PETA’s Reply

An official spokeswoman from PETA headquarters responded to the PETA page, which contains my story, a brief editorial, and some interaction with readers.

The response is specifically replying to that page, not simply the story itself, yet she didn’t really address the most important points that were brought up on that page. My response follows their reply, which is presented unedited and in its entirety:

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:57:11
Dear Mr. Cassingham:

The two individuals mentioned in your editorial The Truth About PETA, (7/17/05) are compassionate people. Ms. Hinkle has helped countless animals, delivering free houses to dogs left out in the cold without shelter, providing free veterinary care, and even helping to build the first cat shelter in Bertie County, N.C.

PETA has no magic wand to place the droves of unwanted animals in loving homes. But we have prevented suffering by providing euthanasia services because before we did so, animals were shot with a .22, gassed in a windowless metal box, and injected with a paralytic agent that left them to suffocate, fully conscious as their organs seized up. We have also found homes for many animals, sterilized others free of charge, cleaned the shelters, sent wardens to training programs, and worked with local veterinarians. At the same time, we have pressed the counties to implement a spay/neuter program and an adoption program, to open during evening hours, and more, but so far this has not happened.

Please, if you would like to help stop animal killings, stay away from pet shops, adopt from your local shelter, spay or neuter, and never abandon animals when they become inconvenient. Readers can visit to learn how else to help.

Daphna Nachminovitch, Director
Domestic Animals and Wildlife Rescue & Information
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

My Response

The “PETA page” already addressed the issue of animal overpopulation. On that page, which PETA apparently reviewed, I said: “Yes, we definitely do have a pet overpopulation problem…. Still, what does this have to do with PETA taking in animals from shelters with the promise that they’ll be giving them good homes, but then killing them in the back of the pick-up van without making any attempt to make good their promise?

And what, exactly, is the justification for dumping these animals in the trash? And how is it that PETA kills such a high percentage of the animals entrusted to its care when the closest SPCA shelter to PETA’s headquarters is able to find good homes for most of its animals?”

I asked Daphna Nachminovitch if she’d please address those questions before I published her letter. You guessed it: I waited several days, but there was no reply.*

She does conclude with good advice: adopt from your local shelter, spay or neuter, and never abandon animals when they become inconvenient.

Sadly, PETA doesn’t even follow its own advice, preferring to kill animals rather than attempt to find them good homes, and then secretly dumping the bodies in someone else’s trash when the pileup of dead puppies becomes “inconvenient.”

Again: shame on PETA for daring to lecture anyone on what is the “ethical” treatment of animals! Read again the PETA page and their official response and decide for yourself: do you really want to support this organization?

*Hey! They replied!

Good for them. Ms. Nachminovitch asked if I’d replace the letter above with a new one, but as many thousands of my readers have already read the above, I don’t think it’s reasonable to make huge changes to it. I’m thus publishing verbatim several paragraphs she added in her second letter:

Mon, 15 Aug 2005 17:05:34

A terrible mistake was made with the dead bodies, but no secret was made of the fact that PETA euthanizes animals and that the animals retrieved from the pounds would be provided with a humane death. In fact, it was I who met and spoke with officials, and not one of them ever even asked me about adoption. The pounds don’t have an adoption program, an adoption rate, or even open hours, and never have. The animals PETA was picking up as a service to the counties were slated to die. Badly. Before PETA stepped in, the animals in Bertie County were shot and gassed in this rusty, windowless gas box: [note: link removed since it went inactive; “” is a PETA web site. -rc]; in Windsor, animals were shot; and in Northampton County, animals were gassed in a cinderblock cell (the use of which has been resumed due to the media frenzy that followed this incident) and injected with a paralytic agent that left them to suffocate, fully conscious as their organs seized up. Photos of these facilities can be seen at [ditto the above. -rc]. Most people don’t realize such pounds and gas chambers even exist in this day and age.

You compare apples and oranges when you cite the Norfolk SPCA’s (NSPCA’s) adoption rate. The NSPCA is a small private organization that does not take in animals it deems unadoptable or animals it has no room to house (please see [again link removed: 404] for a recent news story on this situation). Animals not accepted by limited admission shelters are then taken in by shelters that are forced to euthanize, or, in many cases, are abandoned on the street ( [ditto: site shut down. -rc]), or even abused by the frustrated people who no longer want them ( [ditto: site shut down. -rc]).

We have also found homes for many animals, sterilized others free of charge, cleaned the shelters, sent wardens to training programs, and worked with local veterinarians. At the same time, we have pressed the counties to implement a spay/neuter program and an adoption program, to have open hours, and more, but so far this has not happened. Until this incident, no one seemed to care at all what happened to homeless animals in these areas.

While this still doesn’t address most of my questions, I appreciate that PETA made any attempt at reply.

The Point Remains

As I said on the PETA page: “Do I think PETA is 100 percent evil? Absolutely not…. Some of what they do is great.”

I disagree with a lot of what they do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do anything good. They do, but it seems that most of their budget goes toward what actual animal lovers would consider good use.

Meanwhile, I chose not to run the many letters from readers who complained about various other PETA actions. This isn’t intended to be a clearing house of all the “he said, she saids” about PETA; again, it’s to provoke thought and dialogue about a very specific and apparently representative issue.

The Bottom Line: PETA doesn’t do what a lot of its supporters thinks it does, and you should know the truth. If you want to know more, use your favorite search engine. There’s plenty out there on both sides.

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11 Comments on “PETA’s Reply

  1. I find it interesting that it took PETA 5 days to respond. The PETA response is … interesting in its content, but is in no way responsive to the points raised. I won’t try to respond for them.

