Disclaimer: I have been a PETA member even while being a meat eater; this will be an important part of my reasoning below. I have never been employed by PETA, though I lived and worked nearby (in an animal research lab, coincidentally) during the infamous Silver Spring monkeys case that got them started.
PETA's underlying belief is that animals should not be used by humans for enterprising reasons, such as food, transportation, product testing or circuses. Now, I have never seen anyone say you can't own a horse and ride it around your land, but PETA opposes street horses in NYC, for example.
PETA means to be controversial, thought-provoking and they mean to make people uncomfortable with the status quo. Even those few things I may not agree with them on, I love them for this. I'm a rebellious teenager at heart.
Do I agree with PETA 100%? No. And this is important to me. Because when you join a group and feel the need to agree with them 100% or nothing ... isn't that like joining a cult? Plenty of us PETA members are not cultists.
Does PETA kill animals? Yes, they have euthanized animals, about 18,000 by my count since the mid 1990s. Why? When PETA is called in for a rescue, it is usually for the most horrific cases where the animals probably will not survive. But to put that number into perspective, the Houston TX humane society may euthanize 15000 animals in a month. ONE MONTH! Goddess only knows how many go down in New York City. And yes, PETA, along with the HSUS, recommended against trying to save the Michael Vick dogs, which thankfully, they have been proven wrong. But the groups that rescued the Vicktory dogs have a different mission.
Most of the anti-PETA information out there comes from lobbyists and paid hacks (same with the anti HSUS group Humane Watch) who want to continue inhumane farming and other practices purely for profit, but I'm running out of space to go into that.
Bottom line: Each animal rescue group has its distinct mission. They may overlap, but no one group can do everything. And while I believe and support no-kill shelters (Best Friends and a small senior cat rescue in Tennessee, hundreds of miles from my home, get what little I can afford to give to charity), the numbers do not currently bear out. Until idiots spay and neuter their animals, and keep them inside or on leashes or in safe fencing areas, we simply cannot house all the strays out there.
No kill is the goal, but we are far from it right now. I applaud everyone working on it and supporting it, but to say that any organization that euthanizes is bad is simply unrealistic at the moment. I'd love to live long enough to see this change, which is part of the reason I've chosen to be vegan.
I appreciate your input and think you make a lot of valid points however your numbers are off in regard to the number of animals killed by PETA along with the reasoning behind it. PETA euthanized more than 25,000 adoptable animals not ones that were "the most horrific cases where the animals probably would not survive." I believe every organization is only as good as their leader. If that leader is found to be untrustworthy then it jeopardizes the integrity of the entire organization. My hope is that more organizations that "claim" they are helping animals are more transparent so the public can see what they are doing. There are so many reputable organizations out there that do not have the stigma like PETA does.
PETA should be kinder. And as another poster mentioned lolzcats is a great popular site and I love it. Maybe they could go that route? Cuteness and love , though that sounds so saccharine, gets peoples attention too.
Greenseater2 great point and I think a lot more people would be receptive to PETA if they did not use "shock tactics." I watched a video from their website and will be forever scarred from what I saw. Maybe that gets some people's attention but for me I started to re-think if I wanted to be associated, in any way, with this type of orgainzation.
I receive emails from PETA pretty often. Most are pleas for donations, but they also provide action alerts. I admit that I only follow up on the alerts that are the most meaningful to me, and sometimes the content of them is too upsetting for me to read in their entirety. But I am glad to be on their mailing list, and feel that they do address some important problems. PETA and Animal Sanctuary both have inspired me to write letters to companies as well as congressmen urging them to make changes.
I agree that their celebrity campaigns against fur are degrading to women and probably ineffective. But I can't ignore the good investigative work that they do.
Every indication in news media today is that PETA euthanizes between 95 and 97% of the animals they take in. I am stunned that anyone who considers themselves "kind" would continue to support this organization and I have my fingers crossed that Alicia will begin to distance herself from endorsing them.
I do support PETA, monetarily and otherwise, because I do believe that you need those crazy agitator type organizations like PETA and what Greenpeace used to be to help get issues into the mainstream. Look at the recent flour bombing incident of Kim K. Now I know that PETA hasn't admitted that it planned the incident (full disclosure, I actually know the person who did this and while she is very very active with PETA, she is also crazy enough to have done this on her own free will) but that is all over the news, and maybe, just maybe it will get some people to rethink wearing fur. And the naked women aren't the only anti fur ads they run. They have used celebs with tatoos saying they'd rather get inked than wear fur. The naked people are probably the most talked about because they are the most contoversial, but I personally find these "naked" pictures tasteful, not degrading like a spread in Pethouse.
And yes, PETA caused quite a stir years ago when it was discovered that they were euthanizing animals, but unfortunately I think that the animal overpopulation is such that euthanizing animals is sometimes the only thing that can be done until spaying and neutering is much more routinly done and people don't dispose of their pets so freely as they do now. It is pretty widely accepted that between 3 - 4 million animals a year are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters and I just don't think every single animal is adoptable. Also, no kill shelters are indeed ideal, but with the amount of animals surrendered to shelters each year, I don't know how economically feasible that is either anyway. And how do we know that all no kill shelters are on the "up and up" and aren't just horders or are "passing the buck." As an example, a few years ago the Anti-Creulty Society in Chicagoland decided to become "no kill" but from what I understand, they assess the animals and then call animal control to take the unadoptable ones to be euthanized. So they are just having another organization do the dirty work. Sure, PETA didn't own up to euthanizing animals until they were caught, but at least they are now honest about it. Plus, I would really have to question the "mainstream" media reports that indicate PETA euthanizies the majority of animals they collect. There are many organizations out there that are funded specifically to discredit animal rights organizations such as PETA simply because PETA has the funds to stand up and file lawsuits and generate publicity.