Sunday, January 27, 2008

Consumer Group Asks Virginia Government to Reclassify PETA as a Slaughterhouse

WASHINGTON, DC- Yesterday the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom formally petitioned Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), requesting that the government agency officially reclassify People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as a slaughterhouse.

An official report filed by PETA itself shows that the animal rights group put to death nearly every dog, cat, and other pet it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 animals. Not counting pets brought to PETA for spaying or neutering, the organization killed 2,981 of the 3,061 “companion animals” it took in. According to VDACS, the average euthanasia rate for humane societies in Virginia was 34.7 percent in 2006. PETA's "kill rate" was 97.4 percent.

“It is absurd to classify PETA as a ‘humane society’ when its employees are slaughtering nearly every companion animal they bring in,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “PETA has killed over 17,000 pets since 1998. Given the group's astonishing habit of killing adoptable dogs and cats with such ruthless efficiency, it's only fair that the state of Virginia refer to PETA as a slaughterhouse.”

CCF’s letter to VDACS Commissioner Todd Haymore reads as follows:

Dear Commissioner Haymore,

The Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) enjoys nonprofit status as a “humane society” and “releasing agency” as defined in Virginia Code § 3.1-796.66. But when PETA filed its required online “Animal Record” report for the year 2006, it reported something startling.

Setting aside the dogs and cats the group sterilized that year, PETA euthanized (killed) 97.4 percent of all the domestic animals it took in.[1] This percentage has been steadily increasing each year since 2001, when PETA’s “kill rate” was 72.4 percent. In 2006, the state average for “humane societies” was less than 35 percent.

In 2006, PETA employees killed 2,980 dogs, cats, and other pets; they transferred 46 to other Virginia releasing agencies; they adopted out only 12.

During a 2007 criminal trial in North Carolina, a PETA manager testified that her organization maintains a large walk-in freezer for the storage of animal carcasses. She testified that PETA employs a crematory service to periodically dispose of the bodies. And she also affirmed that (despite its $32 million budget), PETA does not operate a public “shelter” where members of the public may select dogs or cats and adopt them into their homes.

Given PETA’s apparent practice of killing animals shortly after they come in the door (or, in the North Carolina case, inside a cargo van), without making a good-faith effort to find them adoptive homes or provide necessary long-term veterinary care, its classification as a “humane society” and “releasing agency” seems inappropriate.

Accordingly, I am requesting as a resident of Virginia that your office strip PETA of these designations, and regulate it instead in the future as a “slaughterhouse.”

I recognize that Virginia law presently provides only for the regulation of slaughterhouses, packing facilities, and stockyards which handle animals defined as “livestock.” I respectfully suggest that you should also amend your regulations to account for the fact that at least one Virginia institution (PETA) already operates a slaughterhouse for dogs and cats.


David Martosko

Director of Research

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

For media comment, contact our media department at 202-463-7112 ext 115


Tracy said...

Information about the Center for Consumer Freedom:

Guest Choice Network, the predecessor organization to CCF, was formed in such a way so as not to appear "owned" by Philip Morris, to address the lack of interest restaurant owners had in Philip Morris's "Accommodation Program," and to have a broader appeal to industry than just tobacco. GCN was designed to "create an aggressive mentality by [restaurant] operators [to oppose} government smoking bans," according to a letter by Rick Berman to Philip Morris [2073148834]

In a 1995 letter to Philip Morris (PM), Rick Berman (of the public affairs company Berman & Company) proposed that PM form an aggressive front group called the "Guest Choice" network to motivate restaurant owners to aggressively fight smoking restrictions while appearing to be acting on their own. Berman said to PM, "...if you want to gain more ground quickly for the smokers' rights issue, the [Guest Choice] program must create a proactive, aggressive mentality by [restaurant] operators regarding government smoking bans..." Berman described how hiding Philip Morris' involvement would allow the group take more aggressive action:

"Additional benefit -- if externally perceived as driven by restaurant interests, there will be more flexibility and creativity allowed than if it is 'owned' by Philip Morris. The American Beverage Institute, which opposes overly aggressive DWI laws, enjoys this profile."[1]

PM took Mr. Berman's suggestion and formed the "Guest Choice Network," changing its name in recent years to the "Center for Consumer Freedom," which in addition to fighting smoking bans also fights the organic food movement and lobbies against lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drunk driving.

For more information:

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Andrew said...

Thank you, Tracy, for educating us. It's always good to know who is who. Clearly, CCF is substantially biased and I will think twice before I ever quote them as a source. However, I have seen the documents in the possession of Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that reveal a 97% kill-rate of all pets handed over to PETA, while the the euthanasia rate for humane societies in the state was just 34.7 percent (in 2006).