VIRGINIA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the activist group’s outrageous publicity stunts have influence but shouldn’t.
PETA is well-known for using naked models to combat wearing fur, handing out propaganda-charged comic books to school children and trying to change the word fish to sea kittens so people won’t eat them. It seems to have more influence among youth but thank goodness as one gets older, one is either indifferent to PETA or finds it annoying. Science-based organizations view PETA as peddling junk science and hype to attract donations.
PETA’s latest stunt is to encourage American and Canadian governments to put a sin tax on meat, similar to a tax on cigarettes and alcohol. PETA says a 10-cent tax on each pound of meat would help pay for hidden health and environmental costs.
“Although meat consumption is a health hazard and meat production is a leading source of environmental degradation, the meat industry has gotten off easy,” says the group’s web site. “A 10-cent tax on every pound of chicken, turkey, pig, cow, fish, and other animal flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants could help reduce Americans’ skyrocketing annual health-care costs by encouraging people to eat less meat.”
PETA also says meat production “is a leading cause of climate change, a looming environmental disaster that threatens the U.S. with billions of dollars in damages from rising sea levels, worsening storms, and increased droughts. By discouraging meat consumption, this tax could help prevent future climate change and related natural disasters.”
PETA is not a registered lobbyist with the Canadian government and has no official lobbying arm in the U.S. However, it does have professional lobbyists and lawyers in Virginia, where the group has its headquarters and its only animal shelter. It’s also where PETA conducts its open secret of killing animals it says it protects. The shelter routinely euthanizes animals while saying most animals in its care are adopted, reported the Huffington Post late last year. One year saw as many as 90 per cent of animals in its shelter killed. In 2015, the Virginia Senate passed a bill redefining an animal shelter to “a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals.” PETA hired a professional lobbyist to fight that bill, but was unsuccessful.
According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, PETA euthanized 1,411 cats and dogs in 2016, about 72 per cent of animals in its care. The center said other Virginia shelters killed an average of 16.9 per cent of animals in their care.
“It would be better if PETA never even touched the animals. That way they might actually have a chance at life,” Will Coggin, director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, told Fox News last year. “PETA holds itself out as a saviour, but it is really just a Grim Reaper.”
According to the PETA’S numbers, the group had total revenues of $67 million in 2016, of which $65.7 million came from donations. It had total operating expenses of $50.6 million. Its biggest expenses were $16.1 million on public outreach and education and $15.6 million on research, investigations and rescue.