An Epic Failure of Oversight in Virginia

March 26, 2015 by  

Celebration & Sober Reflection on the Passage of SB 1381 (& What You Can Do)

sheltercats

Photo: A shelter is a refuge. But for the vast majority of cats rounded up or otherwise impounded by PETA, the only thing PETA staff offer them is an overdose of poison to satisfy Ingrid Newkirk’s dark impulses. In 2014, PETA took in 1,605 cats and killed 1,536 (a kill rate of 96%). They transferred another 43 to kill shelters. If they were killed or displaced others who were killed, that would put the cat kill rate as high as 98%. They found homes for only 16, an adoption rate of 1%.

This week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed SB 1381, a law which requires shelters in Virginia to be “operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes.” In other words, SB 1381 does what the public already thinks shelters do and what the dictionary says they do, even though PETA, which is located in Virginia, does not. In fact, the bill was introduced in a response to PETA—which is licensed in Virginia as a shelter—killing over 90% of the animals, with little to no effort to find them homes and their stealing Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out and killing her that very day. Since its passage, we’ve also found out that they killed five other animals that day, including two kittens and a six month old puppy, also in violation of state law.

Despite PETA’s intense lobbying effort to derail the vote which became known among legislators as the “anti-PETA killing bill,” despite PETA hiring a professional lobbyist with donor funds to kill it, despite manipulating their supporters to urge its defeat by lying to them, the votes were not even close: 95 to 2 in the House and 35 to 1 in the Senate. Not only does the outcome prove that participating in the political process—as thousands of Virginians did by writing, email and telephoning their Delegates urging a “yes” vote—can have a profound impact, but it shows that PETA has lost all credibility with the Virginia legislature and the governor who signed it into law.

Not only was a law just passed to protect animals from PETA, but the bill also forced PETA to further reveal its true colors: that an organization claiming to represent the “ethical treatment of animals” would hire a lobbyist at donor expense to defeat an important piece of animal protection legislation demonstrates once again that PETA is not committed to furthering the rights of animals, but rather, to actively subverting them, as more and more people are finding out.

In fact, the Governor’s signing of the bill comes just days after the State of Delaware, through the head of one of its agencies, wrote a letter to PETA asking them to stop lying about their shelter standards law. In 2010, Delaware legislators unanimously passed the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), an important piece of animal protection legislation based on a model law authored by my organization, the No Kill Advocacy Center. By eliminating the ability of shelters to kill animals out of habit and convenience, the law has been wildly successful, reducing killing in Delaware shelters by nearly 80%.

Despite its success in Delaware and other places, PETA has vilified this law, saying that it has been a disaster there, forcing shelters to turn animals away. As I have long argued, none of it is true. In keeping with their many efforts over the years to derail laws nationwide which protect shelter animals, PETA has even written public officials in other communities debating the implementation of CAPA-like laws, urging them to reject such laws which they misrepresent and malign. In short, they do what they have always done: they lie.

Thankfully, the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) has recently weighed in to respond to PETA’s misrepresentations, chastising PETA for lying. The OAW is a state agency that oversees implementation of Delaware’s shelters, including CAPA, through the Department of Health and Social Services. In their response to PETA, they write that what PETA is claiming “is simply not true. PETA does not have local representation in Delaware and is obviously not familiar with our sheltering system.” They also go on to explain the incredible success of the law, how it has saved countless lives, and prevented emotional heartbreak for the families and caretakers and rescuers of those animals.

From that standpoint, the passage of SB 1381 is incredibly good news. However, we fought for the bill not to simply force PETA to reveal its true colors, but to actually save lives, and if history is any indication, our next battle is getting the agency in charge of enforcing this new law to actually do so.

Given that PETA has always admitted it does not operate a shelter for the purpose of finding homes, given that the evidence is clear they do not, and given that Ingrid Newkirk once stated, unapologetically, “We are not in the home finding business, although it is certainly true that we do find homes from time to time for the kind of animals people are looking for. Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals…. ”, VDACS has no choice but to remove their shelter designation and eliminate PETA’s ability to round up animals and to purchase the lethal drugs used to poison them. That is, it has no choice if it is committed to doing its job. But so far, it has refused to do so.

For Maya, PETA’s crime resulted in her death. For her family, it has led to immense heartbreak. Maya lived with a nine-year-old girl who, according to the family’s spokesperson, was utterly devastated by her killing. But the agencies which are supposed to protect dogs like Maya and the people who love them have turned a blind eye. Although two PETA employees were arrested and charged with larceny by the Accomack County sheriff, the Commonwealth attorney refused to prosecute. Despite video evidence that they stole Maya and an admission that they killed her, the prosecutor claimed he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite clear evidence that PETA has violated the law on multiple occasions, the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS) refuses to pull PETA’s “shelter” license. It chose to fine it $500, a mere fraction of the $52 million it took in last year. Despite calls for investigations by state senators, county attorneys, national organizations, and the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies which believes PETA to be operating to “the detriment of animals in the Commonwealth;” despite violating the law, lying to people, stealing pets, and killing them; despite the Virginia legislature and governor speaking with one, nearly unanimous, voice that they want PETA’s killing to stop, PETA continues operating as before, killing thousands of defenseless animals with virtual impunity.

Ironically, it is the very double standard between humans and non-humans that most people erroneously believe PETA exists to overcome that has allowed PETA to get away with the harms they have inflicted. And it is the false perception that they exist to protect, rather than imperil animals (which is what they actually do) which causes reluctance on the part of public officials tasked with oversight.

So while I celebrate SB 1381’s passage for all it does mean, and I am immensely grateful to Senator Bill Stanley who introduced this bill, to all the legislators who voted for it, and to the Governor who signed it, and while I understand that as we move the pieces on the chess board, we get closer and closer to checkmating PETA out of the killing business, let’s understand where the challenge now lies: with Virginia law enforcement agencies, most notably VDACS. We must realize that getting VDACS to enforce it will likely involve an additional fight and potentially, litigation. Already, VDACS is stalling, claiming—in typically bureaucratic fashion—that it may take two years to issue regulations for SB 1381. And even as PETA now claims it “has always operated to find adoptive homes and will continue to do so as stated in Senate Bill 1381” in direct contravention of all their prior statements and actions before SB 1381 and which begs the question, “why fight it then?”, my faith that VDACS will do the right thing and honor the intent and desire of the people of the Commonwealth, as they spoke in near unanimity through their elected representatives, could hardly be more lacking. The leadership and staff at VDACS has so far proven itself to be typically bureaucratic, tragically indifferent, fundamentally uncaring, and as is so typical of oversight agencies, willing to overlook PETA’s criminal conduct by bending over backward for the entity they are supposed to be regulating.

