Prior to taking on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) apparently had some time on its hands to take objection to a column I wrote recently on their perennially rejected Super Bowl ad.
PETA staffer Lindsay Pollard-Post writes in and - hoping no one will remember PETA's history or bother looking up what it's members have said and done through the years - walks the new party line. She says, among other things, that:
-- PETA isn't opposed to people "sharing their lives and homes with animal companions" but that breeding is wrong.
"No breeding can be considered 'responsible,' because every single litter brought into the world fuels the companion animal overpopulation crisis," says Pollard-Post. "Every time someone purchases a puppy or a kitten instead of adopting from an animal shelter, homeless animals lose their chance of finding a home--and will have to be euthanized."
--PETA is somehow exhonerated from it's Norfolk, Va., shelter's kill rate of 90 percent because Ms. Pollard-Post thinks they are the only shelter in the entire country that takes in animals who have been mistreated: "PETA's fieldworkers routinely find animals who have been suffering for weeks or months, left to starve and suffer life-threatening conditions and injuries with no relief from intense pain." - And, of course, they're working for animals, but you need to write a check and just hope you're funding what you think you're funding: "PETA works tirelessly, through educational campaigns, by sterilizing animals in our mobile spay/neuter clinics, and by subsidizing spay/neuter surgeries at private veterinarians' offices, to bring about the day when every dog and cat is born into a home awaiting with open arms."
Isn't that touching? "To bring about the day when every dog and cat is born into a home awaiting with open arms." Why, that sounds like responsible breeding.
Ms. Pollard-Post took pains over the issue of breeding, since I've been open about the fact that I breed Australian Shepherds. She certainly delivered more of a position statement on the subject than you will find at the PETA website. It's buried in there somewhere but, like all its dogma that is controversial or just plain wrong, it's skiffed over quickly.
As I have explained before, the purchase of a purebred dog can alleviate one of the major reasons dogs are dumped in shelters in the first place. And there is never a reason for a dog from a responsible breeder to be dumped into a shelter, since breeders will take their own dogs back rather than see that happen.
These days if you go to the PETA website, you will find very little of their radical agenda. Where is the PETA that denounced even the most humane forms of animal lab testing, even if it leads to find a cure for AIDS or cancer? Where is the PETA that considered an animal better off dead than "owned"? Where is the PETA that wants to prohibit dogs from leading the blind or sniffing out bombs from airline luggage?
PETA cannot be disconnected from its president and co-founder, Ingrid Newkirk, and her wacky world view which has become cult-like dogma to her PETA apostles. And she has sent her minions into the world to do her bidding. But in recent years, her yammering din has been muted to make way for the make-believe PETA of moronic vegan-for-a-day celebrities, sexist soft porn and trivializing historic events like the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, in this animal rights shell game, PETA has been re-tooled, refunded and redressed as the Humane Society of the United States, which is nothing like your local humane society (it runs no shelters) and everything like a big Washington, D.C., lobbying group employing a huge number of former PETA staffers, the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. These last two are the ones whose members firebomb medical labs and whose defense PETA funded.
To be sure, Ms. Pollard-Post's letter was an absolute masterpiece of press spin, including a touching story of an emaciated pit bull terrier - the second time I've heard about this dog from a PETA staffer - leading me to believe they have this one story they trot out whenever anyone questions the high percentage of animals they euthanize.
I'm sure Ms. Pollard-Post can't be blamed for some of her erroneous suppositions, since her information comes from her employer, whom she links to liberally and exclusively - kind of like PETA quoting itself and agreeing. In practice, however, PETA is every bit Newkirk's disciples, carrying out her extremist views with everything from inconvenient pranks (like opening crates at dog shows so they can report "dogs running loose" to animal control) to taking what doesn't belong to them.
Shelters all over the country, some that can legitimately be called "no-kill," are proving PETA kill numbers an embarrassment. Having been involved with several shelters, humane societies and rescue organizations - none of which were "limited admission" (nor do I know of any that are) - I know that no dog has ever been turned away because it wasn't "cute, young or friendly." And every other shelter certainly gives it's animals at least a fighting chance to be adopted, rather than immediately euthanizing them on the trip back to Norfolk.
Ms. Pollard-Post may be paid to present the new face of PETA - but it turns out to be only a mask.
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