The Butcher of Norfolk

The Butcher of Norfolk

The blog I write is about reforming animal sheltering in the United States. It is about ending the systematic killing of animals in these pounds. But this particular blog isn’t about sheltering. This isn’t about the battle between the No Kill philosophy and its eventual conquest over regressive, kill-oriented approaches. This isn’t about a lazy, inept, or uncaring shelter director who fails to hold his or her staff accountable. It isn’t about shelters that kill animals because doing so is easier than putting in place the programs and services to stop it.

This is about something more nefarious. This is about something truly insidious. This is about a bully who seeks out animals to kill. This is about the creation of death squads that actively go into communities with the specific purpose of finding dogs and cats to kill. And this is about a movement that has utterly failed to defend the innocent animals being slaughtered. This blog is about Ingrid Newkirk, the President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This is about an animal killing, arrogant, disturbed person. And enough is enough.

Since 1998, PETA has killed over 20,000 animals. Over one year ago, I wrote a blog opining that the reason PETA slaughters virtually every animal it seeks out and “impounds” has more to do with Ingrid Newkirk’s dark impulses than with any ideology, philosophy, or belief in overpopulation. This followed a staggering 97% kill rate for animals in 2006, despite millions of animal loving members, a world-wide reach, and a budget of tens of millions of dollars. It followed the killing of 1,942 out of 1,960 cats they impounded. It followed the deaths of 988 out of the 1,030 dogs they impounded. It followed the killing of 50 of the 52 rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals they took in. It followed the killing of the one and only chicken they impounded. That blog earned me a letter from PETA’s attorney threatening litigation for defamation.

Then came the 2007 numbers showing a 91% rate of killing—the killing of 1,815 of the 1,997 animals they impounded. And so I reran the blog. And now we have the 2008 figures and the slaughter—the needless, senseless, evil slaughter—continues with an equally staggering 96% kill rate. A paltry seven dogs and cats were adopted. A paltry 34 were transferred to an SPCA whose fates are not known. And out of 2,216 dogs and cats impounded, the rest were systematically put to death by PETA.

Killed: 555 of the 584 dogs.

Killed: 1,569 of the 1,589 cats.

PETA has argued that all of the animals it kills are “unadoptable.” In fact, PETA’s attorney stated that in his letter threatening a defamation lawsuit if I did not back down. But this claim is a lie. It is a lie because the numbers historically come from the State of Virginia’s reporting form which only asks for data for animals taken into custody “for the purpose of adoption.” It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making that determination. It is a lie because rescue groups and individuals have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable. It is a lie because testimony under oath in court from a veterinarian showed that PETA was given healthy and adoptable animals who were later found dead by PETA’s hands, their bodies unceremoniously thrown away in a supermarket dumpster. And it is a lie because Newkirk herself admitted as much.

In a December 2, 2008 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Stroumboulopoulos asks Newkirk: “Do you euthanize those pets, the adoptable ones, if you get them?” To which Newkirk responds: “If we get them, if we cannot find a home, absolutely.” In short, Newkirk admits that PETA “absolutely” kills savable animals. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.

Why does the animal protection movement tolerate this woman?

No other movement would allow someone to remain in her position without a massive outcry and public condemnation when their actions are so counter, so anathema to their movement’s foremost principles. The child protection movement would not allow someone who kills children to run an organization dedicated to children’s rights. The human rights movement would not allow some who kills people to run any of their organizations. But the animal rights movement—a movement founded on the principle that animals have a right to life—allows a very public, avowed, shameless animal killer to run an animal rights organization. And with the exception of Friends of Animals, the rest of the nation’s animal rights groups remain deafeningly silent about it.

As if that was not shameful enough, others go further and actually embrace her. The groups which organize the Animal Rights Conference inducted her into their Animal Rights Hall of Fame. Wayne Pacelle and HSUS have allowed her and her pro-killing apologists to give workshops at their national conference, HSUS Expo, to promote PETA’s ghastly vision of killing.

So a notice to all would be animal killers out there. One way to avoid the condemnation by the animal rights/welfare community for your vile actions is to start an animal rights group yourself and use that group as your cover for killing. Because they won’t stand up to you. There will be no campaign to bring you down. They will kowtow to your power and your position. You will become their colleague. Some will look the other way. But others will induct you into their hall of fame. Still others will ask you to present workshops at their national conference.