While VDACS sits on its hands for the next two years, an additional 4,500 animals will be needlessly butchered at the behest of Ingrid Newkirk’s dark and disturbing impulses and the families of the animals they round up and kill across Norfolk and surrounding areas will be left heartbroken. We must not allow PETA to get away with murder.

What You Can Do:

Don’t let VDACS continue to get away with turning a blind eye and foot dragging. Please send a polite, but emphatic, email to both Sandra Adams, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and to Dr. Carolynn Bissett, the State Veterinarian, that you expect them to do their jobs and honor the intent of the legislature and the will of the people. Tell them that PETA kills 90% of the animals it takes in, that it steals people’s animals and puts them to death in violation of state laws and regulations, that it has always maintained it is “not in the home finding business” and has made virtually no effort to do so, and that it has a history of criminal conduct and lying to people in order to acquire and kill animals. As such, it cannot legally be licensed as a private shelter under SB 1381. And while you are at it, tell them that we should not have to wait two years for VDACS to act while PETA kills an additional 4,500 animals.

Dr. Carolynn Bissett: Carolynn.Bissett@vdacs.virginia.gov

Commissioner Sandra Adams: sandy.adams@vdacs.virginia.gov

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Maya Wasn’t The Only Animal PETA Killed That Day

March 17, 2015 by  

Records from VDACS show that at least two kittens, one puppy, and two other dogs were also killed.

Maya (2)
 

As many of you now know, on October 18, PETA was captured on film stealing Maya, a family’s young, healthy dog, a dog they later admitting to killing that very day. They killed her not only after stealing her from her home—a violation of Virginia’s larceny law—but in defiance of state regulations governing animal shelters (which PETA is registered as) and laws requiring that shelters hold all animals they impound for five days. Records submitted by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS) showed that they also lied to that agency in recording the dog as having been “owner surrendered.” Although two employees were arrested for larceny, they were never charged and PETA was fined the paltry sum of $500, which PETA paid using donor funds (in 2014, they took in $52 million).

PETA check

Today, I reviewed documents submitted by PETA to the VDACS showing that in addition to Maya, several other animals were also impounded by PETA from the same trailer park and on the same day as Maya, animals which, likewise, PETA killed within minutes of arriving at PETA headquarters.

They include:

  • Two four month old kittens

Custody Record Photos_0006

Custody Record Photos_0005

  • A six month old puppy

Custody Record Photos_0009

  • A one year old Lab-mix

Custody Record Photos_0008

  • Another Chihuahua

Custody Record Photos_0007

All of them, dead at the hands of PETA the day they were taken in, with no effort of any kind made to adopt them.

For four months PETA remained silent as to why they took and killed Maya, but then broke their silence, claiming it was a “mistake.” (To find out why this is a lie, click here.) Was it likewise a “mistake” that five other animals ended up dead from the same location and on the same day, too?

Moreover, we still do not know if these animals were surrendered (which would not excuse their immediate killing), stolen, or if there are other animals they stole. PETA refuses to release the records in violation of state law. But according to a spokesman for Maya’s family, “They were waiting until they [the residents] weren’t home. One of [the] neighbors actually saw them taking another resident’s pet. They waited until that resident left… They had actually learned everyone’s schedule. They pulled in, they take the guy’s dog, a next door neighbor saw the whole thing.” In fact, in Maya’s case, PETA paid neighborhood kids to leave the area so there would be no witnesses, never knowing their sordid actions were being caught on video surveillance.

Currently sitting on the desk of the Governor of Virginia is SB 1381, a law designed to put PETA out of the killing business. This bill, which PETA has hired a lobbyist with donor funds to defeat, would clarify existing law requiring that shelters in Virginia operate for the purposes of finding homeless animals adoptive homes and not, as PETA does, for the purpose of killing. Having passed overwhelmingly in the state’s legislature (95 to 2 in the House and 38 to 1 in the Senate), it is now awaiting action by the Governor.

If you live in the Virginia, please call Governor Terry McAuliffe today, at 804-786-2211, and politely urge him to sign Senate Bill 1381 so that no more healthy, and in the words of PETA employees, “perfect” and “adorable,” animals fall prey to their needles. PETA is continuing to lobby hard to have this bill vetoed.

If you don’t live in Virginia, please share this with people who do.

For those who are new to this issue:

Though PETA now claims that Maya was killed “by mistake,” the death of Maya and now these additional animals are is entirely consistent with reports from former PETA employees who state that PETA routinely kills healthy animals, including litters of puppies and kittens, without ever trying to find them homes. One such employee recently admitted that when she worked at and killed for PETA, she was encouraged to lie to people in order to get them to surrender their animals to her so she could kill them. She stated that such behavior was encouraged by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, stating, “It was what she told us to do—it was standard operating procedure.” She also stated that when PETA claims that the only animals they kill are those who are mortally suffering, they are lying, saying that, “Contrary to what PETA maintains, the majority of animals it takes in are not beyond hope, in my experience many would be considered highly adoptable by a shelter, the ‘better off dead’ line is one that is dragged out in order to excuse what they do—and it’s a lie.”

As former employees have testified about other animals killed by PETA, the animals are taken off the vans which pick them up and they go straight to the room where they are killed. The room is euphemistically called the “exam room” by PETA leadership. No exam is done for purposes of placement or, if they are sick, treatment. No animal who enters the exam room ever comes out alive. As a PETA employee told me, “They would take the animals into that room and they would be euthanized… A litter of kittens, sometimes a mother with kittens… they were put in that room and once you went in that room, you never came out.”

Why?

Employees who have spoken out about PETA’s killing say it is the result of the deeply disturbing version of animal activism promoted by PETA founder and President, Ingrid Newkirk. They explain how employees are made to watch “heart wrenching” films about animal abuse to drill into them the belief that people are incapable of caring for animals and that “PETA was doing what was best for animals” by killing them. PETA tells its employees that people can’t, don’t, and won’t take care of animals, that the lives of animals with people is one of neglect and abuse and that living with dogs and cats violates their rights. PETA also claims that animals cannot live without human care, which is why they do not support letting free-living cats continue to be free-living. The animals are, in short, damned either way and thus killing them is a “gift.”

PETA is letting loose upon the world individuals who not only maniacally believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven—31,250 times in the last 12 years—that they are not adverse to using.

