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Feb 09 2013

PETA is Inhumane

I have been accused of a lot of things in the past by animal liberation. It’s usually about me hating on animals.

I do have a dog, his name is Tigger (because when he gets excited he bounces on his hind legs). And I love animals and despite being the abject carnivore that I am do feel we need to improve how we treat them and treat them humanely even when taking them for slaughter (it’s also why I am against Kosher and Halal slaughter if they don’t use a captive bolt gun…)

But when I mocked Camille Marino and her ongoing quest to harass and terrify biology and medical students and the staff of the University of Florida I delved into a world that was genuinely terrifying. It’s why I write under a pseudonym and it’s why I recognise that people like Stephanie, Ophelia, Jennifer, PZ Myers, Natalie and others have taken a massive risk using their real names. That my stance on pseudonyms was well founded due to the harassment they face on a regular basis…

And I received a lot of mail back then about how I was evil. I was threatened with everything from economic sanctions to torture and death. I felt justified by using the pseudonym to keep me and the people I worked with safe.

I also received a lot of mail about how I was fighting for people who often were fighting for animal welfare and better treatment of animals in labs. One of my longest readers is from those arguments.

If you haven’t read it elsewhere then read it from here. PETA are often accused of killing the vast majority of animals they “rescue”, a reader sent me this link.

It speaks for itself doesn’t it? That for all the whinging about medical research PETA are destroying animals for no reason while portraying themselves as humane alternative.

26 comments

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  1. 1
    kraut

    Your headline does a disservice to all the humane societies who clearly let their sponsors and the public know that they destroy animals that they cannot transfer to new owners. It is the correct and economical way to deal with the problem, and not “inhumane”, provided the killing is done swift and without discomfort to the animal.

    The problem with PITA (pin in the arse) is their utter hypocrisy.

    BTW – I am a hunter and a recreational fishermen and an ex lab tech, so I am very familiar with killing animals for food and for research.

  2. 2
    Avicenna

    Oh I know that… I am a farm boy at heart…

    I am using their own “terminology” for such shelters…

  3. 3
    brucee

    Ironically, Avi’s FTB web page loaded with an ad from a cat advocacy group, which claims that 70% of cats in the USA entering shelters are killed there. It appears then that PETA of Virginia kills more than usual.

  4. 4
    slc1

    Mr. Avicenna is entirely correct. The nutcases who belong to PETA are terrorists and quite dangerous folks, much like their counterparts in the extremist Muslim world who targeted Salman Rushdie.

  5. 5
    And How

    Thanks for the information.

    I had always wondered what PETA’s solution was for animal over-population. Now, I will forever understand their acronym to mean:

    P. – People for
    E. – Eradication of
    T. – Rame
    A. – Animals

    :)

  6. 6
    And How

    Opps! Typo I meant

    T. – Tame

    Kinda, ruined the joke there. Sorry.

  7. 7
    unbound

    I’ve known about the PETA problem for a long time. If they spent even a small fraction of their coffers (they get tens of millions a year in donations) on the actual animals they claim to care so much about, they wouldn’t have one of the worst track records of euthanizing the animals.

    PETA claims that they are humane in putting animals down because they are taking in “hopeless” cases. But, again, they could easily spend their money on large plots of land and at least let the animals die naturally.

    Of course, PETA fully realizes that they won’t get nearly the headline coverage they get if they really took steps to help out the animals.

  8. 8
    Thorne

    they could easily spend their money on large plots of land and at least let the animals die naturally.

    This might be a viable solution for some of the animals they take in, but many of them are in such bad shape that the humane course is to euthanize them. When animals are in constant pain, whether from abuse or medical conditions stemming from overbreeding, keeping them on some kind of ranch could be worse than just putting them down. But there should be many who, after some basic medical care and feeding, would be able to live out relatively normal lives in such places, and killing them would, I think, be against whatever strange beliefs these PETA people have.

    Of course, that would take money, and that would mean less money for harassing innocent people.

  9. 9
    Ed

    I am a very carnivorous person myself, but the ethics of animal treatment is a topic I always have in the back of my mind and what really stands out to me in what you wrote:
    “I do have a dog, his name is Tigger (because when he gets excited he bounces on his hind legs). And I love animals and despite being the abject carnivore that I am do feel we need to improve how we treat them and treat them humanely even when taking them for slaughter”
    is how eerily similar it is to what anti-gay people often say – “I’m not against gay people per say, in fact I have many gay friends myself …”, or what racist people often say and so on.