If history teaches us anything, however, it is that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to one. The only thing that will stop Newkirk is challenging Newkirk and calling her killing for what it is: the nefarious acts of a disturbed person. Because that’s how history will remember and condemn her, despite the aura of legitimacy her untoward actions now receive from her Board of Directors, the Humane Society of the United States, the groups who promote the Animal Rights Conference, and the other groups which tolerate her leadership position through their silence.

While those who now dare to call Newkirk’s slaughter for what it is may be threatened with litigation, or be attacked in other ways, history will vindicate them, as it always does for those who—despite the personal costs—defend what is right by challenging tyrants. While those who remained silent in the face of these atrocities—the hypocritical leaders of other organizations who take her telephone calls, shake her hand, stand side-by-side with her, and take personal pride in their association with her—will someday have to answer for this complicity, and will face the shame that comes with answering “nothing” when asked what they did to stop Newkirk’s bloody reign at PETA.

Because engrave this in stone: As soon as Newkirk and her pro-killing cultish devotees are gone, PETA will immediately, completely, and without reservation embrace the No Kill philosophy and become one of its leading champions. When that happens; when her actions are thoroughly and completely seen by everyone for what they truly are; when she is condemned and finally, finally, thankfully, finally, we don’t have to hold our breath, clench our teeth, shake with rage, or cry at the thought of what PETA did to those poor animals, we will all be left wondering just what took us so damned long to rise up and stop this villain in our midst.

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31 Responses to “The Butcher of Norfolk”

  1. Lynn Orbison says:

    OH MY! I’m so glad you are a lawyer.

    My husband bought a shirt from the Alaska Trappers Association (ATA) that says:

    People for the Eating of Tasty Animals

    He wears it proudly, but the ATA was slammed by the national organization with the same anacronym. They are big and mean and ugly. But they couldn’t really hurt ATA legally, so I guess you’ll be okay too.

    Thanks for speaking the truth. Thanks for giving the numbers. Can we all do a better job of sharing this truth with those who still stand behind many of PETA’s other programs?

  2. Alex says:

    Lynn Orbison,

    As I read the post, there seems to be a strongly implied assumption: that ALL animals, human or otherwise, have a “right to life.” It would be inconsistent indeed if Mr. Winograd were to argue so passionately in support of our companion animals, while illogically refusing to extend similar protection to every other animal we exploit. There isn’t a moral or empirical difference between the companion animals we love and the turkey’s we kill for Thanksgiving.

    Therefore, it necessarily follows that your husband’s “funny” shirt, which seemingly finds the unnecessary suffering and death of billions of animals humorous, is in direct contradiction with your “righteous” outrage over PETA’s actions.

    It follows further, therefore, that your input into this conversation doesn’t so much as provide a valid rebuke of PETA’s “euthanasia” record, as much as simply a jump upon the band wagon in an attempt to criticize PETA on this front because you lack sufficient grounds to counter their foundational premise: We don’t have any good moral reasons to continue to kill nonhuman animals for food, convenience, entertainment, or tradition.

    • admin says:

      I’m not sure where you see that Nathan is refusing to extend “similar protection” to all life. I don’t think you can judge his point of view based on the response of a reader/commenter. Unless you were referring to Lynn.

  3. ARPhilo says:

    I say this as a person who loved “Redemption”, a person that rarely supports PETA, a strong supporter of the No Kill Movement, and a rabid animal rights activist.

    I agree with you that PETA’s killing of animals is despicable. I agree that there is no excuse for it. But, I disagree that you must result to massive personal insults to make this point. It weakens your argument and makes you look like a bully while you are accusing someone else of being one.

    You’ve already got a pro-trapper shouting “People Eating Tasty Animals” on your blog.

    Here is PETA’s response to all of this, by the way.

    Can you not simply present the facts without making personal attacks on this woman? PETA’s a pretty big organization. I am sure there are plenty of people making the decisions. I am sure that you understand how irrational it is to speak so badly about someone’s character as if she controls the world. And again, I don’t even really like PETA except for a lot of their undercover work.

    In presenting this case as you have, you are sounding like the Center for Consumer Freedom. You don’t want to sound like that.