    One would think, from The PETA response, that only the “other shelters” method of death is painful. What is the PETA method of euthanasia? By all indications, PETA believes possession of a controlled chemical by an unlicensed shelter worker and the injection of it to kill animals is OK. What happens if that worker misses the vein? How much pain is inflicted as the poison circulates? How long does it take for the animal to die?

    I currently have 2 dogs (both spayed/neutered and healthy) and have had dogs all my life. I have, in the past, been forced to pull the trigger on a pet dog I loved. (The dog got a taste for blood.) The dog died quickly, with no chemical paralysis or pain.

    PETA tries to hide their back of the van actions in the dead of night, and portray themselves as the savior of animals. Are they protecting others? Or are they protecting the organizational image? They will never get my support.

  2. I’m sorry I can’t list specifics here, but in the past, PETA members have participated in several terrorist acts, destroying private property to protect the “rights” of animals. They haven’t directly hurt any PEOPLE yet, but they have made it apparent that if you experiment on or harm an animal in any way, you run the risk of incurring the wrath of PETA, losing your car, home, or place of work, in the case of some meat-processing plants. PETA itself has dodged the bullet by stating that the members responsible for the acts acted without approval from the organization, and that other members had no idea what was going to happen. Whether this is true or not, no one really knows except for PETA members.

    If you dig into the links on these pages, you’ll see that PETA paid for the legal defense of one such domestic terrorist, so their hands are indeed dirty — in writing. -rc

  3. A year or two ago PETA had an article in our local paper decrying animal medical experiments. As a college student, I and some of my classmates spent time at National Institutes of Health as members of their Normal Control Patients program. In short, we were used as experimental subjects while there.

    It was instructive that when I replied to the PETA article suggesting that PETA members should apply to replace some of the experimental animals (the newspaper did print my letter), PETA was very quiet in response.

    Incidentally, some of the projects we participated in were: Initial human use of Heart catheter, a digestive study which involved swallowing a sample probe (never learned what that was called), various speech and psychological studies, early leukemia treatment studies.

    Thank you for your service to humanity. -rc

  4. I have been looking for an animal welfare group that cares about the welfare of animals and humane treatment without the fanatical vegan dogma attached. Eating meat does not preclude me or others like myself, from caring about animals. I have killed and butchered animals as part of life growing up. We raised animals for food. We were not cruel to them nor kept them in tiny spaces. Where is the middle ground?

  5. NAFC (North American Fishing Club) & its affiliate “Wildlife Forever” which I belong to, are asking for help in stopping PETA from prohibiting legal hunting and fishing in the USA. I am a retired field biologist who loves to fish, but I don’t hunt anymore. I spent much of my life practicing conservation before “going green” became a modern buzzword. I have two pet dogs that I love and treat like part of my family, and I heartily resent the implication that I’m the enemy of animals. Both dogs are rescued “mutts”, from the SPCA (my favorite charity). They are both altered, licensed, and go to regular checkups to the vet, like one would do for his/her own children. When such animals such as the Snakehead fish, and Asian carp, which threaten to wipe out our indigenous fish, are treated as someone who has more rights than I do, it ticks me off!!!

  6. The only thing I can agree with PETA about is the killing of animals for frivolous things like fur coats. Especially animals that no one eats, like foxes and mink. Other than that, I think PETA can go suck it!

  7. PETA does a lot of good. If we lived in a perfect world, there would be no need of euthanazia for our animals. Being this is not a perfect world, sometimes this has to be done. There are so many unwanted pets, abused and neglected, that I feel we need stronger laws. All people puchasing a pet must have them spayed or neutered immediately or they cannot purchase the dog. No more backyard breeders or puppy mills allowed (very large fines for this). Only licensed breeders who are constantly supervised. There are too many ignorant people out there; the law has to take over and more fines and jail time might make them take heed and become more responsible.

    This is the ONLY way we can stop all the unwanted pets. It breaks my heart knowing that so many of these sweet animals have to die because of the uncaring and irresponsible people in this world. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!

  8. The idiocy of PETA and as someone said above, the useless frenzy of vegan activity, are only smoke and mirrors. The more they get their name in the news the more they can do what is REALLY scary. PETA is a political lobby group, let me repeat that, PETA is a political lobby group who, by definition, want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens who do what they should concerning not just pets, but all animals.

    Why is it that PETA and the moronic wing-nut gun control groups are so keen to make laws that truly punish the law-abiding taking their rights away, but sit on their fourth point of contact and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the criminal element who DO break the existing laws (which are quite stringent: enforce those and we are doing all we can).

    If all these fringe freak advocate groups would focus their energy and most importantly their corporate wealth on blasting criminals and having them prosecuted and incarcerated, our lives would be less cluttered and more assured that our rights will not be endangered or taken away with the impunity of these political vermin. Benjamin Franklin said “The price for freedom is eternal vigilance” and that includes attacks on our freedoms from the inside of our country as well as from the outside.

  9. There’s no question that callous dumping of dead dogs into someone else’s dumpsters is ethically unacceptable. But I think that the “manner” death in these cases matters, too. If there is any truth to PETA’s claim that these animals would have died a horrible, tortuous death at some uncaring facility at someone else’s hands, but were instead euthanized in a quiet, peaceful, and as much as possible, dignified, way by experienced, compassionate persons supervised by PETA, then I don’t think that should get lost in the story. After all, a death without pain or suffering is something we all wish for ourselves, too.

    At trial, two PETA employees involved, Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook, were noted to not have the legal authority to possess, let alone use, the drugs they did to kill the animals. I thus have to conclude they were not certified (let alone licensed) “experienced” veterinarians. But, again, Hinkle and Cook promised to work to find the dogs “good homes” …when they clearly had no intention of even trying to re-house them. -rc


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