People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been the scourge of those it considers contemptuous of animal rights. Because of its fierce, attention-getting advocacy, PETA has claimed moral pre-eminence among pro-animal groups.
But a New York Times report on PETA’s refusal to adopt a “no-kill” shelter model has tarnished its image. The story said the PETA animal shelter in Norfolk, Va., kills an average of 2,000 dogs and cats a year. This is at a time when animal adoptions are up dramatically at non-PETA shelters that have no-kill policies.
The PETA facility placed only 19 animals in adoptions in 2012, and only 24 in 2011. It euthanized most of the animals it has made a duty to protect.
PETA says that no-kill shelters warehouse animals for years in cages, and that other animals are so injured or sick that euthanasia is the most humane option. But no-kill shelters still strive to place animals with welcoming households. PETA should do the same.
As word spreads about PETA’s widespread use of euthanasia, the animal-rights group itself could become the subject of protests. If PETA cannot commit to the no-kill philosophy practiced by organizations in the pro-animal community, it will forfeit the moral right to speak out about others’ inhumane actions.