    Whatever arguments you have for or against animal treatment, the one above is a really bad one imo.

  10. 10
    Avicenna

    Except gay people don’t exist solely for the purpose of consumption of agricultural wastage to convert it into food… And you are comparing purpose bred animals to human beings. The entire purpose of a cow is to convert roughage we cannot use into protein that we can use. The Vegan diet is actually less effective than a mixed one. The majority of farm animals consume “agricultural wastage” like stalks, stems and husks. Only in very rich countries do we feed our farm animals “human” food and even then it’s often wastages of human food production like the slurry left over from alcohol production (It’s pretty healthy stuff) and the left overs from cornflakes manufacture. Or food that’s “spoilt” since many animals can handle food we considered as spoilt and inedible. Traditionally we fed these animals table scraps.

    It’s a poor analogy mate. Gay people are not any of these things. They are human beings.

    If you really wish to reduce the amount of animals dying for food? Encourage more people to eat different cuts of meat. Not just “Fillet Steak”. The US method of slaughter is primarily aimed at Fillet Steak resulting in massive wastages. In fact the cut is so wanted that people often waste an entire animal just to get it. It’s like how people demand a leg of lamb or a saddle of lamb but never once think that there is shoulder of lamb as an option to both for roasts (Because of it’s cheapness, I can go out and get a shoulder of lamb and make a sunday roast for half the price of a leg of lamb and have it taste just as good.)

  11. 11
    Ed

    You’re making it worse, stop.

    “Cows are not human beings => we can eat them” is not a valid argument, it’s just an appeal to tradition. And slaves were to an extent purpose bred solely for the purpose of making lives of other people better, so neither is that an argument. And your last argument, while true, could be paralleled to saying “if you really wish to increase slave happiness, make sure you don’t split their families up, but don’t tell me about freeing them – poor things would just starve to death if you did that” a couple hundred years ago.

  12. 12
    Rowan vet-tech

    Thorne:

    Actually, the majority of animals that PETA takes are perfectly capable of being adopted. Many, if not most, are not suffering to such a degree that euthanasia is required. Many of these animals are owner surrenders, or taken from other shelters. PETA is a horrible group. I’m a vet tech and I have a better record of adopting out animals that I rescue. I’ve had 2 kittens die, one from a gastric stricture found on necropsy, the other from being premature. I had to euthanise one puppy that turned out to have distemper. All in all, I have rescued over 20 animals, including an 8 year old chihuahua in dystocia and an 8 week old puppy with hydrocephalus. I just re-homed the puppy I got who had parvo.

    If I can do this, PETA could do a lot more if they actually *cared* about animals.

  13. 13
    jenniferphillips

    I blogged about this (Animal Rights Activism) recently too, and have a follow-up post in preparation. Yet another situation in which the ‘both sides are equally bad’ argument completely fails.

  14. 14
    lostintime

    The entire purpose of a cow is to convert roughage we cannot use into protein that we can use

    The purpose that we project onto animals doesn’t have any bearing on the ethics of farming and slaughtering them. The fact that we adore some animals (dogs) and stick knives into others doesn’t justify unnecessary cruelty, but it is a reflection of our cultural biases. Pit bull terriers might have been bred for the purpose of dog fighting, but the fact that they have been certainly doesn’t justify that practice.

    The Vegan diet is actually less effective than a mixed one. The majority of farm animals consume “agricultural wastage” like stalks, stems and husks. Only in very rich countries do we feed our farm animals “human” food and even then it’s often wastages of human food production like the slurry left over from alcohol production (It’s pretty healthy stuff) and the left overs from cornflakes manufacture

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock farming consumes about 750 million tons of grain and most of the world’s soybean crop. It’s true that we supplement the diets of farmed animals with roughage and food waste, but this doesn’t turn them into perpetual motion machines – they still lose 90% of the energy that’s fed to them and a large portion of that energy could have been harvested directly. Factory farms strive to feed animals as cheaply as possible, but this is by no means something to be celebrated, not least in terms of animal welfare. The Union of Concerned Scientists list some of the ingredients used in animal feed in pursuit of efficiency: same species meat, diseased animals, feathers, hair, skin, hooves and blood, manure, plastics, drugs and chemicals – and unhealthy amounts of grain.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/they-eat-what-the-reality-of.html

  15. 15
    Nathair

    many of them are in such bad shape that the humane course is to euthanize them.

