Washington, DC — As People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) activists lay in coffins today outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making the dishonest claim that Americans risk contracting bird flu by eating chicken, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom displayed its own coffins — filled with a dog-costume-wearing protester and assorted stuffed dogs and cats — alongside PETA’s caskets.

Official documents from the state of Virginia, available at www.PetaKillsAnimals.com, show that PETA has killed more than 12,400 “companion animals” since July 1998. And on November 18 a North Carolina jury will decide the fate of two PETA employees, each charged with 21 counts of Felony Animal Cruelty and 3 felony counts of Obtaining Property By False Pretenses.

Hertford County, NC prosecutors say the PETA workers obtained adoptable puppies and kittens from veterinary offices and animal shelters, promising that PETA would find them adoptive homes. Instead, they killed the animals in the back of a PETA-owned van just hours later — and dumped the bodies in a grocery-store dumpster.

“Last year PETA’s income exceeded $29 million,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko, “but PETA kills over 80 percent of the flesh-and-blood creatures it takes in — including puppies, kittens, and other adoptable animals. Most of PETA’s money pays for ridiculous protests like today’s deceptive display. You simply can’t catch bird flu by eating chicken. PETA should use its millions to hire more biologists and fewer naked college interns.”

Last month the European Food Safety Authority assured consumers that “there is no evidence to suggest to date that avian influenza can be transmitted to humans through consumption of food, notably poultry and eggs.” And Dr. Hugh Pennington, president of the UK’s renowned Society for General Microbiology, told the BBC on October 26: “The virus is transmitted by live birds. It’s not in the poultry meat and it’s certainly not in eggs.”

“Despite what PETA wants Americans to believe, it’s quite safe to eat chicken and turkey as long as you cook it first,” Martosko added. “PETA should recycle these coffins into final resting places for the thousands of animals its employees have needlessly killed.”

For more information about PETA’s animal-killing program,
visit www.PetaKillsAnimals.com.