“This isn’t about the battle between the No Kill philosophy and its eventual conquest over regressive, kill-oriented approaches. [...]
“This is about a bully who seeks out animals to kill. This is about the creation of death squads that actively go into communities with the specific purpose of finding dogs and cats to kill. And this is about a movement that has utterly failed to defend the innocent animals being slaughtered. This blog is about Ingrid Newkirk, the President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This is about an animal killing, arrogant, disturbed person.”
Ingrid took notice of Winograd (or the CCF) because she posted “Why We Euthanize” and explained:
“I always wonder how anyone cannot recognize that there is a world of difference between painlessly euthanizing animals out of compassion—aged, injured, sick, and dying animals whose guardians can’t afford euthanasia, for instance—as PETA does, and causing them to suffer terror, pain, and a prolonged death while struggling to survive on the streets, at the hands of untrained and uncaring ‘technicians,’ or animal abusers. [...]
“at PETA, we will never turn our backs on neglected, unloved, and homeless animals—even if the best we can offer them is a painless release from a world that doesn’t have enough heart or homes with room for them. It makes it easy for people to throw stones at us”
While I think Winograd went way too far overboard in his criticism, making hateful personal attacks, I think it’s strange that Ingrid recognizes that her position is counter-intuitive, unpopular, and damaging to PETA, yet she doesn’t make a more compelling case defending her actions. Sure, she posted a few gruesome pictures of animals in pain, but that’s not a defense.
Neither is the claim that these animals had to die a good defense for killing them. Where is the proof? She showed pictures, but no stories. It’s assumed that these animals, because their wounds look terrible, were hopeless.
It’s that hopelessness that’s most unappealing about the defenses. Animals are not hopeless. Our movement is not hopeless. Those of us who desire a world where animals truly matter MUST rebel against the hopelessness within our movement.
I remember an episode of DogTown where a dog who seemed hopeless survived after optimistic people took good care of him. Here are two examples of that optimistic no-kill mindset:
I’ve experienced such miracles with my own animal family members. As a child we had a long-haired cat named Blackie who was hit by a car and suffered severe injuries. Two of his legs were broken and a third was dislocated. The first vet we went to suggested euthanasia. The second vet agreed to try to save Blackie. It took many months of intense therapy, but Blackie survived for many years after.
Granted, Ingrid has a point that there is a place for true euthanasia, aka “mercy killing.” Some animals cannot be rescued from their tragic fates. It is most kind to offer a painless end to the suffering when the suffering cannot be overcome or avoided. Anyone who has made the choice to euthanize an animal knows what a painful choice that is. In plenty of circumstances, it’s a kind and reasonable choice. Animals with terminal illness or injury deserve comfort and an end to suffering. Likewise, the technicians and veterinarians who perform such work – whether it’s for animals with homes or animals without homes – deserve sympathy and respect. They are not evil people.
Here is one worker’s account of euthanasia in an animal shelter:
But “lack of homes” is one of the reasons Ingrid cites as a reason to kill, which is a claim Nathan Winograd thoroughly debunks in his book, Redemption. There are enough homes for all the homeless cats and dogs; caring humans just need to work harder or more efficiently at finding and keeping those homes. Ingrid’s assumption that what she’s doing is offering a “painless release from a world that doesn’t have enough heart or homes” is off the mark.
An example from my own life: The Animal Care & Control nearest my current home posts adoptable pets online on petharbor.com but not on petfinder.com. As you probably know, petfinder.com is quickly becoming the online resource for shelters and rescues. And if you’ve been to both sites, you know which one is more user-friendly: petfinder.
So, I sent the Animal Care & Control an email (a polite one, I assure you) asking why they don’t use petfinder. They responded that it would be too much work. Meanwhile, they’re killing animals! According to the statistics published on their webpage, they kill at least 4600 animals per year. They likely kill about 80% of the animals they receive! (They receive approximately 7000 each year and adopt out up to 200 per month.)
I investigated and found out petharbor and petfinder can work together so that shelters can upload to one database and get entered into both. So… there’s virtually no additional work required to get their adoptable animals listed in the premier adoptable pet database. A claim that “it takes too much work” is either borne of ignorance (likely) or outright deceit (unlikely, but not impossible). Either way, making such a claim was irresponsible. “It’s too much work” turns out to be untrue.
While puppymills find homes for their “products” in virtually every stripmall in the city, the pound won’t do the tiny bit of work required to submit their adoptable animal list to the most used online database. Moreover, they aren’t open on Sundays and they don’t do regular adoption events in public areas. It’s almost as if they deliberately lower homeless animals’ chances by making adoptions more difficult than need-be.
The point is, the killing has to stop. The excuses don’t cut it.
We can’t let the apathetic people win. When they justify killing cats and dogs because of a wrong assumption that there isn’t “enough heart or homes” for them, it’s not a far leap to justifying killing cows, pigs, and chickens because there isn’t “enough heart or homes” for them either.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard anti-vegans claim that “if we all went vegan, there’d be a farm animal overpopulation problem.” Where does that ridiculous claim come from? It comes from the wrong assumption that humans must control animal populations even if that means killing animals. It’s the same assumption that Ingrid makes. And it’s the same kind of assumption that funds and maintains “wildlife management programs” aka hunting. It’s the same kind of assumption that justifies poisoning “nuisance” squirrels and pigeons.Ultimately, it’s a human-centric, paternalistic assumption that simply doesn’t make sense.
As animal advocates, we should work to build a better world for all, not to destroy the lives of some.
Other bloggers make good points in this “debate.” Please take a look:
- PETA at Opposing Views
- Change.org’s Animal Rights blog
- Ingrid Newkirk on PETA’s euthanasia policy
- Yet Another Reason Not To Like PETA
- PeTA is a Selfish Pack of Douchebags
- You??? Please leave a comment here with a link!
We can all do something to help shelter animal’s chances.
- promote your local shelter on your website, in emails, on web forums, and social networking websites,
- volunteer at your local shelter and offer to help staff adoption events,
- enlist as a foster parent for adoptable animals or encourage others to be foster parents,
- tell people about shelter animals or wear t-shirts that promote rescuing shelter animals.