In tough economic times — heck, all the time when you think about it — trying to decide which charitable organizations deserve our donations is difficult. And the decision is further complicated when those charities are widely misunderstood. To clarify the nature of some key animal welfare groups, then: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are primarily educational organizations. PETA and the ASPCA have one affiliated shelter each, HSUS runs five sanctuaries in partnership with The Fund for Animals.
Other organizations that use terms like “Humane Society” and “SPCA” in their names bear no relationship to the national HSUS or ASPCA. NONE. They are all independent of each other. That’s why it’s so difficult to gather reliable statistics about how many pets are sent to shelters and killed there each year. And it’s also why what I write about HSUS should not reflect on any local organization with a similar name.
Ok. After my last post, I promised to explain why I agreed with Nathan Winograd’s dissing of PETA and HSUS, though not with the context in which he does it.
Even before I learned about its relation to actual animals — more on which in a minute — PETA has always pissed me off. Animals, they claim to care about. Women… not so much. Their sexist ads come in two varieties: Ones that showcase gorgeous model types as vegetarians (see here) and others that shame fat women (as in the billboard pictured above).
And then there’s the whole making animal activists look like idiots by taking their defenses to absurd lengths — for example, when President Obama killed a fly.
But that’s just a question of style and tactics. The real problem is that PETA doesn’t treat animals ethically. It advocates killing certain breeds — and it actually kills them. Warning: I’m going to insert a link to a site that supports this last claim with an opening image that is graphic and disturbing; I couldn’t find one that gathered as much information in a single place. But PETA is all about shock so posting this site illustrating president Ingrid Newkirk’s philosophy and actions is fair.
This is a more recent article about the single shelter affiliated with PETA. It’s awful too, just not as viscerally upsetting.
Enough for today. In my opinion, nothing that HSUS has done compares, and I don’t want to put them in the same category. And I promise to leave my next post on a more uplifting note.