For more information/evidence, click here.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

PETA “Devastated” It Got Caught Stealing & Killing Dog

March 1, 2015 by  

From the No Kill Advocacy Center:

Maya (2)
 

PETA has finally spoken out on the stealing and killing of Maya. They not only claim they are “devastated,” but they claim it was all a mistake. The local newspaper has echoed that lie by writing an editorial in opposition to SB 1381, a bill designed to ensure that shelters in Virginia—of which PETA is registered as such—adopt, rather than simply kill animals.

At the No Kill Advocacy Center, we are very disappointed by the lack of information The Virginian-Pilot provides to help place PETA’s “apology” into the proper context for its readers and to help them better understand the pressing need for such legislation. For if this context were provided, it would be clear that PETA’s “apology” was insincere, contradicted by the facts, and, given its timing, motivated not by honesty, transparency or genuine contrition, but political necessity.

PETA killed Maya in October of last year, and yet even as news of the killing spread among animal lovers nationwide, PETA refused to issue a statement of explanation for their killing. For four months PETA remained silent, until now. Why? Because currently pending before the Governor is a bill designed to put PETA out of the killing business. Having recently sailed through the Virginia legislature, this bill merely clarifies Virginia law to state that an animal shelter cannot, as PETA has long claimed it does, operate for the purpose of killing animals; it must operate for the purpose of finding animals homes. If the Governor signs the measure, PETA will no longer be able to be classified as an animal shelter under its current mode of operation, and it will lose its ability to acquire the lethal drugs it uses to kill thousands of animals a year. In order to deflect criticism for their killing and to make it appear that this vital animal protection law is not required to protect animals from them, PETA has conveniently chosen to rewrite history about what happened in the case of Maya, the young, healthy dog who was filmed being taken off her porch by PETA employees and then, by PETA’s own admission, killed that very day. But what is most troubling about their apology is that, given the facts and context not provided in The Virginian-Pilot articles, their apology is, in fact, a damning admission of guilt.

The family of Maya, the little dog PETA stole and then killed, identified the woman caught on tape as the very same woman who had sat with the family on their porch in the past and talked to them about Maya’s care. To say that she killed Maya thinking that Maya was a different dog as PETA is now claiming not only strains credulity to the point of breaking, it begs another question. Why would PETA kill any healthy dog, no matter where he or she came from and do so the very day they took her in despite a law requiring she be held for at least five?

If anything, PETA’s admission that Maya was killed “by accident” proves that, in fact, PETA employees are in the habit of killing healthy animals, as both the statistics they report to the State of Virginia reveal, as well as their own statements in the past stating that they “absolutely” kill healthy animals.

It should not have mattered where Maya came from or whom she belonged to. Neither would justify her killing nor change the fact that an animal with nothing wrong with her ended up dead at the hands of PETA employees. PETA killed a perfectly healthy animal on the very same day she was taken by them, a fact they do not dispute. If PETA employees were not in the habit of killing healthy animals, how on earth could such a “mistake” have been made?

In fact, what happened to Maya is entirely consistent with reports from former PETA employees who state that PETA routinely kills healthy animals, including litters of puppies and kittens, without ever trying to find them homes. One such employee recently admitted that when she worked at and killed for PETA, she was encouraged to lie to people in order to get them to surrender their animals to her so she could kill them. She stated that such behavior was encouraged by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, stating, “It was what she told us to do—it was standard operating procedure.” She also stated that when PETA claims that the only animals they kill are those who are mortally suffering, they are lying, saying that, “Contrary to what PETA maintains, the majority of animals it takes in are not beyond hope, in my experience many would be considered highly adoptable by a shelter, the ‘better off dead’ line is one that is dragged out in order to excuse what they do—and it’s a lie.”

Lastly, if PETA’s claim that they killed Maya “by mistake” is true, and that they are heartbroken over their “accidental” killing of a healthy animal without engaging in any efforts at adoption, then why did they hire a lobbyist to fight SB 1381, which merely states that an animal shelter must be operated for the “purposes of finding adoptive homes”? Why oppose a law that merely clarifies that Virginia animal shelters must do that which every Virginia citizen already believe shelters do and which PETA itself, with this latest lie, is now claiming it does, too? Why spend donor dollars to kill such a bill if it in fact presents no threat to the standard operating procedure of killing at PETA? The answer, of course, is because PETA is lying: it does present a threat to PETA—it threatens to strip PETA of the ability to legally acquire the substance they use to kill animals with no real effort, beyond the occasional Facebook post to defray criticism, to find them homes. Tragically, The Virginian-Pilot is amplifying those lies through its editorial board.

It should also be noted that this law would do nothing to curtail any other activities in which PETA engages relating to companion animals. Although they like to equate not killing animals with not being able to do the things they continually cite as evidence of their “good works,” none of those activities would be curtailed by a law that strips them of the ability to kill animals without ever making them available for adoption. It’s a false choice, a smokescreen designed to obscure the real issue presented by SB 1381: should PETA or any agency be allowed to kill thousands of animals a year without making them available for adoption? To suggest, as the opinion piece does, that such agencies—including those licensed by the state to use controlled substances—should be allowed to operate without public accountability and outside the bounds of the law obscures the real issue.

What is the real issue? In the last 12 years, PETA has killed 31,250 companion animals. While PETA claims the animals it takes in and kills are “unadoptable,” this is a lie. It is a lie because employees have admitted it is a lie. They have described 8 week old, 10 week old, and 12 week old healthy kittens and puppies routinely and immediately put to death with no effort to find them homes. It is a lie because they have been caught stealing happy and healthy animals and putting them to death. It is a lie because rescue groups, individuals, and veterinarians have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable and PETA insiders have admitted as much, one former intern reporting that he quit in disgust after witnessing perfectly healthy puppies and kittens in the kill room. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspection, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because Ingrid Newkirk herself admitted as much during a television interview: when asked whether or not PETA kills healthy animals, she responded, “Absolutely.” It is a lie because PETA staff has described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA had no comment.

The people who live in Hampton Roads and the surrounding communities have operating within their vicinity an organization that has been rounding up and killing thousands of animals every year for over a decade and stealing them to do so. They have a right to know that PETA is letting loose upon the world individuals who not only maniacally believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven—31,250 times in the last 12 years—that they are not adverse to using. Perhaps most important of all, they have a right to protect their families, which includes their beloved companion animals. And rather than give them the information they need to do so, The Virginian-Pilot is making it harder by peddling misinformation as news and pandering to its high-end advertiser.

