WASHINGTON, DC- Yesterday the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom formally petitioned Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), requesting that the government agency officially reclassify People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as a slaughterhouse.

An official report filed by PETA itself shows that the animal rights group put to death nearly every dog, cat, and other pet it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 animals. Not counting pets brought to PETA for spaying or neutering, the organization killed 2,981 of the 3,061 “companion animals” it took in. According to VDACS, the average euthanasia rate for humane societies in Virginia was 34.7 percent in 2006. PETA’s “kill rate” was 97.4 percent.

“It is absurd to classify PETA as a ‘humane society’ when its employees are slaughtering nearly every companion animal they bring in,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “PETA has killed over 17,000 pets since 1998. Given the group’s astonishing habit of killing adoptable dogs and cats with such ruthless efficiency, it’s only fair that the state of Virginia refer to PETA as a slaughterhouse.”

CCF’s letter to VDACS Commissioner Todd Haymore reads as follows:

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Dear Commissioner Haymore,

The Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) enjoys nonprofit status as a “humane society” and “releasing agency” as defined in Virginia Code § 3.1-796.66. But when PETA filed its required online “Animal Record” report for the year 2006, it reported something startling.

Setting aside the dogs and cats the group sterilized that year, PETA euthanized (killed) 97.4 percent of all the domestic animals it took in.[1] This percentage has been steadily increasing each year since 2001, when PETA’s “kill rate” was 72.4 percent. In 2006, the state average for “humane societies” was less than 35 percent.

In 2006, PETA employees killed 2,980 dogs, cats, and other pets; they transferred 46 to other Virginia releasing agencies; they adopted out only 12.

During a 2007 criminal trial in North Carolina, a PETA manager testified that her organization maintains a large walk-in freezer for the storage of animal carcasses. She testified that PETA employs a crematory service to periodically dispose of the bodies. And she also affirmed that (despite its $32 million budget), PETA does not operate a public “shelter” where members of the public may select dogs or cats and adopt them into their homes.

Given PETA’s apparent practice of killing animals shortly after they come in the door (or, in the North Carolina case, inside a cargo van), without making a good-faith effort to find them adoptive homes or provide necessary long-term veterinary care, its classification as a “humane society” and “releasing agency” seems inappropriate.

Accordingly, I am requesting as a resident of Virginia that your office strip PETA of these designations, and regulate it instead in the future as a “slaughterhouse.”

I recognize that Virginia law presently provides only for the regulation of slaughterhouses, packing facilities, and stockyards which handle animals defined as “livestock.” I respectfully suggest that you should also amend your regulations to account for the fact that at least one Virginia institution (PETA) already operates a slaughterhouse for dogs and cats.

Sincerely,

David Martosko

Director of Research