PETA Defends Euthanizing Animals

Proponents of no-kill shelters are appalled that PETA kills animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an advocacy group for animal rights known for somewhat aggressive marketing tactics, kills about 2,000 dogs and cats each year at its shelter in Norfolk, VA.

In response to the criticism, the PETA spin machine is working its magic. With the slogan "PETA Saves..." the organization explains its work to rescue animals and reframes the issue. Throughout the country in the past ten years or so, euthanizations have gone down, and adoptions have gone up. PETA is generally behind this policy but says that many no-kill efforts are misguided. PETA also presents itself as a "last resort" shelter, forced to euthanize animals in terrible shape and unlikely to be adopted.

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PETA's website points to several ways for people to understand the organization's rationale:

Discussion Starters:

  • In addition to those presented here, find arguments on both sides of this issue. What are the main points of each? Which are the strongest and weakest arguments?
  • What's your view of PETA's use of graphic images? Does it help garner support for the organization's goals or detract from the issues?