The evidence to support these assertions is overwhelming, and the people served by the local newspaper have a right to all the facts that would help them better understand how PETA routinely misrepresents the killing that they do, the ongoing threat that organization presents to their own animals who are cherished members of their families, the way in which their current claims are deeply at odds with the known facts, and how writing the Governor in support of SB 1381 could help to bring that terrible harm to an end once and for all.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

A First Hand Look Inside PETA’s Kill Room

February 10, 2015 by  

CIMG3329
 

“I know from first hand experience that the PETA leadership has no problem lying. I was told regularly to not enter animals into the log, or to euthanize off site in order to prevent animals from even entering the building. I was told regularly to greatly overestimate the weight of animals whose euthanasia we recorded in order to account for what would have otherwise been missing ‘blue juice’ (the chemical used to euthanize), because that allowed us to euthanize animals off the books. I was told regularly to say whatever I had to say in order to get people to surrender animals to me, lying was not only acceptable, it was encouraged… Contrary to what PETA maintains, the majority of animals it takes in are not beyond hope, in my experience many would be considered highly adoptable by a shelter, the ‘better off dead’ line is one that is dragged out in order to excuse what they do–and it’s a lie.”

After her revelations about the extent of PETA’s killing in a blog hit the movement like a shock wave yesterday, a former PETA employee does a follow up interview with The Huffington Post. In it, she describes what really went on behind the closed door of PETA’s headquarters including theft of animals, lying to people in order to kill their animals, lying about animals being “unadoptable,” falsifying drug records in order to kill animals “off book,” and submitting false information to officials about the numbers of animals they kill. All of it, she says, was at the direction of Ingrid Newkirk: “It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure.”

She describes picking up a litter of healthy puppies from someone who thought that PETA was going to find them a home: “What was referred to as the ‘shelter’ was a large, empty storage closet across from our office. The only other holding facility we had was in the warehouse, where the animals were euthanized. And when I did use the room across from my office as a holding area for animals, Ingrid would ask why I hadn’t already euthanized them: one time nailing me to the wall because the litter of puppies I’d placed in there for a night had pooped everywhere; I was told to euthanize the puppies immediately.” The puppies were killed.

The original blog is here: http://bit.ly/1KGBzMx

 

The follow up interview is here: http://huff.to/1CSqUyY

Granted, this employee worked at PETA over a decade ago, but as the Huffington Post writer indicates, “If you worked for PETA, you were expected to kill adoptable animals. And, as I reported in a long series of articles, everything suggests that the picture painted fifteen years ago is an accurate portrait of PETA today.”

I, too, have interviewed other PETA employees and the picture they paint of the PETA is similar to the PETA during this former employee’s tenure.

The most current facts we know about PETA confirm this, too. Case in point:

Just a few months ago, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her home and killed her: http://bit.ly/1pGUQcj

 

They continue to support the killing of every pit bull in every shelter: http://bit.ly/ZAnrvQ

 

They continue to believe community cats are better dead than fed: http://bit.ly/1Eux7Sm

 

They continue to kill over 90% of animals they impound: http://bit.ly/16zGHVq (96% of cats in 2014)

 

They’ve killed puppies and kittens, despite the fact that they themselves admitted they were healthy: http://bit.ly/1bdIqes And other employees confirm that they continue to do so.

Photo: The current kill room at PETA’s headquarters. The room is euphemistically called the “exam room” by PETA leadership. No exam is done for purposes of placement or, if they are sick, treatment. No animal who enters the exam room ever comes out alive. As another employee told me, “They would take the animals into that room and they would be euthanized… A litter of kittens, sometimes a mother with kittens… they were put in that room and once you went in that room, you never came out.”

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Weighing the Evidence

February 1, 2015 by  

PETA’s Killing, Cognitive Dissonance, and What We Owe Animals

1

Photo: a puppy killed by PETA being handled by an official in a hazmat suit and another is behind him. PETA promised to find the puppies a home, described the puppies as “adorable” and “perfect,” and immediately put them to death in the back of a van, a donor funded slaughterhouse on wheels. Their bodies, along with dozens of others PETA killed, were found in a supermarket dumpster. Learn more at www.whyPETAkills.org

This week, over 4 million people have seen my Facebook posts. Yesterday’s post about PETA’s killing of 2,324 of the 2,626 dogs and cats they impounded in 2014 and only adopting out 39 (1% of the animals) has been seen by over 1 million people alone. And given the comments, it is clear that this is news to many people, even though it has been going on for years, even though they openly fight shelter reform efforts, defend abusive shelters, have called for the killing of every pit bull in every shelter, for the round up and killing of community cats, and have put to death 31,250 animals over the last 12 years, including healthy puppies and kittens after promising to find them homes and animals they have stolen for the purpose of killing. You can find links to the evidence below. But because this is news to a lot of people given what PETA pretends to be, my reporting on it often leads to confusion, with people unsure of whom to believe, as if the right or wrong position comes down to personalities, rather than the objective facts and  the outcomes for animals resulting from them.

I understand that what those facts are telling us are in direct contravention to what most people think PETA represents. Many people believe, and the media often portrays, PETA as a “radical animal rights” group, and therefore some people have a difficult time assimilating all the evidence that proves otherwise—that, in fact, PETA actively harms thousands of animals every year by injecting them with a fatal dose of poison and even seeks animals out for this very purpose. When I first learned about this news two decades ago as a PETA volunteer, I, too, was stunned. But my response was markedly different than that of many PETA supporters who come onto my page. I researched the evidence, weighed it against my values, and determined that I could no longer, in good conscience, continue to support a group that—despite their public persona—undermined, rather than furthered, the cause I believed in.  Unfortunately, not everyone who claims to care about animals is inclined to do the same. There are some people who are so heavily associated with the PETA brand—animal activists whose Facebook pages are filled with PETA links, whose cars are covered with PETA bumper stickers, and whose friends and family associate them with being an ardent PETA supporter—that when they read information that proves that PETA does not, in fact, represent what they thought it did, feel that their entire identity is under attack, and they lash out, shooting the messenger—me—and grant PETA absolution to keep on killing, thereby defending the very harm to animals that caused them to start supporting PETA in the first place. It’s bewildering how casually and capriciously such people surrender the values they claim to believe in and the lives of defenseless animals for the benefit of an institution they lionize.