    Please, you have such wonderful insights and information. Let’s keep it civil. Otherwise, there isn’t much we can work with amongst ourselves.

    • admin says:

      Lynn has been a long time reader and this is not Nathan’s blog so if you are talking directly to Nathan he won’t see it. If you’re talking to me - I like Lynn. I despise trapping and believe strongly that it should be outlawed but I have appreciated Lynn’s ability to examine her own thinking on issues.

      Where she lives, trapping and hunting are darn close to mainstream. That doesn’t excuse it or make it right but it puts her views into context. That’s something you would not know unless you were a regular reader I suppose. Sadly most AR folks that I know are not supportive of No Kill and probably not regular readers.

  4. Ari Nessel says:

    I am so grateful for the intentions of the no-kill movement, to make sure each companion animal finds a home to enjoy the rest of their lives. However, this blog comes from a place not at all from a compassionate heart, or at an attempt from seeing another valid point of view from a person also clearly committed to helping animals, but from a place of pride, anger and judgement. Here is a link to what Ms. Newkirk says about why PETA euthenizes animals:

    I think anyone in the no-kill movement would be better off for considering this perspective and some of the difficult realities dgos/cats face in a society that does not respect the lives of non-human animals.

    It is fair for an animal advocate to disagree with the means PETA uses to reduce suffering for animals. However, it is, in my opinion, reckless to say that anyone group’s intentions are more pure in achieving this goal then is PETA’s. I, myself, prefer that the limited capital donated toward improving the lives of companion animals is spent as efficiently as possible, which I feel is adopting out those that are easily adoptable, free neutering/spaying, and new laws which require neutering/spaying. The no-kill solution does no service to those companion animals which suffer from previous physcial and emotional trauma and would most likely spend the rest of their lives in a cage if not let out of their misery. Death is ineveitable for all, suffering we can control. I think that is Ms. Newkirk’s point. Reduce the most suffering with this movement’s limited resources.

    “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.” –St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

    “A holy man gave two of his students each a chicken and said, “Go kill them where no one can see.” One student quickly went behind the fence and slaughtered the chicken. A few days latter, the other student finally returned, with the chicken still in hand and as alive as when he left. The holy man asked the student, “Why didn’t you kill the chicken?” The student replied, “Everywhere I go, the chicken sees.”

    “Although other animals cannot reason or speak the way humans do, this does not give us the right to do with them as we like. Even though our supposed possession of a soul and superior intelligence are used to create an arbitrary dividing line over rights, the fact remains that all animals have the capacity to experience pain and suffering, and in suffering they are our equals.” –Nathaniel Altman (1948- )

    “Finally out of reach– No bondage, no dependency. How calm the ocean, towering the void.” –Tessho

    • sue_cosby says:

      Methinks you know little of No Kill as you have used the word “adoptable” to classify animals who are allowed to live.

      If you take the time to learn from sources other than anti No Kill organizations like PeTA you will find that not only does No Kill allow for EUTHANASIA as any reasonable person would kindly provide. But No Kill also refuses to write off a segment of animals as not “easily adoptable”. That is simply an excuse for killing.

      Funny… that is a little bit like what PeTA desires in the emphasis on equality of species…

      Hope you stick around and learn more. Thanks for showing up.

  5. Jen says:

    @Lynn, it’s ironic that you seem to have taken a position in opposition to PETA vis a vis this issue, at least, and yet your husband purchased a shirt from a group that promotes the trapping and painful killing of animals not qualitatively different from the animal PETA kills. It’s not okay for PETA to “euthanize” but it is okay to support trapping?

    No kill should absolutely be a baseline for any program that supports animal rights, or even welfarism. While I appreciate what the no-kill revolution is doing, I think ad hominem attacks are ridiculous. Likewise, while I appreciate what PETA is trying to do, I think their position on this is dubious in nature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their message is the wrong one - just that they don’t seem to be living up to their own expectations.

    • Lynn Orbison says:

      My Life of Irony…

      Hello Jen, and all you other posters (and readers) out there!

      #1 My apologies to those I offended. That was not my intention. (Although I’m secretly glad to see such activity…wow, we might make the “most comments list!?!”)

