboratories, and in other industries. Yet, when it comes to companion animals, they have an entirely different standard. They not only call for the deaths of dogs and cats in shelters, PETA kill dogs and cats themselvesâ€”nearly 2,000 per year.
Despite an annual budget of tens of millions of dollars, PETA kills over 90% of the animals it its care. By contrast, the Tompkins County SPCA has been saving over 90% of dogs and cats for five years. As a result, Tompkins has nothing to learn from PETA, but PETA certainly has a lot to learn from the Tompkins County SPCA.
People are still listening to PETA because PETA is good at talking. They’re reliable for a highly quotable statement when a reporter needs a comment, and they step up and offer themselves as experts on every animal issue, from biomedical research to Michael Vick’s pit bulls.
And because they’re presented in the media, time and time again, as the “animal’s side” of the issue, people believe that they are, and give money that lets the group keep mouthing off.
Now, if you agree with PETA and their animal-rights stand (which includes the elimination of all domesticated animals, including your long-suffering pet poodle, honestly it does), then by all means support them with your money and your words. But know what you’re supporting, and do not assume they speak for your point of view unless you are certain.
Personally, I find I agree with them on some issues, disagree with them on most. But I don’t blame PETA for working so hard to get themselves in the media and keeping themselves there. I blame every reporter who takes the easy route and picks up the phone to call PETA for comment on every animal issue.
And speaking of homeless pets, Patrick Burns over on Terrierman’s Daily Dose is asking breeders to put a link to rescue prominently on their Web pages. Check it out.