It’s Groundhog Day again and apparently our friends over in that bizarre parallel universe otherwise known as PETA still don’t like my robot idea. Some things never change. The piece below was originally published 3 years ago. In the 1096 days since then, more than 80 additional communities have achieved save rates of 90% or higher, accomplishing tremendous things on budgets a tiny fraction of PETA’s, despite the very serious disadvantage of being nothing but a bunch of cleverly disguised hoarders and dogfighters, while the kind folks at PETA continue to kill over 90% of the pets they get their morally superior hands on.
It doesn’t make any sense to me either.
A modest proposal: PETA should ‘euthanize’ only animatronic dogs and cats
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has once again made headlines for suggesting the use of animatronic technology as a means of protecting animals, this time suggesting that Punxsutawney Phil be replaced with a robotic groundhog, on the grounds that having an actual groundhog pop his head out of a hole in front of an audience once a year is a form of animal cruelty. They had earlier suggested that UGA replace its mascot with ‘robodawg’ after the untimely passing of Uga’s most recent incarnation. Additionally, PETA has produced a video in which robotic cats attempt to make robotic kittens. Clearly they are aware of the great potential this technology has for the protection of animals, but they are overlooking one use which would save thousands of dogs and cats every year, and it’s right there in front of them. It is so obvious, how could they not see it?
PETA kills thousands of pets every year, and many, if not most of these pets would be deemed adoptable by a No Kill shelter. No Kill shelters save 90% or more of the animals that come through their doors, whether or not they are open-admission. PETA, by contrast, seeks out andkills over 90% of the animals they get their hands on. In 2006, they killed 97%. In 2007, they killed 91%. In 2008, they killed 96%. There is no reason to believe that 2009 will be any different once the numbers are finally released.*
If PETA were to switch to ‘euthanizing’ robotic dogs and cats (and the occasional chicken), rather than killing actual living, breathing dogs and cats (and the occasional chicken), literally thousands of animal lives would be saved every year. Rescuing could be left to real rescuers. That infamous walk-in freezer at PETA headquarters could instead be filled with tofu burgers. PETA could inject Fatal-Plus into robots while the cameras roll. It would be great publicity. The technology would be very simple, since the robots wouldn’t need to do anything fancier than play dead. They could be reused time and again, which would be much more environmentally friendly than filling up dumpsters with dead pets. The money saved by eliminating the need to cremate tons of dead pets could be spent on spay-neuter assistance, or on more ads featuring naked celebrities.
If PETA would only stick its collective head out of its collective hole, it could catch a glimpse of the growing No Kill movement.
Everyone would live happily ever after.
*Note: The pertinent numbers to look at in these data are the numbers of animals taken in for adoption and the numbers of animals killed. PETA habitually includes animals brought to its spay-neuter clinic for surgery to obfuscate the true gravity of its statistics. When calculating the kill rate, the animals brought for surgery were, of course, left out.
Let PETA know about the benefits of ‘euthanizing’ robotic pets:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front Street
Norfolk VA 23510
Having convinced themselves that rounding up and killing healthy and treatable pets is somehow vegan, the staff and supporters of PETA try to keep the awful truth from the animal lovers who contribute to their $30 million budget, but more and more people are finding out, and they are having to try harder and harder. On rare occasions they publicize a rescue, real or imagined, and then offer the animal up for adoption, real or imagined–the truth being rarer than unicorns in PETA-land. Mostly they just lie about the nature of what they do.
Someday, PETA will stop rounding up and killing pets, and getting there will be a very interesting process, in the “may you live in interesting times” sense of the word “interesting. It won’t involve the sudden realization that what they have been doing is wrong and that there is a better way, because they already know both of those things on some level and that knowledge has not stopped them from unfettered killing. If you’re looking for integrity, don’t look at PETA. Will that day be brought about by legislation? Loss of funds? Legal action? A complete turnover of personnel? Those things will take years and the animals that fall into their hands need people to intervene on their behalf now.
Please do take a moment or two to ask PETA to switch to killing robots.
And while PETA does not have a Petfinder site and doesn’t typically advertise pets for adoption, they do have an adoption application. It isn’t easy to come by, but now you can download a copy here. A pretty unimpressive Word document, but it is interesting that they ask “How many companion animals do you own now? ” and ”How long you have owned him/her” (emphasis added). I thought they only liked ownership when they could use it to sneak out of some legal hot water. Also “Where is the animal now?” A coarsely-phrased but interesting question, coming from people who, if they were honest, would have to answer many thousands of times over: ”in some landfill somewhere”. I admit that I find the thought of telling those people any personal information rather creepy, but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if PETA were to suddenly start receiving adoption applications from people informed about what PETA really is? Would they be ignored? Would applicants be opening themselves up for harassment? Would they be placing their pets at risk? How would this all look?
How do any animals get out of there alive?
I find it creepy because the whole thing is so lopsided with a hefty dose of crazy added for good measure. In a No Kill community, a shelter is a positive part of the community, and has to earn its trust every day. Fortunately, earning trust is a natural part of taking in lost and homeless pets and reuniting them with their families of finding them new ones, providing sick and injured animals with medical care and a clean place to stay, treating volunteers with respect, and so forth. You can expect you adoption application to be handled in a professional manner in a No Kill community. PETA is the exact opposite of all that. They do all manner of crazy things and answer to no one.
So, what to do with the adoption application? I have a couple of ideas:
- Apply to adopt, if you dare.
- Spread the word. Share the application around. Here it is again. If you prefer a pdf, here you go. Put it up on twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, wherever. Let people know that it exists. Let people know the truth about PETA. Let them know that the staff and supporters of PETA want their killing of thousands of healthy and treatable pets to remain invisible.
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