      #2 I’m really glad Nathan Winograd is an ethical vegan. Not only does he walk his talk, but he eats it too! The strength of these responses is perhaps part of the reason that the Nathan Winograd blog does not allow comments. What a shame that we can’t all play well together.

      #3 I ain’t perfect. And the guy I married isn’t either. But we like each other and support each other and so far it’s working for us.

      I have HUGE issues with trapping. I don’t do it. But I wear fur because it really helps keep me warm at 40 below. I don’t hunt either. But I have a steer out in the back yard that is bound for our freezer eventually. I treat my cows with the same respect I treat my dogs.

      I was mildly offended when I saw a snippet of the nightline video clip about the PA puppy mills. The guy was most disgusted when he said: “They treat their dogs like livestock…”

      Um. S’cuse me, but can somebody explain to me how/why I shouldn’t treat my dogs (cats, birds, fish) like livestock? Could we instead perhaps convince a few more livestock owners to treat their cows like pets? Ah, but that gets dangerous and messy and expensive!

      My husband was the one that finally cleaned the fish tank…he had more respect for their life and comfort than me!

      My husband bought the shirt not so much to support the Alaska Trappers Association, as to thumb his nose at a certain other organization that he considers to be anything BUT ethical.

      My husband is not a trapper either. The last time we butchered one of our steers it didn’t go so well and he’s not looking forward to trying again. (Young Webb is coming up on three years old this summer, it’s easier to feed him than to gird our loins to kill him.) My husband is not a hunter. He does like to fish and he does drink beer. (I don’t do either of those things myself.)

      Are we all so self-righteous and perfect that each and every one of you folks posting (and poking fingers and venting anger) don’t have leather shoes, or don’t wear eye-make-up tested on rats, or bought your dog for $1500 from an interrnet ad, or stopped off at McDonalds for a quick bite on the way home because you were running late? Yeah. Okay, you got the garden salad and a glass of water. Well, SOMEBODY is keeping all these corporations in business.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right any more than two rights make a wrong. People, there is a LOT of gray in this world!!!

      Is it kinder to the lab animals to sneak in and turn them all loose? Is it better that they get run over in traffic or eaten by a barn owl? (Well, okay, maybe, because the ravens will benefit from the road kill and barn owls need to eat too.) But what if they were testing nuclear waste or something?!?

      Our world is not perfect. I appreciate the ability and the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I also thought the original post was WAY off for Nathan’s normal style. But I also can maybe empathize when I see the flack it generated here on a place that is supposed to care so very much.

      Talking is better than killing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. As a minor point, Nathan Winograd is an ethical vegan.

  7. sue_cosby says:

    For those of you who believe PeTA’s weak and lame defense that they only euthanized animals who truly needed it I’ve got one thing to say: bullsh*t.

    Read the court transcripts. Look at the photos. These weren’t animals suffering and about to die - these were healthy, happy animals including the ones that had been in foster care with a vet and his wife. He was led to believe that PeTA would be placing them up for adoption!

    This is the same excuse that poor shelter administrators use to brush killing under the rug - these animals were too far gone, unable to be rehabilitated. While certainly some are, to use this claim to defend PeTA’s actions is blatantly false.

    Additionally, although Nathan Winograd has a personal crusade to save shelter animals he is not “in bed” with CCF. They aren’t “pals”. He ain’t “paid”. He doesn’t control them and they surely aren’t a fan of his being a vegan and ethically opposed to the killing and consumption of animals.

    For those of you No Kill haters who have decided to show up because your PeTA friends are feeling bad - take it somewhere else (those comments were deleted without remorse). This is a site about saving sheltered animals and PeTA is only mentioned because they happen to be slaughtering them. When they are part of the solution feel free to come back and chat (spaying and neutering a few thousand ain’t cutting it but we appreciate the sentiment). There’s plenty of other websites for you to write your comments. As we state clearly in our “About” page:

    “Although comments are allowed on this site, all comments are monitored. The site administrators will not approve and/or will swiftly delete comments that are antagonistic to the writer or to the No Kill movement with no remorse. If you feel like speaking out against No Kill, you are free to do so elsewhere. If you want to create your own blogging website, it’s easy. Here’s how:”

  8. Julie says:

    Thank you for that post Sue. And for the clarifications. It continues to astound me the people who are against NOT killing animals and will defend organizations like PETA who seem intent on killing the majority instead of finding ways to save them and get them adopted into loving homes.

