Performative PETA: A Step Back for Animal Rights

Sahana Chandran, Contributor

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an animal-rights group known for their radical opinions and means of preventing animal cruelty. Some of their most notable campaigns include comparing a dislike of Jeffery Dahmer, a serial killer, to chickens being killed for their meat, dumping manure on Gordon Ramsey’s doorstep, or parading naked pregnant women in the streets of London to “advocate” for sows and their gestation crate conditions.

However, these sad excuses for activism are just a facade for the hypocrisy of this organization.Their euthanasia principles and guidelines are less than humane. The organization has abused and even murdered the animals it advocates for. Not to mention, the direct funding of arson and domestic terrorism is concerning at the least.

PETA is known for its extreme policies on euthanasia. According to the organization Why PETA Kills

the president of PETA Ingrid Newkirk’s words align with the abhorrent euthaniasia policies enacted by the organization, which are covered by a mask of supposed animal activism. When asked about the thousands of animals euthanized Newkirk writes, “We do not advocate right to life for animals.” as well as stating “The animals… got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had.”

To this organization it’s completely irrelevant that these animals could have had an opportunity at living, as the shelters run by PETA are called a “shelter of last resort” or an “open admission shelter.” These people take advantage of low-income pet owners and their inability to pay for a pet’s disease treatment as a means for euthanasia.

 Some cases of euthanasia include terminal illness, which is a fair means to euthanize, but many animals that come into their care (or lack thereof) are just underweight and show signs of neglect, which can be countered by the right amount of care, leaving the animal in much better shape. Sure it may be more expensive, but isn’t PETA all about promoting animal rights?

Eighty three percent of animals that have entered PETA’s shelters since 1998 have been euthanized, a number far too high for an animal rights organization. Dr. Daniel Kovich, a state official with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, inspected PETA’s shelter in Virginia, and found that 245 of the 290 animals taken in over two months were killed within 24 hours of arrival.

The organization is also known for a lack of compassion for people and even other animals. In recent years, PETA officials have been going on rampages across America, kidnapping pets for the argument that owning a pet is unethical.

 “This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior,”  which was taken directly from their website, summates their stance.  However, according to an article written by the  Guardian and the Huffington Post, they have been taking animals from their home and yards and putting them down.

 An infamous case is the kidnapping of Maya, a chihuahua from the Zarate family in Virginia. It’s said that over the course of multiple weeks, PETA officials had been visiting the area where the family lived, talking about spaying/neutering animals. Soon they attempted to lure Maya out, but when that failed, they just stole her and euthanized her within a couple of hours. Not only is this ethically wrong, but according to state law, when an animal is found, municipal animal control must be contacted and the animal must be kept safe for at least 5 days, which was not the case.

Finally, PETA has also been accused of promoting domestic terrorism and arson. I always thought that they couldn’t get any worse, but here we are. Through its history, the organization has offered large sums of money to organizations and individuals that perform violent crimes, according to a website called PETA Kills Animals, and another called Activist Facts which both detail some of the horrid organizations PETA has verbally and financially supported.

For example, according to the NY Post PETA donated $1,500 to ELF (Earth Liberation Front) on April 20, 2001, an organization classified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be a domestic terrorism group. Not only that, according to the organization Influence Watch they also paid $70,200 for the defense of Rod Coronado, a serial arsonist who was convicted of burning a Michigan State University research laboratory in 1994. Alongside financial support, coordinator of PETA’s vegetarianism campaign, Bruce Frederich, said that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation,” adding  “Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.” according to an article written by The Oklahoman.

PETA has always been the poster child for animal rights movements, whether that be good or bad. However, this narrative needs to end, with this organization doing more harm than good. All of its values are implemented in sadistic, unethical ways for the sake of convenience and personal gain. Their core values are merely performative, and aren’t at the interest of those whom they claim to protect.

 Euthanasia is rampant in PETA’s shelters, much more than other shelters, and they kidnap and murder other pets as well. They fund and promote illegal organizations all for the sake of radicalism. Organizations like PETA are the reason that animal rights aren’t truly being noticed, and this organization needs to be abolished for this movement to truly thrive and benefit everybody and every animal.