After years of fighting to expose the truth about PETA, I have learned that such individuals are often beyond reach. Rare is the person from this category that I am ever able to convince because the truth is not conducive to their needs. But as for the others who are struggling to overcome the cognitive dissonance between what PETA is believed to be and what the facts prove it actually is, I implore you to take a little time to follow the links I provide that prove that what I am saying is true. They link to information reported to the Commonwealth of Virginia by PETA itself, or to letters written or statements made by PETA’s President Ingrid Newkirk herself admitting that they kill healthy animals, arguing that all pit bulls and free-living cats should be killed, and statements in which she has made it clear that she believes animals want to die and to kill them is to give them, in her words, “a gift.” Read these links, and you’ll discover that in fact what you presumed PETA stood for is wrong. Then decide for yourself whether or not PETA is behaving in a manner that you want to support, that reflects your values and will result in the sort of outcomes you, as someone claiming to love animals, want to see. Whatever you decide, and given what is at stake, the very least you owe the animals is an open mind, and the few minutes it takes to scrutinize the evidence for yourself.

  • Here is the data, self-reported by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, showing roughly 9 out of 10 animals they seek out are killed by them: http://bit.ly/1LsjPrn
  • Here is an inspection report by the Virginia State Vet showing PETA kills 90% of animals within 24 hours without even trying to find them homes: http://bit.ly/1eHkWlD
  • Here is an OpEd piece written by PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk which appeared in newspapers across the country where PETA says it supports a policy that all pit bulls should be killed in all shelters in America: http://bit.ly/XrvcKf
  • Here is a newspaper article about the 2007 trial of PETA employees after they were found to be rounding up and killing animals in the back of a van after promising to find them homes: http://bit.ly/XCSdI3
  • Here is the news station report of PETA stealing Maya, a “happy and healthy” dog and killing her: http://bit.ly/1EIsEHq
  • Here is the surveillance video of the theft: www.whypetaeuthanizes.org/maya
  • Here is an article where PETA says community cats are better dead than sterilized and fed: http://bit.ly/1Eux7Sm
  • Here is a video made by Shelby County KY shelter volunteers after PETA celebrated when that shelter announced it was going to resume killing after four years as a No Kill shelter: http://vimeo.com/48651351
  • Here is a letter by the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies asking the State Vet to revoke PETA’s ability to take in and kill animals: http://bit.ly/ZgBzfb
  • Here is a petition to the State Vet that the No Kill Advocacy Center wrote asking the same: http://bit.ly/ZK4kjj
  • Here is a letter written by PETA to a Mayor telling him to kill all pit bulls, not to foster animals, and not to work with rescue groups: http://bit.ly/ZAnrvQ
  • Here are photographs of animals PETA has killed: www.whypetaeuthanizes.org/photos/
  • Here is a video where Ingrid Newkirk admits they kill healthy, adoptable animals: www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=14568

There’s more. Much more. PETA is letting loose upon the world individuals who not only maniacally believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven—over 30,000 times—that they are not adverse to using.

P.S. If you do want to learn more about me, I am a former criminal prosecutor, shelter director, animal control officer and currently I run a national non-profit dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters, the NO Kill Advocacy Center. I have been a vegan for 25 years and also run a vegan advocacy website: www.allamericanvegan.com I am also a former PETA volunteer. My story can be found here: http://bit.ly/13qMs4a

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

PETA’s Carnage Continues in 2014

January 31, 2015 by  

Submits False Information to the Commonwealth of Virginia

PETA stats_Layout 1_0001

It is with great sadness and anger that I report to you that PETA’s 2014 statistics, just released yesterday by the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS), are as bad as ever. According to VDACS, PETA took in 1,605 cats and killed 1,536 (a kill rate of 96%). They transferred another 43 to kill shelters. If they were killed or displaced others who were killed, that would put the cat kill rate as high as 98%. They found homes for only 16, an adoption rate of 1%.

PETA also took in 1,021 dogs of which they killed 788 (a kill rate of 77%). Another 210 were transferred to kill shelters. Like the cats, if they were killed or displaced others who were killed, the dog death rate would also be as high as 98%. Only 23 were adopted.

Presentation1

How much money did PETA take in last year from unsuspecting donors who helped pay for this mass carnage?  $51,933,001: $50,449,023 in contributions, $627,336 in merchandise sales, and $856,642 in interest and dividends. They finished the year with $4,551,786 more in the bank than they started, after expenses. They did not see fit to use some of that to comprehensively promote animals for adoption or to provide veterinary care for the animals who needed it.

By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society, also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA but saved 94% and without PETA’s millions. Seagoville Animal Services in Texas took in 1/3 of the numbers (about 700 animals) but only 1/20th of 1% of the amount of money that PETA did, saving 99% of them on a paltry $29,700 budget. In fact, hundreds of cities and towns across America are saving over 90% of the animals and doing so on a fraction of PETA’s wealth.

While PETA claims the animals it takes in and kills are “unadoptable,” this is a lie. It is a lie because employees have admitted it is a lie. They have described 8 week old, 10 week old, and 12 week old healthy kittens and puppies routinely and immediately put to death with no effort to find them homes. It is a lie because they have been caught stealing happy and healthy animals and putting them to death. It is a lie because rescue groups, individuals, and veterinarians have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable and PETA insiders have admitted as much, one former intern reporting that he quit in disgust after witnessing perfectly healthy puppies and kittens in the kill room. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspector, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because Ingrid Newkirk herself admitted as much during a television interview: when asked whether or not PETA kills healthy animals, she responded, “Absolutely.” It is a lie because PETA staff have described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA had no comment.

Maya (2)
 

In fact, PETA lied in its reporting to VDACS. On October 18, 2014, in Parksley, VA, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out. They killed her that very day. According to a spokesman for Maya’s family, PETA came to the trailer park where the family lives, where most of the residents are Spanish speaking with few resources. The PETA representatives befriended the residents. They got to know who lived where and who had dogs. In fact, they sat with the family on the same porch from which they later took Maya. Waiting until the family was away from the home, PETA employees backed their van up to the porch and threw biscuits to Maya, in an attempt to coax her off her property and therefore give PETA the ability to claim she was a stray dog “at large.” But Maya refused to stay off the porch and ran back. Thinking that no one was around, one of the employees—who was later charged with larceny—went onto the property and took Maya.

When the family returned and found their beloved Maya missing, they searched around the neighborhood before checking the video on the surveillance camera. That is when they saw the PETA van on the film and recognized the woman who had come to their house on prior occasions to talk to them about Maya. They called PETA and asked for Maya’s return. According to a family spokesperson, PETA claimed it did not have the dog. When PETA was told that its employees had been filmed taking the dog, they hung up. Shortly afterward, a PETA attorney called and informed the family that Maya was dead. PETA had killed her. She may not be the only one. On the day they stole Maya, other animals went missing as well. Had a surveillance video not been available, the killing of Maya would have remained unknown, as are the fates of the other animals. Yet in its reporting of Maya to VDACS, she is listed as a “stray.”

