Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently posted the “news” that it had “newly obtained public records” showing that certain research universities had euthanized laboratory animals during the COVID-19 pandemic and that PETA had complained about this to the National Institutes of Health. In its zeal to attack the use of animals in medical research, PETA described this as a “mass killing spree.” What this ignores, however, as reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education back in 2020 when all this happened, is that universities made these difficult decisions because they had no choice. Social distancing requirements that forced animal care personnel to stay out of the labs, precluded the delivery of proper animal care. It was not humane to allow the animals to go without food, water and other husbandry. But what we thought was particularly interesting is PETA’s use of the rhetoric “mass killing spree” in light of what goes on in its own facility in Norfolk, Virginia. Continue reading “PETA’s Animal “Shelter” Continues as a Leader in Animal Death”
On January 8, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other groups to an Iowa statute that prohibits “agricultural facility fraud.” Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, No. 22-1830 (8th Cir. Jan. 8, 2024). Statutes like this are often termed “ag gag laws” by their opponents. The district court had declared that the law violates the First Amendment, but the court of appeals reversed. Continue reading “Animal Rights Challenge to Iowa “Ag Gag Law” Fails in Eighth Circuit”
On February 17, 2023, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a preliminary injunction that had restrained the University of Washington from releasing records containing personal identifying information of current and former members of the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The records request had been submitted by animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The appellate panel ruled that the district court erred in determining that the IACUC members had raised a serious issue that their First Amendment right of association would be infringed by release of the records, but did not reach the other arguments raised by the IACUC members which presumably will be addressed on remand. Sullivan v. University of Washington, No. 22-35338 (9th Cir. Feb. 17, 2023). Continue reading “PETA Open Records Case Takes an Interesting Turn”
On February 8, 2023, the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment dismissing a lawsuit that animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and a former PETA employee had brought seeking to enjoin the “Bandera Wrangler’s Hog Catch,” a feral hog-catching contest held annually in Bandera, Texas. PETA v. Bandera Wranglers, No. 04-21-00466-CV (Tex. Civ. App. — San Antonio 2023). The court ruled that neither plaintiff had standing to sue under Texas law. Continue reading “PETA Hog-Catching Case Fails for Lack of Standing”
Annually, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) condemns Groundhog Day. This year, PETA called the exhibition of Punxsutawney Phil “a cruel form of speciesism, a human supremacist worldview.” Ironically, Groundhog Day is around the same time that PETA reports the euthanasia rates in its Norfolk, Virginia shelter to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). As a further irony, the theme of the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which the protagonist experiences the same thing over and over again, accurately characterizes PETA’s kill rate: just like last year and the year before and the year before that, PETA euthanized animals in 2022 at a rate that vastly exceeded the rates of facilities in Virginia reporting to the VDACS. Continue reading “With the Death Rate in PETA’s Animal Shelter, It Really Is Groundhog Day”
In an interview posted on Youtube on June 6, 2022, Ingrid Newkirk, founder of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), discussed several subjects, including claims made in 2004 by comedy team Penn & Teller that PETA kills dogs and cats. Ms. Newkirk described the Penn & Teller claims as “cheap” and “misinformed.” (We have reported in the past (see, for example, here) on the statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) showing that PETA’s shelter in Norfolk, Virginia has a high rate of euthanasia when compared to other shelters operating in the Commonwealth of Virginia.) According to Ms. Newkirk, PETA’s shelter is an “open admission shelter” that takes in “animals that are on their last legs” — “the dregs, if you will” — that “have the door slammed shut on them in other places.” The implication is that this is the reason for the high euthanasia rate. Ms. Newkirk stated that PETA would “never” euthanize a healthy animal.
Ms. Newkirk’s interview came on the heels of an event recently sponsored by PETA called the “Poochella Festival” which PETA described as a “multishelter adoption event” designed to help “Virginia dogs find loving homes.” According to PETA, “[o]ur shelters” — presumably PETA and the four other local animal shelters that participated in the event — “are bursting at the seams with wonderful dogs who would love to become great companions.”
Given its history of euthanizing the vast majority of dogs that it receives, the assertion that PETA is “bursting at the seams” with dogs to be adopted struck us as questionable. So, we decided to look at the reported data to see how PETA compares with the four shelters that PETA stated participated in “Poochella:” Chesapeake Animal Services, the Norfolk SPCA, Virginia Beach Animal Control, and the Virginia Beach SPCA.
It’s that time of year again when animal shelters in the Commonwealth of Virginia must submit their annual summary of animal custody records to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Any shelter operating in Virginia must report how many animals it had on hand at the beginning of the year, how many it had at the end of the year and what happened to them. Specifically, VDACS requires that the shelter report the number of animals euthanized. Continue reading “PETA’s Animal “Shelter” Continues High Euthanasia Rate”
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld, in part, the constitutionality of an Iowa law that makes it a criminal offense to obtain access to an agricultural facility by false pretenses. Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Reynolds, No. 19-1364 (8th Cir. Aug. 10, 2021). The court reversed in part a district court ruling that the law violated the First Amendment. Continue reading “Eighth Circuit Upholds Part of Iowa “Ag Gag” Law”
Last week, we wrote on the overall euthasia rate in 2020 for the animal “shelter” that animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) runs in Norfolk, Virginia. (“Euthanasia rate” here means how many animals the shelter euthanized (killed) expressed as percentage of how many animals the shelter took in during 2020. It is based on data that every animal shelter in Virginia is required to submit annually to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).) PeTA’s euthanasia rate was far higher than the average euthanasia rate for other shelters in Virginia. When compared to the overall euthanasia rate of all reporting agencies in Virginia in 2020, as reported by VDACS, PeTA’s rate was more than 11 times higher for dogs, more than 7 times higher for cats and more than 9 times higher for dogs and cats combined.
This week, we dig a little deeper into the numbers. Continue reading “PeTA’s Euthanasia Rate — Part II”
On prior occasions (here and here), we have written about the high rate at which animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) euthanizes the animals that it takes in at its Norfolk, Virginia animal “shelter.” All public and private animal shelters and other animal releasing agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to submit an annual summary of their animal custody records to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). PETA’s report for 2020 recently filed with VDACS reveals that PETA’s death rate still outpaces the average rate at which other shelters in Virginia euthanize animals. Continue reading “Euthanasia At PETA’s “Shelter” Still Occurring At Alarming Rate”