Arguably, the most people know about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is that its members occasionally parade in the nude (or near nude), on the theme "we'd rather go naked than wear furs."
It is especially newsworthy when the likes of Pamela Anderson and Kim Basinger participate. PETA justifies nudity on the basis of "advertising through the media;" nude activists for animals "consistently grab headlines."
Founded in 1980, PETA has done stellar work in curbing cruel and often useless torturous experimentation on animals of all sorts -- as reflected in a summary of its mission statement: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment."
As such it opposes circuses, zoos, farms, pet stores and the like.
PETA advertises itself as the largest animal rights organization in the world, with over three million members and supporters. PETA stages "rescue" operations of abused animals, and can serve a useful purpose, which it is exceedingly adept at publicizing.
What PETA does not publicize, however, it euthanizes -- kills -- some 85% of the animals it rescues.
As far back as 2008, the Center for Consumer Freedom petitioned Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to have PETA officially reclassified as a "slaughterhouse." It claimed PETA's own official reports, which indicated that it put to death virtually ever dog and cat it took in for adoption. This policy extended from 2006 through 2011.
Virginia requires animal shelters to report the number of dogs and cats taken in each year -- how many are euthanized and how many are adopted.
These statistics are available through Virginia's Sunshine Law and, as incredible as some may find it, since 1998, of the 31,815 animals (mostly dogs and cats) admitted to PETA shelters, only 3,159 were adopted -- and 27,751 were killed.
That's a 9.7% adoption rate and an 87.2% kill rate -- a ghastly record for an organization purporting to work on behalf of animals. To me that suggests a view that if an animal isn't free and in the wild, it is better off dead.
But wait, it gets worse. Since 2006, the PETA adoption rate has dropped precipitously, and the kill rate risen dramatically. In 2006, of 3,061 animals admitted to PETA's shelter, 12 (0.39%) were adopted, 2,981 (97.49%) were euthanized.
Last year - 2011 -- some 1,992 animals were admitted, 24 were adopted (1.2%) and 1,911 (95.9%) were killed. And this is just Virginia.
PETA's practice of euthanasia has resulted in an alliance with the Humane Society of the U.S. A zero birthrate is the goal for dogs and cats, not a zero kill rate.
Yet according to Newsweek, Humane Society shelters in Nevada, New York, San Francisco, and Texas have adopted a "no-kill" policy that saves money, gets dogs and cats adopted. The save ratio is 85%.
That strikes me as more humane than PETA -- and is curiously mindful of what the Toronto Humane Society was aiming at before the provincial OSPCA took it over, with its kill rate secret, but around 50%. They must love PETA.
Today, Toronto Animal Services (TAS) seems to discourage adoption in favor of euthanasia, and prospective customers for adopting a dog or cat are often told none are available.