Why?

Why does PETA steal animals and then kill them? Why do they systematically put them to death? PETA refuses to answer questions. But employees who have spoken out about PETA’s killing say it is the result of the deeply disturbing version of animal activism promoted by PETA founder and President, Ingrid Newkirk. They explain how employees are made to watch “heart wrenching” films about animal abuse to drill into them the belief that people are incapable of caring for animals and that “PETA was doing what was best for animals” by killing them. PETA tells its employees that people can’t, don’t, and won’t take care of animals, that the lives of animals with people is one of neglect and abuse and that living with dogs and cats violates their rights. PETA also claims that animals cannot live without human care, which is why they do not support letting free-living cats continue to be free-living. The animals are, in short, damned either way and thus killing them is a “gift.” To PETA, animal activism means killing animals and to roughly 2,000 animals every year, that is precisely what is done. Over the last 12 years, 31,250 animals have been poisoned to death by PETA, an atrocity funded by individuals who erroneously believe that their donations will be used to help rather than end the lives of animals.

The records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services are here.

 

When you donate to PETA, you fund these atrocities against animals. Learn more at www.whyPETAkills.org

phone part 2 769

Photo: This photo, reportedly taken at PETA of needles filled with sodium pentobarbital (the drug used to kill animals), was sent to me by a former PETA employee whose job it was to kill animals. The needles are primed and ready to kill in what appears to be an assembly line fashion.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

 

Does PETA Kill Healthy Puppies & Kittens? “Absolutely”

November 9, 2014 by  

On November 6 at the University of Virginia School of Law, I debated PETA’s attorney on the issue: “The Kill Versus No Kill Debate: Which Animal Shelters Are Most Humane?” I argued for a guaranteed right to life for companion animals entering shelters. PETA argued that animals were better off dead. In the interests of full disclosure, I agreed to have the debate videotaped or audiotaped and to make it available to everyone so people could hear for themselves what each side believed and where each side stood on the issue in their own words. PETA refused.

 

As such, over the next several weeks, I am going to post on the fundamental disagreement between PETA, on the one hand, and on the other, myself and what I believe to be the true No Kill and animal rights position.

 

Yesterday, I posted about their call for the mass extermination of pit bulls in shelters. Today, I address PETA’s claim that “no shelter wants to euthanize animals” (including PETA itself, which kills roughly 2,000 animals per year).

 

petano

Today, an animal entering a shelter in this country has a one in two chance of being killed and in some communities it is as high as 99%, with millions of animals—the vast majority of whom are healthy or treatable—losing their lives every year. The reason for this statistic is as shocking as the statistic itself. In the typical American animal shelter, animals are being killed for two primary reasons: habit and convenience.

They are killed when there are empty cages, within minutes of being walked in the door, without ever being offered for adoption, despite rescue groups ready, willing and able to save them, and despite a whole host of programs and services that would provide those shelters alternatives to killing if only shelters would implement them. Hundreds of American communities with shelters which have embraced these alternatives to killing are now saving between 90% and 99% of the animals proving how unnecessary the killing is and how false the historical excuses used to justify that killing are. Unfortunately, most shelters in this country refuse to follow their lead. Why? Because killing is easy, killing is convenient, and killing has become the default. So why bother with the hard work of implementing alternatives?

To PETA, this is as it should be.

They defend abuse in shelters as long as those shelters are “kill” shelters. They have fought legislation that would have banned convenience killing (when there are empty cages or when qualified rescue groups are willing to save them). They fight efforts to legalize TNR in lieu of killing for community cats. They have told shelters not to foster animals or to work with rescue groups, but to kill those animals instead. And PETA does not just defend the killing that others do, they kill animals themselves.

PETA kills roughly 95% of the thousands of animals they take in and seek out every year while adopting out a paltry 1%, despite revenues of over 30 million dollars a year and millions of animal-loving members. They have killed 29,426 animals in the last 11 years, including healthy puppies like these…

dead puppies_0001

And this one…

dead dog

When PETA representatives have been questioned about this killing, they’ve argued that all of the animals they kill are “unadoptable.” But this claim is a lie for numerous reasons.

Groups and individuals have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable, including this mother cat and kittens…

mama-and-kittens1

PETA insiders have admitted they kill healthy animals. As the spay/neuter van goes out in the morning to sterilize animals, one of its jobs historically has been to pick up puppies and kittens and other healthy animals people surrender to PETA on the way back at the end of the day and then deliver them to this little outbuilding in the parking lot of PETA’s headquarters.

CIMG3329

That building serves only one purpose: to kill animals. They are taken out of the vans and immediately put to death, their bodies stored in the giant walk-in freezer PETA installed for this very purpose. It is a freezer that cost $9,370 and, like the company which incinerates the bodies of PETA’s victims—Pet Cremation Services of Tidewater—was paid for with the donations of animal lovers who could never have imagined that the money they donated to help animals would be used to end their lives instead.

Moreover, PETA staff have described the animals they’ve killed as “perfect” and “adorable.” And PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk herself admitted they kill healthy and treatable animals: when asked whether or not PETA kills “adoptable” animals, she didn’t hesitate, stating, “Absolutely.”

 

Of course, she qualifies it by saying it is only done “when we can’t find them a home” but then she admits to another reporter that they don’t even try to find homes, telling the Virginian-Pilot,

“We are not in the home finding business, although it is certainly true that we do find homes from time to time… Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals no one wants.”

Which begs the question: how can people want animals if PETA does not advertise them, fails to make them available for adoption, and kills them right away?

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

PETA: Kill the Victims

November 8, 2014 by  

On November 6 at the University of Virginia School of Law, I debated PETA’s attorney on the issue: “The Kill Versus No Kill Debate: Which Animal Shelters Are Most Humane?” I argued for a guaranteed right to life for companion animals entering shelters. PETA argued that animals were better off dead. In the interests of full disclosure, I agreed to have the debate videotaped or audiotaped and to make it available to everyone so people could hear for themselves what each side believed and where each side stood on the issue in their own words. PETA refused.

As such, over the next several weeks, I am going to post on the fundamental disagreement between PETA, on the one hand, and on the other, myself and what I believe to be the true No Kill and animal rights position.

First up: pit bulls.

“Most people have no idea that at many animal shelters across the country, any pit bull that comes through the front door doesn’t go out the back door alive. From San Jose to Schenectady, many shelters have enacted policies requiring the automatic destruction of the huge and ever-growing number of ‘pits’ they encounter. This news shocks and outrages the compassionate dog-lover. Here’s another shocker: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the very organization that is trying to get you to denounce the killing of chickens for the table, foxes for fur or frogs for dissection, supports the shelters’ pit-bull policy… People who genuinely care about dogs won’t be affected by a ban on pits.”

