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When documents released by the Center of Consumer Freedom revealed that last year PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) euthanized 95 percent of the pets in its care, many were outraged. Such staggering statistics throw the intents and practices of the organization into question. PETA’s website claims that their “positions may be controversial, but they are always true to [their] driving mission: to stop animal abuse worldwide.” If mass euthanasia contributes to animal abuse prevention, there are clearly flaws with the organization’s mindset.

PETA deemed the roughly 2,000 cats and dogs that it euthanized last year to be “society’s rejects” and stated that they could not be adopted due to their behavior or the inability to find an adequate home for them. However, it failed to provide the specific criteria that determine each animal’s adoptability. According to records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a meager 24 animals were placed into homes under PETA’s care last year. In effect, the organization kills more animals in one week than it finds homes for in an entire year.

Ironically, PETA’s actions parallel those of the corporations and companies it constantly targets.  The organization ignores its supposed dedication to compassion by enforcing euthanasia upon potentially adoptable animals, which it has apparently lost hope in. Even a dog with an aggressive personality can change through behavioral exercises.  Euthanasia, although valid in certain situations, should not be the first and only option in all situations.

With an annual budget of $37 million dollars, PETA possesses the financial ability to provoke change, an advantage that many groups lack. However, a significant portion of the budget goes toward its infamous celebrity-endorsed campaigns. Too much money is spent in the hopes of producing shock value, rather than truly caring for animals. Instead of spending money on hiring celebrities who often violate PETA’s beliefs (Eva Mendes was spotted wearing fur after participating in an anti-fur ad), the organization could make a greater impact on their goal of animal liberation by focusing directly on the animals.

Providing medical attention to animals and building more shelters would contribute to the well-being of countless animals in need and reduce the implementation of euthanasia.  As important as spreading awareness may be, taking direct action incites change on a larger scale.

Due to the exposure of its controversial activities, PETA’s name has suffered a loss of credibility. Despite its damaged status, it would be unfair to disregard its achievements. The organization’s support and reasoning for vegetarianism personally influenced my decision in becoming one, and I respect the effort it has made in the name of animal justice through pursuing court cases and such. However, PETA must present a clear goal and constantly practice what it preaches, or the destruction of its reputation will continue.