  9. [...] Winograd, author of Redemption, posted a scathing article about Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA: “This isn’t about the battle between the No Kill [...]

  10. Pommawolf says:

    Throughout the years I have had several animal companions, and almost all with the exception of two of them were rescues. I have witnessed someterrible abuse cases over the years, and those of outright deliberate neglect.
    Nine years ago a close friend rescued female felin and her 4 kittens that were abandoned on her property during the summer months. The mother gave birth tot he 4 wee ones, and they swiftly became very feral. Although it was difficult, my friend rescued them and welcomed them into her home. Within days I adpoted the runt of the litter, a small white, Siamese mix female. She was 100% feral, but with weeks she began to trust our daughter and they became close and inseparatable. This little female feline would be dead right now along with her siblings if the myth of feral cats was allowed to follow the path to any shelter.
    I will say this to anyone and I know that it is a true fact. Any animal can be made adoptable if only humans could stop being impatient and ready to put them down because they believe it takaes too much time. That is a bunch of bullpucky. Anyone claiming to love animals, yet quickly decide “EUTHANASIA” definitely has a personal agenda. Since when is ther a time limit to gaining trust and affection? If that were the case 3/4 of the human population would be “EUTHANASIZED”.
    When the world stops to think with their compassionate heart instead of a quick fix to overpopulation animals will get a fair shake in this world. This a sad reflection of the human animal when they make the fatal choice to put an animal down rather than to spend time, effort and money on a innocent animal.
    It is human behavior that allows the abuse and neglect to continue, and not the innocent animal without a voice. This is a human driven world…for it is surely not a humane one that actually fights the true fight for the right to live without being murdered for just being alive and not a human animal.

  11. Alex says:

    I never assumed that Mr. Winograd wasn’t vegan. I made the simple observation that while Lynn seemingly endorsed this scathing attack on PETA, she isn’t cognizant — or purposefully ignorant — of the extension of this line of reasoning: We should be vegan.

    I went further and argued, therefore, that Lynn wasn’t contributing substantive information to the discourse, because she wasn’t following the reasoning to its logical conclusions. I concluded then that she simply saw an opportunity to cherry-pick “reasons” to criticize PETA and conclude her own reasoning short of rationality.

    Lynn, a significant portion of your comment is rather juvenile. You assume that we endorse ALF, and breaking into labs and letting the animals go. Not only is that not what happens in the majority of cases, but if it did, these animals were literally bred to die. Therefore, your righteous challenge to those who would release them, resulting in their death on the road, is absurd — they had a chance at life.

    If I were in their position, frankly, I would hope for the same. I think most others would as well.

    We don’t simply eat salad and drink water. That’s childish. We never assumed that we were “perfect,” simply ethically consistent. If Mr. Winograd is correct and these animals deserve the right to live, then it necessarily follows that others, the cow you are going to kill to eat, does as well. Therefore, we try to avoid this kind of unnecessary death. It is on this argument that we would conclude Lynn that you shouldn’t treat your animals like property. They should be truly respected and allowed to live their lives.

    If they are domesticated, the relationship of parent-child seems reasonable.

    That’s not “self righteous” anymore than someone who opposes rape and doesn’t rape, and then tells other people not to rape is “self righteous.”

    We never asked for your perfection Lynn. That’s a straw man argument. Just be consistent: Challenge PETA on the grounds that Mr. Winograd did and take it to its logical conclusion, or don’t and leave yourself open to the aforementioned challenges.

    Sue_Cosby, we are not “No Kill” haters. I would assume that most endorse the position, but we challenge the childish tirade and assumptions about Ms. Newkirk’s “dark motives.”

    If we can’t speak openly about where PETA’s consequential reasoning has failed them without resorting to these petty attacks, then aren’t we all violating the comment policy?

    • sue_cosby says:

      The comments that were deleted were specifically anti no kill. Your comment was allowed through because it was not a problem.

      PeTA pays lord knows how much to run ads on Google that say something to the effect of “learn the truth about no kill shelters”. They used graphics of horrific hoarders who have self labeled themselves as “no kill” to white wash all shelters.

