PETA's euthanasia rate: a staggering 97%

NOTE: When I saw this report, I thought I'd just cut and paste the whole article/press release, so that people would know where it came from. Some people have pointed out, accurately, that the Center for Consumer Freedom is pretty sketchy. But, in this case, the numbers they are quoting are completely accurate. In the comments section there is a link to the report PETA filed with the state of Virginia. I had considered deleting this and replacing it with just the numbers, but decided to leave it as it is.

Here's a report from the Centre Daily Times:

PETA Killed 97 Percent of 'Companion Animals' in 2006, According to VDACS
Center for Consumer Freedom

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 — An official report from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), submitted nine months after a Virginia government agency's deadline, shows that the animal rights group put to death more than 97 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 pets. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is calling on PETA to either end its hypocritical angel-of-death program, or stop its senseless condemnation of Americans who believe it's perfectly ethical to use animals for food, clothing, and critical medical research.

Not counting animals PETA held only temporarily in its spay-neuter program, the organization took in 3,061 "companion animals" in 2006, of which it killed 2,981. According to Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the average euthanasia rate for humane societies in the state was just 34.7 percent in 2006. PETA killed 97.4 percent of the animals it took in. The organization filed its 2006 report this month, nine months after the VDACS deadline of March 31, 2007.

"Pet lovers should be outraged," said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. "There are thousands of worthwhile animal shelters that deserve Americans' support. PETA is not one of them." In courtroom testimony last year, a PETA manager acknowledged that her organization maintains a large walk-in freezer for storing dead animals, and that PETA contracts with a Virginia cremation service to dispose of the bodies. In that trial, two PETA employees were convicted of dumping dead animals in a rural North Carolina trash dumpster.

Today in Southampton County, Virginia, another PETA employee will face felony charges in a dog-napping case. Andrea Florence Benoit Harris was arrested in late 2006 for allegedly abducting a hunting dog and attempting to transport it to PETA's Norfolk headquarters.

"PETA raised over $30 million last year," Martosko added, "and it's using that money to kill the only flesh-and-blood animals its employees actually see. The scale of PETA's hypocrisy is simply staggering."


Anonymous said…
I don't know what kind of newspaper the Centre Daily Times is, but obviously journalism isn't one of its strong suits if that press release ran as a news story.

The CCF release basically ran verbatim, without a comment by a Peta official. (If the newspaper had sought a comment and it was denied, the paper would have said so.) Also, there is no byline. So I'm guessing this news story, as you make it sound by citing the name of the paper, likely was actually a paid ad.

Also, the CCF's headline is inaccurate. It implies that 97% of pets in the United States (or in the world) were killed.

Second, it's important for people to know what the Center for Consumer Freedom is. It's a deceptively named group that was founded with money from the tobacco industry. (For more information, visit SourceWatch or The CCF's goal was to put a positive spin on smoking. When that failed, they moved to other industries and are now funded by the restaurant, alcohol, meat and dairy industries.

Their MO is to try to discredit those groups that oppose the CCF.

Read more about them:

Like animals?
Wanna lose weight?
Care about the environment?
Ken Foster said…
It is also interesting that you don't identify yourself, Tracy.

The Centre Daily Times is the newspaper in State College PA, which is where I grew up. True, it does appear to to be a press release, and yet the information comes directly from a report filed by PETA, which, as you no doubt know, has an ongoing problem with the vast divide between their presentation and their actual actions.

Best of luck to you!
Anonymous said…
We live in Norfolk, where PETA has its headquarters. We once had a PETA intern threaten to snatch our cat, and take him to a "safe place" where he could be adopted by someone who wouldn't allow him to go outside (as we were, into our backyard only, ad he as 12 years old, and had been living in-and-out all his life). I knew they would just take him and kill him. Even as jaded as I am, those statistics are pretty shocking.
Anonymous said…
It may be helpful to take a look at the data as submitted by PETA: (Hopefully this will work). The numbers are a bit deceptive since they inclue animals brought in for their low cost spay/neuter programs - The 6564 'Others' in the received section and the 6575 'reclaimed by the owner' in the deposition section.
Ken Foster said…
Those numbers are animals taken in for spay/neuter, and therefore returned to their owners. The numbers to look at are the owner surrendered animals: 3043. Adopted: 12. Euthanized: 2981.
David said…
Ken Foster, you may also be interested in a NewsWeek article that was published after you wrote this. Here's a quote from it:

