Posted in personal
April 20, 2010

Why I loathe PETA.

(Warning, this blog post was written in the span of 45 minutes. I probably could have spent hours and hours, and the span of a month writing it, with full links and whatnot- but I wanted to get this out there.)

Today, PETA announced that Kate Winslet narrated a video detailing the horrors of foie gras production. Which makes yet another celebrity who’s been misled by PETA.

Please, make no mistake- I fully support a celebrity’s right to champion a cause that they believe in. Especially if it’s to help animals. However, PETA is not in the business of helping animals.

PETA fully supports vegan lifestyles, as well as the belief that animals would have been much better off if we’d never domesticated them for companions. They’re against responsible breeders, support legislature that punishes the responsible breeder and only allows breeding by commercial breeders (many of which are puppy mills)… and frankly, would like to see nothing more than the pet eradicated from this earth.

Think I’m kidding? They want all pets to be spayed or neutered, all breeders stopped… which would essentially leave us with one generation of animals to rescue. In their perfect world, there would be no more pets after 20 years.

But they were against Michael Vick, that should count for something, right? WRONG. PETA receives animals each year, just like many animal organizations. However, unlike most that adopt out and create no-kill shelters, in 2009 PETA adopted out a total of 8 animals and euthanized 2,301 animals. They actually killed 97% of the animals they brought in. They aren’t for the ‘ethical treatment of animals.’ If they were, they would be spending the donations they receive on educational programs, shelters and care. Instead, their money goes to advertising dollars and lobbying. They spend MILLIONS each year on billboards, magazine ads, television ads. As well as sending individuals to lobby at the local and state level for those pesky spay/neuter bills that sound like a great idea but wind up costing taxpayers tons of money- while not solving the actual problem.

I apologize, I wanted to put this out there, so I haven’t given you links for everything. But all you have to do is start googling these items before you decide to support PETA or HSUS (the national level Humane Society – I fully endorse supporting your local Humane Society. The national level, however, is mostly focused on lobbying- and based entirely on the beliefs of the man running it. Most local chapters will say that he does not speak for their beliefs). It’s out there, and pretty well documented.

Here’s my quick stance on some important animal related issues:

The meat industry. It exists. There are plenty of individuals who eat meat, and would rather not be vegetarians. There are plenty of problems with the industry in that they cage animals, pump them full of antibiotics and feed them garbage. However, there are also plenty of farmers who raise their livestock free range: let them roam so that they don’t have to worry about giving their livestock antibiotics to keep them alive, who give them feed that wasn’t genetically engineered or isn’t meat byproduct. You can eat meat ethically and responsibly.

Fishing. There is a substantial movement towards sustainable fishing, which seeks to ensure that we don’t deplete species of fish or buy from areas that farm fish in a manner that harms the environment. All you have to do is visit the Seafood Watch program and make informed purchases when buying fish at the supermarket, and dine at restaurants that support the sustainable fishing movement. Simple simple simple.

Foie gras. Yes, foie gras is made by fattening up ducks and geese so that their livers become fat and succulent. There are plants where ducks and geese are fed via tube. They’ll tell you it’s inhumane and they eat so much some die. However, these are ducks and geese. Have you ever fed ducks and geese? They’re stupid and will keep eating so long as you give them food. (You can also buy foie gras that comes from ducks and geese that were fed free-range)

Commercial Breeders and Puppy Mills. I am all about supporting small, responsible breeders. Large commercial breeders aren’t interested in anything beyond the quantity of animals that can be produced. They ship animals cross country to fill orders in stores, and often puppies have diseases because of how they’re shipped and raised. While there are a small number of commercial breeders that do it responsibly and with care- the fact of the matter is that most are puppy mills. They care about nothing other than their profits. Responsible breeders focus on one, maybe two breeds. They research their animals’ lines and are interested in breeding out the bad traits that appeared for inbreeding lines. PETA may liken this to the KKK and Nazis all they like, but all responsible breeders are trying to do is make sure that their breeds are healthier. And most responsible breeders don’t make much of a profit. They do it because they love it.

Spay/Neuter bills. I’m fine with pets needed to be spayed and neutered, so long as those who are involved in responsible pet breeding/ shows/specialty dog training are given exceptions. Most of the spay/neuter legislation that is going around says that all pets (except for those in the breeding/show/specialty categories) should be spayed by 6 months. Unfortunately, you won’t know anything about a pet’s temperament by that age. At the age of 6 months, those who train cadaver dogs, assistance dogs, rescue dogs… they won’t yet know which dogs excel at those tasks- which are the only dogs they’d want to breed, in the hopes that those good genes would be passed on. For most breeders, 6 months isn’t enough time to see if certain breed specific problems will pop up. It’d be like looking at a 6 year old child and trying to determine what career they’re going to have. They’re just too young for you to know.

Aside from that, the jury is out on when is too early to spay/neuter your pet. There have been studies that show that altering an animal too early could lead them to health problems. There are veterinarians groups that have come out against spay/neuter bills and that’s why.

On one more note, most spay/neuter bills rely on neighbors reporting, and instituting lots of fines. Most city/county animal controls are overtaxed already. While the fines would generate some income, for them to be able to carry out the inspections that would be required, it would require them to try to double the number of animal control officers… likely without increasing funding. Which isn’t fair to the animal control officers, nor to the animals in their shelters. What it will result in is more euthanizing, or shipping off animals to other shelters in an attempt to keep costs down. It will not help these animals in city/county shelters be better cared for.

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