      Yes, I’ve sat through the presentation by PeTA spokesperson Daphna, I was present for Ms. Newkirk’s call for the extermination of all pit bulls … I heard it with my own ears right from their mouths. It’s not exageration or hyperbole. It’s not some internet story. It’s what I have heard and experienced and it infuriates me. So if you truly believe that PeTA supports the work of No Kill and ending the killing of savable animals in shelters I’m sorry but you are truly wrong.

      We’re not here to debate whether PeTA is right or wrong about any of their actions except for those in relation to sheltered animals. And if this conversation continues to deviate away from No Kill and sheltering I’ll close the comments. Anyone wishing to continue the conversation about PeTA in regards to lab animals, etc. can head to one of the many other blogs that are out there having the same discussion.

      Lynn - you’ve been here for so long (thank you!), your comments aren’t moderated but let’s bring it back to sheltering. Although, you’re right I think it’s made it into the “most commented” and will probably be there for a while!

  12. Laurie says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you sue_cosby,did anyone bother to read that article that was posted about peta’s reply to all of this. Please give me a break with all those pictures that were posted. Of course those animals need to be put out of their misery, no one is debating that, peta isn’t the only place that will humanely euthanize an injured animal, any shleter would do that,but thats NOT the only types of animals peta takes in, they take in healthy ones and destroy them. Check out just the first page of this website and it will tell you all about the killing of healthy animals. Has everyone forgotten this headline “As a jury is selected for the felony Animal Cruelty trial of two PETA employees, a North Carolina District Attorney hints at evidence that their alleged June 2005 killing (and red-handed dumping) of 31 pets was not an isolated incident.” Come on people wake up, yes peta does do some good as far as farm animals and the fur busniess goes ,but as far as companion animals go they should get out of that business and leave it to the professionals like Nathan Winograd.

  13. sue_cosby says:

    Just as a follow up for those who have never seen the anti-no-kill ads by peta: here is a screenshot of one of them. That’s donations hard at work!

  14. Bringing the conversation back to No Kill/companion animals and how PETA’s work in this area hurts this noble cause, read any of PETA’s literature and views about companion animals, and you can read between the lines and see the way they skew the big picture. What is at the heart of this is PETA is just as guilty as regressive shelters and animal control agencies of focussing on those people that are horrible to cats and dogs and extrapolating that to the general public. They use these images of horror to say that “humane euthanasia” is often the best course of action (see Ingrid Newkirk’s recent blog at and the pictures she has up o her explanation of “Why We Euthanize”; the pictures look bogus and are over-the-top, as all their work is). Never doubt their calculated motives and that more is underlying this picture. Yes, they do spend some of their millions on spay/neuter efforts, but this is because at the heart of their philosophy is that companion animals are also exploited and used by people. If it was up to PETA, none of us would have domestic animals we share our lives with.
    Over the years, Newkirk has changed her words and is careful about her quotes concerning cats and dogs and is careful not to anger pet guardians. However, look at this 1989 quote for her true beliefs regarding companion animals:
    “I don’t use the word ‘pet.’ I think it’s speciesist language. I prefer ‘companion animal.’ For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. There would be no pet shops. If people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets. You would have a protective relationship with them just as you would with an orphaned child. But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially engineered by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship — enjoyment at a distance.”
    Now, she is careful not to say these things out loud, but this sentiment and belief system is definitely what underlies all of PETA’s work in the companion-animal arena. They also offer the same political cover for animal shelters, calling them all “angels” that deal with the awful public who create overpopulation and cruelty. PETA never turns their critical eye on shelters.
    The bottom line is that PETA is definitely not good at seeing any gray areas, and anyone who loves and has a bond with their companion animals should be careful about what you are supporting. You are supporting a group that, if they are successful in this area of their work, will bring about a time that domestic animals and our bond with them is completely severed.

  15. Back to No Kill sheltering and where PETA fits in, my understanding: My sense of “the No Kill movement” is that we are people united around the conviction that the proper role of animal shelters in our society is to care for companion animals that find themselves without owners and to place them in appropriate situations where they can live out their lives. (Qualifiers: “appropriate situations” might be home or sanctuary; “live out their lives” assumes that they are not suffering irremedially at the moment the shelter receives them.)

