Winton, NC-Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are facing felony animal-cruelty charges today in Hertford County Superior Court. And the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is running a full-page ad in The New York Times simply stating the fact that PETA KILLS ANIMALS.

In addition, CCF is sponsoring a mobile billboard to remind Winton and Ahoskie residents about the only Internet website devoted to day-to-day coverage of the trial: PetaKillsAnimals.com. The billboard truck will be visible outside the Hertford County Courthouse this morning and at the end of the day; it will tour Ahoskie during the early afternoon.

PETA employees Andrew Cook and Adria Hinkle each face 21 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 3 counts of Obtaining Property By False Pretenses. If convicted, they could face between 25 and 30 months in prison for each animal-cruelty count.

On June 15, 2005, Ahoskie police witnessed Hinkle and Cook throwing trash bags containing the bodies of 18 dead pets into a shopping-center dumpster. After arresting them, police recovered 13 additional dead animals from the PETA-owned van in which the two were traveling. Witnesses from the Ahoskie Animal Hospital and the Bertie County Animal Shelter confirmed that Hinkle and Cook had collected the animals, including puppies and kittens, earlier that day with the promise that PETA would find them adoptive homes.

“This trial will really open the eyes of people who don’t know about PETA’s darker side,” said David Martosko, Director of Research at the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit watchdog that monitors the animal rights movement. “This is an animal rights group that takes in $25 million and kills 90 percent of the pets it receives. That’s not ethical. It’s hypocritical.”

Mr. Martosko will be available to media in Winton this week. To arrange an interview, contact Sarah Longwell at 202-463-7112. Daily updates from the trial will be available at www.PetaKillsAnimals.com.

Public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services show that in 2005, the Norfolk-based PETA killed 90 percent of the animals it took in for adoption. By comparison, the nearby Norfolk SPCA killed less than 4 percent of its animals in that same year. The state average was 43 percent. Since 1998, PETA has put down over 14,400 dogs and cats. PETA’s 2006 statistics will be made public by the end of January.

For more information about PETA’s felony charges, including photographs from the scene of the 2005 arrests, visit www.PetaKillsAnimals.com.