    That claim gets a great big citation needed.

  16. 16
    kraut

    “The Union of Concerned Scientists list some of the ingredients used in animal feed in pursuit of efficiency: same species meat, diseased animals, feathers, hair, skin, hooves and blood, manure, plastics, drugs and chemicals – and unhealthy amounts of grain.”

    Woooooo, does that sound ever scary…I am shuddering…
    There is so much hype and irrational bull being posted here, it ain’t even funny.

    Ok – what is wrong on feeding processed slaughterhouse waste to animals? What does hair, hooves etc contain? Protein, collagen, keratin just in an inedible form. I can rationally not argue against utilizing those resources and turning them by processing into a form edible to animals.
    What is wrong in processing and eating blood? I like my steak rare, and use my potatoes to soak it up. I eat bloodsausage if I can get it. And remember – a proper sausage is cased in animal guts.

    The use of diseased animals is afaik not permitted in any western civilized country,. Diseased animals might have slipped through accidentally, but policy is here in Canada and in Germany where I studied agrology to dispose or even incinerate diseased animals.
    At one time yes, in England especially foolishly same species meat was used (in processed form as protein source), likely a cause of spongiform encephalopathy.

    And feeding unhealthy amount of grains? You really have no fucking clue about farming. What do you think unhealthy food leads to? Vet costs that no farmer can afford. Dead animals and waset of expensive food.

    I used to work on farms in Germany and Canada, and even in feedlots grain is balanced with pelleted legume products and hay, because you know what? Any cattle that does not eat a certain percentage of roughage in its food will not process high value foodproducts properly, and will not produce the expected weight gain. You really sound like a city boy that once saw a cow standing in a field and thinks he has a clue.

    A lot of cattle, sheep etc. will be raised on marginally grazing land, that is not usable for grain crop production. Only the finishing in feedlots is done under very well controlled condition for a few months, to produce the proper meat/fat ratio and to get to the weight.
    In many european countries that kind of finishing does not even happen, leading to a lower grade of beef. Compare a North American steak to a steak in Germany – no comparison at all.

    Cattle in its present form is a human “invention” it would not exist where it not for the desire to produce milk, meat and animals for labour. The same goes for any other farm animal.
    No. i do not feel any qualms of killing and eating an animal that I raised or hunted. I like to eat meat and vegetables both.

    I do advocate humane treatment for any animal, which also has economic reasons – badly treated animals are simply less productive, lower in the quality of their products and because of stress do not taste as good as as animals treated well and species appropriate from birth to the slaughterhouse.

  17. 17
    Neopoints

    Thank you for every other excellent article. The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  18. 18
    lostintime

    Ok – what is wrong on feeding processed slaughterhouse waste to animals? What does hair, hooves etc contain? Protein, collagen, keratin just in an inedible form. I can rationally not argue against utilizing those resources and turning them by processing into a form edible to animals. What is wrong in processing and eating blood? I like my steak rare, and use my potatoes to soak it up. I eat bloodsausage if I can get it. And remember – a proper sausage is cased in animal guts.

    I find it worrying that a student of agrology doesn’t understand the dangers inherent in recycling faeces and rendered carcasses into animal feed. To quote Christopher Hitchens in his review of Dominion: “The endless attempt to fatten and pacify [pigs] with hormones, laxatives, antibiotics, and swirls of rendered pigs recycled into their own swill (and then to use other treatments to counterweigh the unintended consequences of the original ones), are far worse than we had suspected.” You might want to read the statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists rather than dismissing it out of hand.

    The use of diseased animals is afaik not permitted in any western civilized country,. Diseased animals might have slipped through accidentally, but policy is here in Canada and in Germany where I studied agrology to dispose or even incinerate diseased animals. At one time yes, in England especially foolishly same species meat was used (in processed form as protein source), likely a cause of spongiform encephalopathy.

