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An official spokeswoman from PETA headquarters responded to the
PETA page, which contains my story, a brief editorial, and some
interaction with readers. The response is specifically replying to that page, not simply
the story itself, yet she didn't really address the most important points that were
brought up on that page. Here it is, unedited and in its entirety. My response follows.
Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:57:11
Dear Mr. Cassingham:
The two individuals mentioned in your editorial The Truth About PETA, (7/17/05) are
compassionate people. Ms. Hinkle has helped countless animals, delivering free houses to
dogs left out in the cold without shelter, providing free veterinary care, and even
helping to build the first cat shelter in Bertie County, N.C.
PETA has no magic wand to place the droves of unwanted animals in loving homes. But we
have prevented suffering by providing euthanasia services because before we did so,
animals were shot with a .22, gassed in a windowless metal box, and injected with a
paralytic agent that left them to suffocate, fully conscious as their organs seized up.
We have also found homes for many animals, sterilized others free of charge, cleaned the
shelters, sent wardens to training programs, and worked with local veterinarians. At the
same time, we have pressed the counties to implement a spay/neuter program and an
adoption program, to open during evening hours, and more, but so far this has not
Please, if you would like to help stop animal killings, stay away from pet shops,
adopt from your local shelter, spay or neuter, and never abandon animals when they become
inconvenient. Readers can visit HelpingAnimals.com to learn how else to help.
Daphna Nachminovitch, Director
Domestic Animals and Wildlife Rescue & Information
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Yet the "PETA page" already addressed the issue of animal overpopulation. On that page,
which PETA apparently reviewed, I said: "Yes, we definitely do have a pet overpopulation
problem.... Still, what does this have to do with PETA taking in animals from shelters
with the promise that they'll be giving them good homes, but then killing them in the
back of the pick-up van without making any attempt to make good their promise? And
what, exactly, is the justification for dumping these animals in the trash? And how is it
that PETA kills such a high percentage of the animals entrusted to its care when the
closest SPCA shelter to PETA's headquarters is able to find good homes for most of its
I asked Daphna Nachminovitch if she'd please address those questions before I
published her letter. You guessed it: there was no reply.*
She does conclude with good advice: adopt from your local shelter, spay or neuter, and
never abandon animals when they become inconvenient. Sadly, PETA doesn't even follow its
own advice, preferring to kill animals rather than attempt to find them good homes, and
then secretly dumping the bodies in someone else's trash when the pileup of dead
puppies becomes "inconvenient". Again: shame on PETA for daring to lecture anyone
on what is the "ethical" treatment of animals! Read again the PETA
page and their official response and decide for yourself: do you really want
to support this organization?
*Hey! They replied!
Good for them. Ms. Nachminovitch asked if I'd replace the letter above with a new
one, but as many thousands of my readers have already read the above, I don't
think it's reasonable to make huge changes to it. I'm thus printing verbatim several
paragraphs she added in her second letter:
Mon, 15 Aug 2005 17:05:34
While this still doesn't address most of my questions, I appreciate that PETA made
any attempt at reply.
A terrible mistake was made with the dead bodies, but no secret was made of the fact
that PETA euthanizes animals and that the animals retrieved from the pounds would be
provided with a humane death. In fact, it was I who met and spoke with officials, and
not one of them ever even asked me about adoption. The pounds don't have an adoption
program, an adoption rate, or even open hours, and never have. The animals PETA was
picking up as a service to the counties were slated to die. Badly. Before PETA stepped
in, the animals in Bertie County were shot and gassed in this rusty, windowless gas box:
http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/photos/nc/600-Bertie07.jpg; in Windsor, animals were shot;
and in Northampton County, animals were gassed in a cinderblock cell (the use of which
has been resumed due to the media frenzy that followed this incident) and injected with
a paralytic agent that left them to suffocate, fully conscious as their organs seized
up. Photos of these facilities can be seen at http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/f-nc.asp.
Most people don't realize such pounds and gas chambers even exist in this day and age.
You compare apples and oranges when you cite the Norfolk SPCA's (NSPCA's) adoption
rate. The NSPCA is a small private organization that does not take in animals it deems
unadoptable or animals it has no room to house (please see
http://wtkr.com/Global/story.asp?S=3697414&nav=0oa7d5sL for a recent news story on this
situation). Animals not accepted by limited admission shelters are then taken in by
shelters that are forced to euthanize, or, in many cases, are abandoned on the street
(http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/2671/), or even abused by the frustrated people who no
longer want them (http://www.thederrick.com/stories/06302005-4014.shtml).
We have also found homes for many animals, sterilized others free of charge, cleaned
the shelters, sent wardens to training programs, and worked with local veterinarians. At
the same time, we have pressed the counties to implement a spay/neuter program and an
adoption program, to have open hours, and more, but so far this has not happened. Until
this incident, no one seemed to care at all what happened to homeless animals in these
As I said on the PETA page: "Do I think PETA is 100 percent evil? Absolutely not....
Some of what they do is great." I disagree with a lot of what they do, but that doesn't
mean they don't do anything good. They do.
Meanwhile, I chose not to run the many letters from readers who complained
about various other PETA actions. This isn't intended to be a clearing house of all the
"he said, she saids" about PETA; again, it's to provoke thought and dialogue about a
very important issue. The bottom line: PETA doesn't do what a lot of its supporters
thinks it does, and you should know the truth. If you want to know more, use your
favorite search engine. There's plenty out there on both sides.
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