    PETA, apparently, promotes the notion that shelters need not, should not, or cannot fulfill that role; that they should or must kill animals instead. PETA also, apparently, steps up to do the killing part themselves. They have confessed to a belief that “companion animals” should not exist as a category, and the evidence points to the idea that they believe that - in the immediate sense - their belief supports killing the ones that exist now.

    • Right … so how could they support No Kill, which advances and supports the human/companion-animal bond and which wants this bond to continue for future generations. Of course PETA does not fight shelter killing — shelters are helping them reach their ultimate philosophy and goal. However, now PETA waffles and does not say this so bluntly because alienating millions of pet lovers and guardians is not good for their bottom line.

  16. sue_cosby says:

    And with that, this post has officially bumped the Death of Hope post out of the most commented spot!

    Take that.

    But I’ve still got to hand it to Death of Hope for record setting hits. Probably about ten times as many as this post over several weeks. Much more of an issue that resonated with the general public.

  17. Erik says:

    In fairness, aren’t No Kill meat eaters hypocrites? Where’s the outrage there? As someone who’s active in animal welfare, I have far more in common with PETA than the Center for Consumer Freedom. I cringe when I see No Kill advocates linking to their site, as though they’re our leaders now. They’re not. They’re on the wrong side of virtually every animal welfare issue. Have they even come out and said they’re against euthanasia? It seems obvious to me that they’re just using this issue to “divide and conquer.” I was No Kill long before I ever heard of them. We can be No Kill without their help, and we shouldn’t let them use us as their pawns.

    • sue_cosby says:

      I don’t think you are a regular reader. I would recommend this article: Humane Disconnections to see how the multiple contributing writers of this site have covered the many points of view.


      Someone sent me a great email recently that I would love to reprint in full with credit but I haven’t received permission so I’ll excerpt here:

      “When someone recently posted the euth stats from PeTA’s so-called “shelter” on a rescue list, someone responded by ignoring the numbers and what they mean and instead pointing out that the group publicizing them was a front group for various less than savory corporate interests. But the only scandal in THAT is that we in the rescue community for the most part just hang about grumbling to one another and LEAVE IT to such groups to publicize the data that we should ALL be calling attention to.”

  18. Alex says:

    I tentatively accept the conclusion that the institution of “pets” ought to be abolished.

    If an organization defends the principle premise of “animal rights,” that nonhuman animals have a basic right not to be a “thing” — property, legally speaking — then it strongly follows that our “pets,” which are legally property, fall within the category of abolitionist aims. The institution of “pets” cannot be morally justified unless we move from “animal rights” to a utilitarian or Nussbaumian argument.

    PETA is simply being consistent.

    However, we have to remember that PETA’s reasoning is consequential on this matter. They reason that for the amount of output it would require to function as a “No Kill” institution, PETA could advocate for legislation and changes to public law that can help several times more nonhuman animals.

    I agree with your assessments. Ms. Newkirk is not allowing new information into her reasoning; she is tied to tradition, and this ought to be challenged. However, they do not function as other-than “No Kill” for the end of eradicating the institution of “pets.” It is these baseless accusations that we should avoid.

    • sue_cosby says:

      Then if they could use the money to “advocate for legislation and changes to public law”, we ask that PeTA stop actively promoting and actively killing savable animals in shelters as it’s obvious to all of us that the money could be better spent.

  19. Even I, a vegetarian and someone who believes in animal rights in many areas, sees the twisted nature of PETA extending these ideas to DOMESTICATED animals. The bond between humans and domesticated animals goes back to the beginning of time; there is no going back to a time when that bond did not exist and enjoying dogs and cats “from a distance” like we do wild animals.

    Most of us also use the term “pet guardian” over “owner” to show that we are sensitive to the fact that animals are not our property to do with what we please for our own selfish uses/benefit and without looking out for the domesticated animals’ needs–physical, social, etc. That laws make animals our property is just a way for municipalities to control animals and administer public health and safety and also a means (via licensing) of generating income for the animal control system.