That is what PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk once wrote in an OpEd piece that appeared in newspapers across the country. More recently, PETA sent a letter to the Mayor of Williamson County, TN, telling him not to work with rescuers, not to foster sick animals, and to kill every pit bull in the shelter: “PETA also recommends a ban on the adoption/release of dangerous dogs and fighting breeds (commonly known as ‘pit bulls’).”

There is no dog in America more maligned and misrepresented than those classified by shelters as a “pit bull.” There are no shelter dogs more in need of the humane movement’s compassion, in need of a call to arms on their behalf, and in need of what should be the full force of a shelter’s sanctuary and protection. Many shelters and animal protection organizations, however, have determined that these dogs are not worthy of their help. And no one has been more emphatic and unapologetic than Ingrid Newkirk and PETA in promoting this unfair and deadly double standard—along with the idea that that those who care about animals needn’t concern themselves with the fate of these particular dogs. Moreover, recent research shows that shelters misidentify breeds as much as 75 percent of the time. And as used by shelters, law enforcement agencies and even courts, “Pit Bull” is not a breed of dog. It is, according to a leading advocacy organization, “a catch-all term used to describe a continually expanding incoherent group of dogs, including pure-bred dogs and mixed-breed dogs. A ‘Pit Bull’ is any dog an animal control officer, shelter worker, dog trainer, politician, dog owner, police officer, newspaper reporter or anyone else says is a ‘Pit Bull.’” When it comes to dogs we call “pit bulls,” shelters are not only unnecessarily killing them based on meaningless stereotypes, they are killing dogs they mistakenly think fit those stereotypes by the way they look.

PETA’s answer, however, is to  continue killing the victim, as they tried to do when they stated that the dogs abused by Michael Vick should be put to death. Thankfully, the court declined. Instead of being overdosed with barbiturates, put into garbage bags, and then sent to rot in a landfill as PETA suggested, they were given the chance to:

Play with toys

1

Experience love

2

Get a warm embrace

3

Get showered with kindness

4

Receive affection

5

 Feel safe

6

 Experience joy

7

In short, the happy endings PETA did not want them to have.

 

UVAdebate.condensed

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Follow the Money

July 8, 2014 by  

Why I Will Not Be Speaking at the FARM “Animal Rights” Conference

FARM Post FINAL_0001

“The Animal Rights National Conference is devoted to advancing the vision that ‘animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.’ The Conference does not welcome advocacy of continued exploitation of animals [even] under improved conditions, sometimes labeled as ‘humane’…” –Animal Rights Conference “Safe Space” Policy.

Early last month, I posted on Facebook that I would be speaking at FARM’s upcoming Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles. In that announcement, I expressed guarded hope that the agreed upon terms of my participation in that conference—that I would be given an hour to share the No Kill philosophy and then show my film—might signal a change of heart by the organizers of that event, away from their historical embrace of people who advocate the killing of companion animals and towards an authentic embrace of a true animal rights philosophy, one that included the rights of companion animals currently being slaughtered by the millions in American shelters.

I am sorry to report that I will not be speaking. Not only was my hope misplaced, but the statement released by conference organizers that it “does not welcome advocacy of continued exploitation of animals [even] under improved conditions, sometimes labeled as ‘humane’” is a lie. The Animal Rights Conference continues to welcome speakers who promote “exploitation” under the guise of “humane” if those animals are dogs, cats, rabbits, and other companion animals. In fact, far beyond mere “exploitation,” the Animal Rights Conference welcomes those who advocate the systematic eradication of companion animals. It allows them to speak, provides them political cover, highlights them, inducts them into its hall of fame, and prohibits other speakers from criticizing them. Far from advancing the rights of companion animals, the Animal Rights Conference is helping ensure their continued slaughter.

FARM is trying to cover its track by claiming that I “added a last minute stipulation that no one proposing a path other than his could speak on the same day he spoke…” Like their “vision,” that is also a lie. It was FARM that broke our agreement—for the second time this conference and the third time is as many conferences. An 11th hour change to the schedule revealed that despite earlier and repeated assurances that I would be given adequate time to share my message (a one hour session by myself), my speaking time was cut and I was told that I would have to co-present with Merritt Clifton, a man who doesn’t believe we can adopt our way out of killing despite hundreds of cities which have proved otherwise, defends shelters that kill despite empty cages when those shelters are run by people he likes, and has made a career out of denigrating dogs commonly referred to as “pit bulls.” In fact, a recent issue of Time magazine includes a hit piece on dogs which prominently features fear mongering by Merritt Clifton.

Rather than present a workshop on how No Kill is an animal rights issue and how it can be—and has been—achieved, I would have to spend what little time was now afforded to me responding to Clifton’s assertions about the dangerousness of “pit bulls,” the inability to achieve No Kill through adoptions, and why empty cages—even if it means killing—is necessary. Only here’s the rub: I was also told I could not criticize him for saying so. And it is why, under these circumstances, I would have never agreed to speak in the first place. I pulled out when they changed the agreed upon terms of my participation, even after they admitted they violated our agreement, not the other way around.

Despite all the talk, sent to attendees and speakers alike, that the Animal Rights Conference is a “safe space” for animals where talk of “exploitation” would not be tolerated, attendees will be treated to two speakers who believe that “pit bulls” should be executed, that shelter dogs are dangerous to adopt, and that No Kill is impossible. In the case of speaker Ingrid Newkirk, attendees will hear from a woman who has trained her staff and volunteers to seek out over 2,000 animals annually, including healthy kittens and puppies, in order to inject over 90% of them with a fatal dose of poison. Newkirk believes that animals want to die and should be killed, that killing them is a “gift,” and shelters should continue killing, despite readily available lifesaving alternatives. This is not a “safe space” for animals as they claim. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is to condone and encourage people who wish to school others in how to actively harm animals and deny them their most basic and fundamental rights, chief among them, their right to live.

Why are they doing this? Why invite me to speak, agree to conditions, and then break that agreement not once, but twice, at the last minute? Follow the money. PETA is a “Gold Sponsor” of the Animal Rights Conference and despite all the talk of ethics and “safe space,” FARM, the conference organizer, appears willing to sell out companion animals to the highest bidder.

This week, if you wish to find several people who represent the anti-thesis of what an animal rights movement should stand for, look no further than the “Animal Rights Conference.” And that is why one person who will not be found there is me.

————-

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Protests Welcome!