"Shelters around the country kill 4 million animals every year; by some estimates, more than 80 percent of them are healthy. In recent years those grim statistics have split the animal rights community. Ironically, PETA has emerged as a strong proponent of euthanasia. (The group is better known for its public condemnations of everyone from fashion designer Donna Karan for her use of fur to the National Cancer Institute for its animal research.) In defense of its policy PETA has insisted that euthanasia is a necessary evil in a world full of unwanted pets." That might help to put this in a useful context if you look at the numbers above and the stance PETA takes on euthanasia. Again, there is no hypocrisy or contradiction. Perhaps you could try reading Peter Singer's writings on the ethics of euthanasia to begin understanding why PETA is pro-euthanasia (as I am).
Ken Foster said…

You may have wanted to do a bit more research on my position regarding overpopulation and euthanasia before posting this. I agree--it is necessary due to the overbreeding animals in the US. But my post is pretty clear, I think, in criticizing PETA's continuing policy of dishonesty, which does no one any favors. For example, they use images of pit bulls in fundraisers, but endorse mandating euthanizing the breed. They also raise money from people who assume that PETA takes care of animals, rather than killing them. It is dishonest, and it doesn't do the job of educating people regarding the decisions that need to be made. That PETA has one of the highest kill rates in the country doesn't speak all that well of their skills in assessing or placing animals.

Meanwhile, perhaps you should do some reading. I suggest a chapter called "The Paradox of the No Kill Shelter" which was published in my book in 2006. It argues everything you just "told" me.
Unknown said…
Ken's point seems quite valid and PETA's recent record regarding adoption vs. euthanasia indicates that matters have only gotten worse since Ken's original post.

We are all rightfully horrified and disgusted at what some humans do to helpless animals. But in the midst of our horror the central issue and criticism (not just from fronts for the meat industry like CCF, but also from people who love animals as much as we do) is often completely lost.

The criticism stems from the fact that in recent years PETA has started to euthanise almost every single animal that was not reclaimed by its owners. In 2008 it appears to have adopted out only 7 cats or dogs and euthanised well over 2000. In previous years, however, it euthanised roughly similar numbers but adopted out *significantly* larger numbers of cats and dogs. Here are the figures (in parenthases) for cats or dogs adopted out that have become a cause of great concern for many animal lovers: 2008 (7), 2007 (15), 2006 (10), 2005 (141), 2004 (354), 2003 (310), 2002 (378), 2001 (696), 2000 (622).

Why the drastic drop in the number of cats or dogs adopted out in recent years? If PETA could adopt out over 25% of such animals in 2001, why could it manage to adopt out less than 0.3% in 2008? PETA's recent defence of its euthanasia position does nothing to explain this precipitous decline in adoption rates. (

Clearly, there has been a drastic change in the adoption/euthansia policy at PETA. A change that would appear to be resulting in many cats and dogs, who in previous years would have been adopted, being euthanised unnecessarily. I love so much of what PETA does, but this recent change is deeply disturbing, since it indicates that PETA has now all but given up on attempts at adopting out animals in its care and is treating euthanasia as an option of first resort rather than last resort.
Unknown said…
I volunteer for a local shelter. Including owner recoveries, the shelter re-homes about 85% of the animals it intakes (and it is the shelter that animal control for the County uses, e.g. not a 'boutique' turn-away shelter). Excluding owner recoveries, it re-homes something like 65% of intake. Admittedly, the county I live in is fond of animals (dog especially) and fairly well-off. But to say that less than 1% of animals you received are adoptable is absolute insanity and a sign of how irrelevant PETA is. BTW, I was vegetarian for a decade and am still psuedo-veggie so I'm not some right-winger.

Those of you who believe in Peter Singer and support PETA are too far gone but hopefully this wakes up some of the rest of the world. I look forward to the day PETA is 'euthanised' and the animal charities that do the real work receive more support.

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