PETA, Page 2
Researchers working for PETA went undercover into Huntingdon Life Sciences, a contract animal-testing facility, in 1997, where they filmed staff beating dogs in the UK and what appears to be abuse of monkeys in the company's Princeton, New Jersey, facility. The employees were fired and HLS's licence in the UK was suspended. After the video footage aired on British television in 1999, a group of activi entertainer lost his entertainment license, as well as a later lawsuit against PETA, after the group filmed him beating orangutans. A North Carolina grand jury handed down indictments against pig-farm workers, the first indictments for animal cruelty within that industry, after they were filmed skinning a sow who was allegedly still conscious. In 1985, the U.S. government suspended funding to the City of Hope biomedical research center in California over its alleged treatment of dogs, and East Carolina University agreed to stop using animals for classroom experiments after a PETA investigation.
In 1984, a 26-minute PETA film, based on 60 hours of researchers' footage obtained by the Animal Liberation Front during a raid on the University of Pennsylvania's Head Injury Clinic, led to the suspension of funds from the university, the closure of the lab, the firing of the university's chief veterinarian, and a period of probation for the university. The footage was made by the researchers as part of a study that involved inflicting brain damage on 150 baboons using a hydraulic device intended to simulate whiplash. An independent investigation by the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR) confirmed that there had been "extraordinarly serious violations" by the lab of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Community Animal Project
PETA has several programs helping cats and dogs in poorer areas of southeastern Virginia and northern North Carolina. It has spayed or neutered over 30,000 cats and dogs for reduced price or for free in the last few years. The organization comes to the aid of neglected dogs and cats who are severely ill and injured, and pursues cruelty cases. They offer free humane euthanasia services to counties that kill unwanted animals via gassing or shooting. PETA also offers free euthanasia for severely ill/dying pets when euthanasia at a veterinarian is unaffordable. PETA paid for and built a cat shelter in a North Carolina county. Each year the organization builds and sets up hundreds of sturdy dog houses, with straw bedding, for dogs that are chained outside all winter. PETA also creates and airs numerous public service announcements and billboards urging people to help control the pet overpopulation through spaying/neutering, and adopting animals from shelters instead of purchasing cats and dogs from pet stores or breeders.
Policy on euthanasia
PETA is against the no kill movement and euthanizes the majority of animals that are given to them.. It recommends euthanasia for animals, for certain breeds of animals (e.g. pit bull terriers) and in certain situations for unwanted animals in shelters: for example, for those living for long periods in cramped cages. Ingrid Newkirk has said: "Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals who no one wants." PETA recommends the use of an intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital provided it is administered by a trained professional.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the U.S. for a lack of homes. PETA and other animal protection groups blame people who don't spay and neuter their animals, and people who buy animals from breeders instead of adopting from shelters, for causing the animal overpopulation crisis
Animal euthanasia and criminal charges
PETA was criticized in 2005 when police discovered that at least 80 animals had been euthanized and left in area dumpsters over the course of a month. Two PETA employees approached a dumpster in a van registered to PETA and left behind 18 dead animals. Thirteen more were found inside the van. The animals had been euthanized by the PETA employees immediately after taking them from shelters in Northampton and Bertie counties. In a 2005 column in the San Francisco Chronicle, PETA's director of the Domestic Animals Issues stated that PETA began euthanizing animals in some rural North Carolina shelters via painless injection after it found that the shelters were killing unwanted animals with rifles and dilapidated gas chambers, both of which they claim are inhumane ways to kill animals. Officials from both counties said they were under the impression that the animals would be euthanized only if a home could not be found for them, and after being fully evaluated by a veterinarian. Both counties suspended their agreements with PETA after the incident.
Among the bodies in the dumpster were a cat and two of her kittens, given to PETA by veterinarian Patrick Proctor of Ahoskie Animal Hospital. According to Proctor, the two kittens were very adoptable, and he said the PETA employees claimed they would have no trouble finding homes for them.
PETA received donations from the public of over $25 million for the year ending July 31, 2005, according to the group's audited financial statement. Nearly 85 percent of its operating budget was spent directly on its programs; 10.83 percent on fundraising efforts; and 4.18 percent on management and general operations. The group regularly protests circuses that use animals. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is a frequent target of PETA's allegations of abuse. PETA asked a number of mayors to pass legislation banning items used to train elephants from cities the circus was due to visit. In one specific case, PETA asked that "bullhooks, electric prods and other devices that inflict pain on, or cause injury to, elephants" be banned, after the animal care director of the Carson & Barnes Circus, Tim Frisco, was filmed allegedly attacking elephants with bullhooks and electric prods. PETA's videotape of one of Frisco's training sessions allegedly shows him attacking elephants with steel-tipped bullhooks, shocking them with electric prods, and shouting "Make 'em scream!" The elephants are shown screaming and recoiling in pain, according to PETA.