    More Denialism, how sad. “Most animals are still allowed to eat meat from their own species. Pig carcasses can be rendered and fed back to pigs, chicken carcasses can be rendered and fed back to chickens, and turkey carcasses can be rendered and fed back to turkeys. Even cattle can still be fed cow blood and some other cow parts. Under current law, pigs, chickens, and turkeys that have been fed rendered cattle can be rendered and fed back to cattle—a loophole that may allow mad cow agents to infect healthy cattle. Animal feed legally can contain rendered road kill, dead horses, and euthanized cats and dogs.”
    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/campaign/food-safety/mad-cow-disease/other-resources/a-consumers-guide-to-mad-cow-disease/history-of-rendering-cattle-cannibalism-in-the-usa/

    And feeding unhealthy amount of grains? You really have no fucking clue about farming. What do you think unhealthy food leads to? Vet costs that no farmer can afford. Dead animals and waset of expensive food.

    “One last surprise. While grain may sound like a healthful food, the excessive quantities fed to some animals are not. This is especially true for cattle, which are natural grass eaters. Their digestive systems are not designed to handle the large amounts of corn they receive at feedlots. As a result of this corn-rich diet, feedlot cattle can suffer significant health problems, including excessively acidic digestive systems and liver abscesses. Grain-induced health problems, in turn, ramp up the need for drugs.”

    A lot of cattle, sheep etc. will be raised on marginally grazing land, that is not usable for grain crop production. Only the finishing in feedlots is done under very well controlled condition for a few months, to produce the proper meat/fat ratio and to get to the weight.

    Ruminants that graze on marginal land often have their diets supplemented with silage and rely on monocultures if they are sent to finishing units, so the environmental benefits on this issue are certainly not straightforward, not least because of GHG emissions. As for the efficiency of feeding ourselves using mixed farming methods, that’s something that can be discussed, but I would posit that the overwhelming emphasis should be on drastically reducing our meat consumption before we start quibbling about the marginal utility of including some large herbivores in our diets.

    Cattle in its present form is a human “invention” it would not exist where it not for the desire to produce milk, meat and animals for labour. The same goes for any other farm animal. No. i do not feel any qualms of killing and eating an animal that I raised or hunted.

    That’s nice. Like modern turkeys that have to be artificially milked and inseminated by farm hands in order to reproduce. Or the billions of broiler chickens that suffer from fractured bones because they can’t support their own weight.

    I like to eat meat and vegetables both. I do advocate humane treatment for any animal, which also has economic reasons – badly treated animals are simply less productive,

    Bullshit…

    lower in the quality of their products and because of stress do not taste as good as as animals treated well and species appropriate from birth to the slaughterhouse.

    You advocate humane treatment because it makes the animals taste better? I guess there’s something positive in that sentence, but your priorities are very confused.

  19. 19
    cz

    Do your research. Which is worse, PETA or “No Kill”? http://devoreshelterfriends.blogspot.com/2013/02/message-from-oregon-stop-dumping-dogs.html

  20. 20
    Lindsay

    Whether or not you support experimenting on animals, the fact remains that the vast majority of animals PETA takes in are the ones “no-kill” shelters turn away: those who are ravaged by disease, crippled, vicious because of a lifetime of abuse, being eaten alive by maggots, and more (http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2009/03/30/Why-We-Euthanize.aspx). Euthanasia is a mercy for these animals, and until the cat and dog overpopulation is brought under control, it will remain the kindest choice for many homeless animals. Turning animals away to die on the streets or hoarding them in cages for the rest of their lives (as many “no-kill” shelters do) aren’t humane or viable options. PETA focuses on stopping the animal homelessness crisis at its source, by spaying and neutering. In the past 10 years alone, they’ve sterilized nearly 88,000 animals at little to no cost to their guardians, preventing countless cats and dogs from being born only to end up homeless. I commend PETA for doing the right thing, even when it’s not “popular.”

  21. 21
    Avicenna

    In those ratios? There are shelters which take in both that seem to maintain much better ratios than PETA Manage. Also?

    One of the joys of starting off your blog career arguing against animal liberation is you get a fair few vets and vet techs reading. Apparently PETA’s “euthanasia” rate is “rather high” for ANY shelter. And many people have mentioned that they gave them “pets” that aren’t in such a bad state.

