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.
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