    What we as No Kill advocates hope for is that groups like PETA simply stop sticking up for a sheltering system that systematically kills healthy and treable animals. It would also do a world of good if they’d stop spreading misinformation and propaganda aginst No Kill as well. If PETA came out very bluntly and openly to the general public about thier views and goals concerning domestic animals, it would clear alot of air. They could continue funding spay and neuter, and anyone who agrees with them could donate funds to them. It is misleading to the general public for PETA to hide behind these ploys that they supposedly respect and support pet guardians. That’s all about them not wanting to alienate people who don’t understand animal rights very well and give them donations and the various celebrities who volunteer for them, many of which are also avid pet lovers and guardians.

  20. Alex says:


    It would also be difficult for us to find a time when human animals did not exploit nonhuman animals for some end, be it food, labor, entertainment. Animal rights (and Ethics) demands that we reject “history” as a premise.

    In the parlance, a “domesticated animal,” by definition, is property. It isn’t “twisted” to extend the goal of abolition to the institution of pets therefore. It is logical.

    One cannot reasonable accept the premise that nonhuman animals are not property – that they are moral persons – and argue against abolishing a single institution of animal property without begging the question. We must be ethically consistent.

    Most do not view their domestic animals as property. However, until the paradigm is rejected whereby healthy animals are killed al la PETA and “euthanasia,” or two animals are bred for the express purpose of selling or giving away their offspring, or animals are abused for the end of making a more efficient “guard dog,” we cannot coherently articulate an “animal rights” message. These practices are both legally, and, under the moral paradigm, morally acceptable.

    Therefore, we must abolish the paradigm and therefore we must necessarily end the institution of “pets.”

    It doesn’t follow, however, that all domesticated animals are released, etc. The institution that functions on the presumption that animals are our property however must end.

    Your relationship with your companion animals isn’t being challenged. Nobody would deny that you love your animals. However, it is self-serving to reason as you are currently doing. If animals are not ours to exploit, then bringing a dog into this world because he will satisfy some need I have, is precluded from the outset.


    I agree. PETA isn’t reasoning well, and animals are unnecessarily suffering and dying. This point, however, stands alone as a substantive critique.

    Assumptions about motives are therefore like a “fifth wheel on a car.” It is these assumptions that I have been critical of. And nobody has defended them.

    • Motives and hypocrisy and assumptions and exploitation of animals and other people are a sad part of our human history. Many of us try to face injustices and hypocrisy, even in ourselves, as we can.

      There is a difference between those who support the pure animal-rights philosophy and how it extends to domestic animals (that they should not exist) and those of us who do not support that extension of animal rights to companion animals. That people abuse, exploit, breed for profit, and do all kinds of bad things to dogs and cats does not mean companion/domestic animals should be sent into extinction.

      I think PETA has the right to its philosophy, but what I don’t support and respect is that organization’s tactics and their own hypocritical exploitatitions — sexism, anyone? That’s my personal beef with that organization (pardon the pun). They aren’t bluntly honest with the public about their views and philosophy regarding domesticated animals because they know it would affect their membership and donors when those who love and share a powerful bond with the 165 million dogs and cats in homes today stop supporting PETA.

      But trying to get back to No Kill and how big, powerful groups like PETA and HSUS stand in the way of its progress, they are part of the old guard mentality that punishes all of the public for the mistakes and cruelty of the minority. Because of this, they offer excuses and political cover for the killing that is not necessary but built into the system. Until these big groups change, we will continue to struggle more than we might need to to reach No Kill nationwide. I do not doubt we’ll get there someday.

      Lastly, No Kill advocates are NOT in support of anyone bringing a cat or dog into their home for only selfish, utilitarian reasons or without providing for the physical and emotional/social needs of the animal (much less exploitative when there is a bond and a loving home involved). We can fight neglect and abuse and exploitation of companion animals while also working toward No Kill. It would be that much easier if PETA either got out of the way or got out of the companion-animal business altogether or came clean with the public.

  21. sue_cosby says:

    Comments closed here but you are welcome to continue the discussion on The No Kill Nation Community site at by starting a forum topic where you are free to discuss at will (as long as it is polite).

  22. [...] PETA, as well as most animal shelters all over the country, also euthanizes healthy animals. In an interview with Canada’s George Stroumboulopoulos last year, Newkirk was asked “Do you euthanize those pets, the adoptable ones, if you can get [...]

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