  22. 22
    dandelionc

    Lindsay,

    Thanks for finding that link. I was going to post it if someone didn’t already.

    Avicenna,

    PETA does a lot of rescues. PETA deals with the sickest, most abused animals. I think unless you’ve been involved with the animal rights activism community before it’s really hard to know what actually goes on out there. I don’t think most people know the extent of the abuses that animal rights advocates are fighting. From what I’ve seen volunteering for both The Humane Society and PETA, and from how hard they work, I’m inclined to believe their euthanasia rate is legitimate. If you want to eat meat, fine, but you do want more humane slaughter, right? If you disagree with the more hardcore activists about medical research, okay. I partially disagree, too. But why accuse people you clearly know little about of hypocrisy and wrongdoing when they’re trying very hard to make the world a better place? I mostly enjoy your writing, but I think you messed up this time. You should look at the link Lindsay posted, apologize for your accusations, and research things a little better in the future like you did with so many of your other posts.

  23. 23
    Avicenna

    Dandelionc –

    I however am involved with the Vets and Vetinary Technicians. Some of my “oldest” fans are vets. Their stances are that this is a rather hefty number and either means that PETA (who I will point out have a reputation for not being very sensible which is often justified… Let’s just say PETA members at high ranks have said some extremely stupid things. It’s very hard to take someone on insulin seriously when they say “I don’t consume anything animal”).

    The vets I have asked work for everything from the Humane Society, to the RSPCA to charities in Europe, Canada and Australia…

    Each and every one has said that there are two ways of having these stats.

    1. Either PETA are solely taking in extremely sick and dying animals which means that they are turning away healthy animals….

    2. Or PETA are not very good.

    This is a well known fact among people in “Animal Welfare” on the more serious and less flag wavy side. PETA seem to kill a lot more animals than they should be even if they were taking only the serious cases.

  24. 24
    dandelionc

    Avicenna,

    They also advocate feeding pet cats special vegetarian food, which is beyond silly for obligate carnivores. (http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animals/meatless-meals-for-dogs-and-cats.aspx) Saying some stupid things and going too far on some issues doesn’t equate with doing exactly what you’re trying to stop, though. If anything, going so far as to sometimes advocate for things that don’t always make sense (to me at least) indicates a passion for the cause.

    The data that site shows is pretty bare bones. I wonder how many of those “owner surrenders” were more like “give us your half dead animals or we’ll call the police.” I know that’s speculation on what the statistics mean, but I don’t think that’s any different than guessing most of those animals were mostly okay and that PETA did something terrible.

    I don’t agree with them on everything. I quit working with more, um… “passionate” animal rights groups because I do wear leather shoes, started to eat some poultry and milk and stuff, and believe there is a place for some animal research. I found those groups wouldn’t see me as “on their side until we fixed the problems we agree about” and that I spent more time defending my choices than advocating for better farm conditions and so on, so I’m back to supporting humane societies and not doing activism. I do, however, believe they are sincere and do try to help animals as much as possible, and I am against all the defamation that happens to them. I think it happens because they are a bit extreme, and so people attack them falsely or twist their actions because they feel threatened by PETA’s beliefs. PETA puts people on the defensive, so a lot of people make tasteless “People Eating Tasty Animals” jokes and stuff. These are usually the same people who tried to find any little possibly hypocritical thing (like taking allergy medication, buying real cat food) I did as proof that I was a terrible person when I was a young and slightly “passionate” activist myself, and the same people who would wave hamburgers inches from my faces saying “Mmmm… Yummy tortured cow corpse” when I was a teenager. I think all those PETA Kills articles are the internet version of this fun to tolerate and mature behavior. (Last sentence lighthearted friendlyish sarcasm)

    Here are some more links I found that show their sincerity:

    http://features.peta.org/petasaves/

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pets/700-cats-seized-at-Fla-sanctuary-featured-on-Colbert-Report.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/06/animal-cruelty-north-carolina-peta_n_891640.html

    http://jonaweinhofen.tumblr.com/post/22583040610/peta-good-or-bad-read-some-facts-make-up-your-own

    Avicenna, I think you may have fallen for the propaganda and made a post based on that and not reality…

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