February 4, 2014 by  

petaprotest

As many of you know, I used to volunteer with PETA. As a young vegan living in the Northeast, one night each week, I would stuff envelopes and put packets together for them. I loved animals. And therefore, I loved PETA. Today, I still love animals. In fact I’ve dedicated my life to saving them. Which is why—as a former shelter director, the head of a national organization focused on ending the systematic killing of animals in shelters, and the author of a book on PETA—I’ve come to be one of their fiercest critics.

It started when I was still a volunteer. One day, my roommate, a former PETA employee, found a dog in need of a home. We called him Ray. As volunteers, I asked her why we didn’t just take Ray—a young, happy, healthy dog—to PETA. Surely, PETA, with its millions of dollars and millions of animal loving members, would find him a home. But she said “No,” because PETA would just kill him. Spit take!

That is when I did what anyone who truly loves animals would have done, I walked away from them. I’ve since come to learn that they kill over 90% of the animals they take it in, including healthy puppies and kittens, that they have called for the killing of all “pit bulls” in shelters, that they advocate the round up and killing of healthy community cats, oppose shelter reform, do not advocate right to life for animals, and kill animals after promising to find them homes. I love animals, including dogs and cats, so I cannot support an organization dedicated to killing them based on the belief that “pets” are “slaves,” that life is suffering, that animals are better off dead and therefore to kill them is a “gift,” as PETA founder and President Ingrid Newkirk believes. My article discussing their anti-animal views and actions in in the Huffington Post has over a quarter of a million Facebook “likes,” 90,000 shares, and one million page views.

Working to expose the disturbing truth about what PETA really is, I am frequently the subject of character assassination by PETA supporters and many of the people who like my Facebook page have told me they have heard from some of them, especially “Mary” and “Julie,” both of who not only deliberately lie about who I am and what I believe, but are part of a larger group of No Kill opponents intent on tearing me down, including those who have threatened to kill my dog and “behead” me for the “crime” of advocating right to life for animals in shelters. (“Julie” in fact wrote an article called “Nathan Winograd Should Be Beheaded.”) Now, “Julie” and her acolytes are threatening to protest at the Minneapolis screening of Redemption, a film based on my book of the same name about the No Kill revolution in America. The first ever screening in Minneapolis will be a red carpet event, includes an after party with some of the people who appear in the film, and is open to the public.

I actually welcome the protest and here’s why.

When people see them protesting and then see the film, the disconnect between what the PETA supporters claim and what I advocate will be obvious. The film is an inspirational, uplifting portrayal of what we can accomplish when we reject killing and implement common sense alternatives, about the tremendous lifesaving change that follows when shelters believe in the community and trust in the power of compassion. It is above love, which is why I am screening it nationwide as part of my 2014 “No Kill is Love” tour. Everyone who sees it will instantly dismiss the protesters and see them for who they really are and what they really stand for. How do I know? Because past is prologue. Here are just three examples. A shelter director who heard horrible things about me and my approach (similar to the kinds of lies Julie uses to defend killing) came to hear me speak. Afterward, she sent me this email:

I spent four years working at a humane society… I was a caregiver and euthanasia technician. Sixty-four animals have died at the end of my needle. When I was killing animals, I stepped outside of myself and was a different person. I held it together all but one time.

 

While killing a mother and her five two-day old children, I broke down. At the time I did not know what set me off. I had always been in control of my emotions and remained focused. Now I can look back and realize I lost it because I let myself feel what I was doing.

 

Until hearing you speak, I never blamed myself for what I did. I played it off as doing what my manager had told me to do and it was how I played my part in animal welfare. I believed that these animals martyred themselves for the movement. That their deaths were not in vain because it would… lead to the end of suffering. How very wrong I was…

 

As a shelter director now, did some of your comments piss me off? Absolutely… But I got what you were saying… I want to believe I am this progressive person, but my life’s passion was based on an old model that did nothing but fail.

 

Will I ever go back to being the person I was at [my old humane society]? No, I just cannot.

 

I want to let you know you opened me up to a new train of thought. One I am dedicated to sharing with my community.

 

Thank you.

The second email came from a new shelter director who recently took over a troubled municipal kill shelter in California and attended a conference put on by a group of regressive shelter directors that run killing shelters and have historically viewed the No Kill movement as both a threat to their hegemony and the status quo they ardently defend. A speaker they hired called me a “terrorist” and urged shelter directors to be on guard because I was “everywhere.” This shelter director subsequently heard I was giving a seminar near her community and came to hear me speak in order to learn about her “enemy” and prepare herself. She sat in the back row so she could sneak out if things got uncomfortable. Instead of sneaking out, she called me afterward to say that far from being uncomfortable, she was riveted by my message and wanted to make No Kill happen in her own community. We’ve been communicating ever since, her shelter has since seen significant drops in killing utilizing the approach I advocate, and she now wants to host a screening of Redemption in her city.

And, finally, after a presentation in Toronto, I received this email:

Recently I attended your appearance in Toronto. I’ll be honest I went because my friend, a fellow rescuer and shelter worker, made me. Before that I was offended by the statement you made about pet overpopulation being a myth. If people protested you in Toronto I would have been there.

 

Unlike the OSPCA and under the pressure of my friend I felt that if you had any useful information that could help with saving animals I should attend. I was blown away. I owe you an apology. You are right and I feel like fool for buying into the idea that we can’t save all these animals. I never supported killing shelter animals, but I never saw the fault in the way shelters are run.

 

Thank you for coming to Toronto. I picked up a copy of Redemption and it’s a book I can’t put down.

Whenever PETA or its devotees attack me by name, the number of followers on my Facebook page spikes. In fact, it has grown by over 15,000 people in just the last few weeks as “Julie” has been emailing rescuers all over the country asking them not to see the film. Instead, these people read what I have to say and the majority agree with me for the simple reason that most people love animals and will not abide their needless slaughter as the PETA supporters do because the PETA supporters, in fact, don’t love animals.* Instead, they love PETA and the identity (and in some cases, the paycheck) it gives them. Their protests show their true colors—a blind, out of touch, misanthropic and cultish devotion to killing—which further drives people into the arms of the No Kill movement. Every time they attack me, the forces in favor of killing animals weaken and the No Kill movement gets stronger.

In short, protesters welcome.

—–

In truth, they do not. Killing is not an act of kindness. It is not an act of love. It is an act of violence. And those that perpetuate it, promote it or defend it do not love animals because there is no way to twist and torture the word “love” to encompass poisoning or gassing animals to death.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Here is my story: www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=11902

And this is my vision: http://vimeo.com/48445902

Next Page »