Unfortunately, the magazine accepted their excuse, overlooking the real reasons why
Newsweek has a recurring feature they call “Fact Check” in which they evaluate various claims circulating on social media, ostensibly to determine whether those claims are true. The magazine recently evaluated the claim that PETA kills thousands of animals every year.
There is no denying that PETA has killed over 40,000 animals. Those records come from PETA itself which it is required to report to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Not surprisingly, Newsweek determined that PETA has in fact killed “tens of thousands of animals.”
Unfortunately, the person who they assigned to evaluate it was not completely up to the task. A recent college graduate — who describes herself as still “finding my voice” — the author excused that killing — labeling it as “Mostly True” instead of just “True” — because she bought into one of PETA’s two big lies as to why they kill so many. Quoting PETA itself, the author claimed that the killing “is to be expected with its open-door policy of taking in many animals no one else would accept.” (The other big lie is that all the animals PETA kills are suffering.)
First and foremost, the excuse ignores the hundreds of municipal and contracted-shelters across the country that also have an “open-door policy” but do not kill. Millions of Americans now live in communities served by municipal shelters that are finding homes for over 95% and upwards of 99% of animals, returning the term “euthanasia” to its dictionary definition: an act of mercy for “hopelessly sick or injured individuals.” These communities are large and small, urban and rural, red and blue, affluent and impoverished, homogenous and diverse. And they are achieving that success on a fraction of PETA’s budget.
In 2020, by contrast, PETA put to death 1,119 out of 1,542 cats. That’s a kill rate of over seven out of 10 cats. Another 407 went to pounds that also kill animals. Historically, many of the kittens and cats PETA has taken to those pounds have been killed, often within minutes, despite being young (as young as six weeks old) and healthy.
If those cats and kittens were killed or displaced others who were killed, that puts the overall cat death rate as high as 99%. They only adopted out 16 cats, an adoption rate of 1% despite millions of “animal loving” supporters, a staff of hundreds, and revenues of $66,277,867. While dogs fared a little better, 600 out of 1,052 were put to death. Less than 2% were adopted out. And PETA staff also killed 83% of other animal companions: 40 out of 48.
To date, PETA has killed 42,573 dogs and cats and sent thousands more to be killed at local pounds, that we know of. The number may be many times higher. According to a former PETA employee whose job it was to acquire animals to kill:
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.
Second, PETA does not even try to find homes for many animals, as evidenced by a state inspection report showing PETA kills 90% of animals within 24 hours without doing so.
There’s more. Newsweek also ignored that:
PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk wrote an OpEd which appeared in newspapers across the country admitting PETA supports a policy that all “pit bulls” should be killed in all “shelters” in America.
PETA employees were arrested and put on trial for rounding up and killing animals in the back of a van after promising to find them homes.
Other PETA representatives were arrested after they stole Maya, a “happy and healthy” dog, from her home when her family was out and illegally killed her. (Maya’s family’s sued PETA and after PETA lost a motion where they claimed that the dog was worthless, settled for $49,000.)
PETA employees were told to lie to people by promising they would find homes in order to get them to surrender animals, but the animals were immediately killed instead.
PETA headquarters has a “terrifying” culture of killing.
PETA advocates for the round up and killing of healthy, sterilized community cats.
PETA rounds up to kill or have killed healthy kittens. (Here are more records showing PETA rounds up to kill cats and kittens and here are even more.)
PETA tells public officials not to foster animals and not to work with rescue groups.
The mass killing of pit bulls, the round up and killing of healthy cats and kittens, the stealing and killing of animals who already have homes, the lying to people by promising homes only to kill the animals right away (including in the back of a van), and the call for others to do the same has nothing to do with their “open admission” policy and it is not because the animals are “suffering.” And of course, PETA is not a “shelter” in any commonsense meaning of the word and has no contract to run one. It is not obligated to take in animals and it certainly is not required to kill them. It chooses to do so. The question, of course, is Why?
PETA employees say it is the result of the deeply perverse 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 instill into them the belief that people are incapable of caring for animals and that PETA is doing what is best for animals by killing them. PETA also claims that animals cannot live without human care, which is why they round up animals living outdoors in order to put them to death. The animals are, in short, damned either way and thus killing them is a “gift.”
How do we know? In addition to the evidence above, Why PETA Kills, my book that covers this very topic, is based on exhaustive research, including records acquired from civil and criminal court cases, documents received under the Public Records Act, testimony by PETA staff members, and confidential informants.
Of course, all this information was readily available to the young reporter and her editors at Newsweek. Exposes have been published in various publications including the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, CNN, various other publications around the country, and, of course, my own articles and book. A simple Google search would have uncovered them, which makes the cub reporter’s conclusion all the more disappointing.
And while she might be excused for her profound failure as she admits she is still “finding her voice,” that she is a fact checker and did not fact check and, more importantly, that there are life and death consequences to her failure, would mitigate against doing so. More importantly, that doesn’t excuse Newsweek. The magazine was founded in 1933. If it still hasn’t found its voice after almost 90 years, I doubt it ever will.
Why PETA Kills is available for FREE download today and tomorrow from Amazon. (Please note: You don’t need a Kindle or Kindle Unlimited to read it if you click below Kindle Unlimited where it says “$0.00 to buy”.)
It is the book PETA does not want you to read. They sued to intimidate me and my sources into silence; a lawsuit two national journalism organizations called “alarming.” Despite PETA spending tens of thousands of dollars hiring one of the most expensive law firms in the country, however, I won.
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