PETA killed more than 1,600 cats and dogs at its Virginia headquarters last year - almost 90% of the animals handed over to the charity's shelter
By KATIE DAVIES
Animal rights charity PETA killed almost 90 per cent of dogs and cats placed in the care of the shelter at its Virginia headquarters last year, it has been revealed today.
The charity, well-known for attention grabbing publicity campaigns such as the 'I'd rather go naked' anti-fur campaign, euthanized 1,647 cats and dogs last year and only placed 19 in new homes according to the data submitted to the Virginia Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services.
PETA told Mail Online that the animals they take in at the center are 'unadoptable', however 89.4 per cent of pets is much higher than their own approximation that half of animals taken to shelters end up being euthanized.
Criticism: PETA, well-known for its hard-hitting adverts such as the one pictured, has come under fire for the number of animals it kills at its shelter in Norfolk, Virginia
Defense: The charity says euthanasia at its Virginia HQ shelter, pictured, is a 'necessary evil' as aside from those suffering they can't find homes for all the cats and dogs handed to them
According to the statistics 1,110 cats and 733 dogs were handed in to the charity in 2012.
22 cats and 108 dogs were transferred to another shelter, two cats and three dogs were reclaimed by their owner while 1,045 cats and 602 dogs were euthanized.
34 cats and 7 dogs were placed under a category entitled 'Miscellaneous'.
The statistics have been promoted by an advocacy coalition called Center for Consumer Freedom, which has had numerous run-ins with the charity in the past.
They say that since 1998 the shelter has euthanized a total of 29,398 pets.
Justin Wilson, CCF Senior Research Analyst said: 'The animal rights group is talking out of both sides of its mouth – on one side preaching its animal liberation agenda, while on the other signing the death warrant of over 89 percent of pets in its care. It’s beyond hypocritical.'
Well-known campaigns: The charity often uses celebrities for its hard-hitting campaigns. It was accused today of being more interested in 'publicity stunts than keeping animals alive.'
Well-known campaigns: The charity often uses celebrities for its hard-hitting campaigns. It was accused today of being more interested in 'publicity stunts than keeping animals alive'
Campaigns: Among its many projects PETA encourages vegetarianism and veganism and is against animal testing.
'It seems PETA is more dedicated to publicity stunts than to keeping the animals in its own care alive. It’s the height of hypocrisy for PETA to demonstrate for the 'rights' of rats and pigs, while killing tens of thousands of pets. It’s time that the Commonwealth of Virginia finally reclassifies PETA’s pet shelter for what it is – a slaughterhouse.'
A PETA spokeswoman told MailOnline that they had no choice but to euthanize the animals.
'We have a small division that does hands-on work with animals, and most of the animals we take in are society's rejects; aggressive, on death's door, or somehow unadoptable,' she said.
'CCF's goal is to damage PETA by misrepresenting the situation and the number of unwanted and suffering animals PETA euthanizes because of injury, illness, age, aggression, and other problems, because their guardians requested it, or because no good homes exist for them.'
Sex sells: PETA often uses models in their campaigns. They hit out at critics of euthanasia at their cat and dog shelters yesterday saying it received many unadoptable pets
A later statement added: 'PETA refers adoptable animals to the high-traffic open-admission shelters where they have the best chance of being seen and finding a new home.'
In a 2009 blog the charity wrote about their opposition to 'no-kill' animal shelters saying they often get filled and just have to turn animals away.
It said in some cases euthanasia is a necessary evil and PETA is willing to do 'society's dirty work'.
'As long as animals are still purposely bred and people aren't spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society's dirty work. Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis,' it said.
In response to the post, supporters of the charity were torn on the issue but many said a charity in its position on issues such as medical testing, the fur trade and as advocates for veganism should never allow the killing of healthy animals over a lack of suitable home.
'In my book, the only time it's acceptable to kill animals is the same as the only time it's acceptable to kill people: when their illness is painful and terminal.'
'Anything else is a speciesist double standard. As soon as I hear of a campaign to kill homeless people because it's 'more humane' then I might consider it an acceptable option for homeless animals too,' said one post.