I enjoyed reading about Adara Lewis being selected as a finalist for PETA's Cutest Vegan Kid contest. However, it appears the point of this article was to suggest PETA's mission was killing homeless pets and to create a slanted bias against PETA.
First, PETA does not have a shelter and uses mobile vans for spaying, neutering and euthanasia services to low income individuals.
It is unfair to compare the number of shelter animals adopted versus animals euthanized at the owner's request. I contacted PETA and learned most of these euthanized animals were too ill to live and were severely neglected. I suggest you read PETA's animal shelter section on their website. They explain the differences between good no-kill shelters and bad ones. Their position favors having companion animals being adopted and placed in loving homes. Perhaps instead of slighting PETA you could have focused on the 59 billion animals slaughtered annually on factory farms and questioned whether people should support them by buying meat at their local supermarkets. Animals are routinely abused by workers (see the video "Glass Walls" at peta.org); many animals slaughtered are gutted alive; dairy cows have their babies taken away for veal or killed for leather. Pigs are unable to move in stalls; baby pigs are killed by being thumped on their heads. Male chicks can't lay eggs and are gassed or thrown into dumpsters. Animals are fed 70 percent of all antibiotics, along with GMO crops, hormones, pesticides and ground-up animals, and chickens eat arsenic. Conventional meat tested showed 50 percent had antibiotic resistant staph and E coli from feces contamination. Consuming animals can cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes and fatal food-borne illnesses. Eating a healthy vegan diet will help save your health, animals and the environment, something PETA promotes.
Sheryl Esparza, Arcata
As Carrie Peyton Dahlberg points out, PETA has a small division that does hands-on work with animals in our community. Most of the animals we take in are society's rejects; they are abused, sick, elderly, aggressive, unsocialized or otherwise unadoptable. We send most adoptable animals to high-traffic open-admission shelters. I invite readers to visit www.PETASaves.com to see some of the animals PETA has helped.
Unlike many "no-kill" shelters, which make their statistics look good by refusing to accept animals in need, shuffling animals off to hoarders posing as "rescues," or sending animals out the door with incompetent or cruel people, PETA never turns away any animal who needs help. Virginia officials acknowledged this to USA Today, saying, "PETA will basically take anything that comes through the door, and other shelters won't do that."
Every caring person wants to end the need for euthanasia, but no amount of money can buy dogs and cats what they need most: loving, lifelong homes. That's why PETA has spent millions tackling the overpopulation problem at its roots, sterilizing nearly 90,000 animals at low cost to no cost to their guardians since 2001 in our mobile clinics, and educating millions of people about animal adoption, respect and the importance of sterilization with our ads and PSAs. PETA's Community Animal Project fieldworkers are on the road every day and on call 24/7, providing help to abused and neglected animals. We've called on the National Governors Association and even the White House to promote mandatory spay-and-neuter legislation and more.
We need everyone's help. To save lives, let's always have our animals spayed or neutered, adopt from shelters, and never buy animals from pet stores or breeders.
Teresa Chagrin, PETA animal care and control specialist, Norfolk, Va.