Dear Ms. Kazez,
Thank you for contacting PETA about the “PETA Kills Animals” campaign.
This campaign is the work of the deceitfully-named Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters who kill millions of animals every year, not out of compassion, but out of greed. These companies are worried about the strides that PETA is making that are changing their industries and compelling them to take animal welfare concerns seriously, so—since they can’t argue with us on the facts of the animal abuse they fund—they hope to scare people away from caring about animals by spending millions on smear ads, mailings and Web sites like this. To learn more about CCF—which USA Today recently opined should rename its Web site "FatforProfit.com"—please see the following Web sites:
Despite its deceptive intent, we welcome the opportunity that this provides to discuss the animal overpopulation crisis. We are on the front lines of the battle to turn back the tide of unwanted dogs and cats, and we need your help. PETA is on the front lines of the battle to turn back the tide of unwanted dogs and cats. Our caseworkers tirelessly rescue homeless animals from environmental dangers, as well as cruelty and neglect (http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/about_cap.asp). They crawl through sewers, poke through junkyards, climb trees, and dodge traffic in order to reach animals in danger. During floods and storms, they are out saving lives at all hours.
Some of the animals we take in are lost companions with loving families who miss them; we are always happy to return such animals to their homes. We have also managed to catch and return some highly elusive animals other agencies had given up on. PETA does not operate a shelter, but—even though we foster many healthy homeless animals that we have rescued in homes (often our own) or take them to shelters to await adoption—the reality is that thousands of adoptable animals are euthanized every day in shelters across America due to the lack of good homes.
Because most area residents take healthy, adoptable animals directly to local shelters, the majority of the animals we receive are extremely sick or injured beings for whom euthanasia is, without a doubt, the most humane option (http://www.PETA.org/feat-overpopulation_crisis.asp). To learn about one local instance, please see http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/f-asiasstory.asp. On another occasion, when a power-line transformer explosion burned a flock of starlings, PETA was the only agency to come to the birds’ aid; if our trained technicians had not been ready to end these starlings’ misery, the injured birds would have suffered in agony for days before finally succumbing to a painful death.
In addition, PETA provides free euthanasia services for local residents who have very sick, critically injured, or geriatric companions but can’t afford to take them to a veterinarian. One family, lacking money for vet care and transportation, turned to us for help for their cat, who had barely crawled back home after being mauled by a pack of dogs. We were able to help by giving the cat a peaceful end to her intense pain.
We also began offering our services to shelters in North Carolina in 2000, after PETA was contacted by a police officer who was distressed by conditions in a county pound. North Carolina has the second-highest kill rate per capita in the country—35 animals killed annually for every 1,000 residents—and most do not die a humane death. When we step in to properly euthanize animals (at no cost to the participating shelters) as we do in this instance, our involvement prevents animals from being shot to death with a .22 caliber firearm, gassed to death in an rusty metal box, or injected with a paralytic that causes slow suffocation without loss of consciousness. It prevents their suffering for weeks on end from disease and illness, or worse. We know from bitter experience that for homeless animals—even those in some shelters—there is such a thing as a fate worse than death. To learn more about the conditions that led to our involvement in North Carolina and about some of the many improvements we’ve been able to make, please visit http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/f-nc.asp. We also hope you will read this recent editorial that sheds more light on the issue of animals suffering in pounds near the North Carolina and Virginia border: http://tinyurl.com/2wkr8n.
We wish that there were other acceptable options available. We cannot bring the majority of these animals back to Virginia for placement—the same issues regarding adoptability of injured, sick, or old animals exist everywhere, and “open-admission” shelters, which never turn their backs on any animal (unlike so-called “no-kill” shelters, which turn many animals away) are already unable to cope with the overpopulation of animals. There simply are not enough homes for them. Using Virginia shelters also means that there would be fewer homes for animals already in Virginia adoption facilities.
Some might argue that the solution to this crisis of overpopulation of so many unwanted animals is to open sanctuaries. But the sad reality is that the math doesn’t add up. There is not enough money available to us or anyone to build enough sanctuaries or organize enough animal-adoption programs to keep up with the number of unwanted animals, particularly those animals deemed “undesirable” because of their infirmities, age, or behavior. Abandoning domesticated animals to fend for themselves would be irresponsible, of course, but to keep them in cages or pens for a lifetime is no more humane for homeless dogs and cats than it is for animals in laboratories or circuses. To learn more about "no-kill" sanctuaries, see http://www.PETA.org/Living/AT-Fall2005/nokill.asp and http://www.PETA.org/feat/acgas/index1.asp.
Putting all our resources into kenneling unwanted animals would also do nothing to stop the flow of more and more unwanteds. The source of the problem—trying to prevent the births of unwanted animals—is where money and efforts need to go. PETA runs a mobile spay/neuter clinic (http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/about_snip.asp) seven days a week, focusing much of our work in disadvantaged neighborhoods, where we offer free and low-cost surgeries and other services such as flea/tick treatments and worming. In the last year, we have sterilized thousands of dogs and cats—many free of charge and all others at well below our own costs. Support for this program is much needed, as you can imagine.
We hope you understand that it is heart-wrenching for those of us at PETA and at shelters across the country who care deeply for animals to have to hold animals in our arms and take their lives because there is nowhere decent for them to go. Those who truly seek to make a difference for animals understand that it is necessary to do the right thing—even when it's unpleasant—rather than supporting false "solutions" simply because they make us feel less uncomfortable. PETA has always spoken openly about euthanasia on our Web site and in our publications, and—although we understand that it is upsetting to think about—euthanasia will continue to be necessary in this imperfect world until people prevent dogs and cats from bringing new litters into the world and as long as people hide their heads in the sand and leave the dirty work to others.
We hope this has shed some light on our policies, and our work. To learn more about what PETA is doing for companion animals and how you can help, please see the following Web sites:
· Save homeless animals: http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/ga_spay.asp
· More ways to help dogs and cats: http://www.HelpingAnimals.com
· Become an advocate for animals: http://www.PETA.org/actioncenter
Thanks again for writing and for your compassion for animals.
The PETA Staff