People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been controversial for some time even amongst vegans and animal rights activists for its ads which treat women as meat, but there has also been a campaign supported by the meat industry denouncing PETA for killing animals.
It is certainly clear that PETA shows a lot more female skin than male skin in its ads, apparently to attract especially the attention of a particular age group within a particular gender. But what is even more disturbing is to see reliable evidence, at least in Virginia in 2006, backing claims that PETA kills many more animals than it finds homes for.
Animal rights activists, presumably including PETA, criticize speciesism, which values humans more highly than animals. Accordingly, a correct conclusion to fears that no-kill shelters may drive animals insane is to refrain from keeping animals in captivity. It is to understand that humans neither have the right nor the righteousness to decide for animals whether they should live or die. And it is to understand that humans have neither the right nor the righteousness to decide for animals the conditions of their existence.
It appears, however, that PETA has drawn the opposite conclusion. PETA will assume the authority to decide these matters for animals, presumably because it believes that humans have a greater mental capacity than animals and an ability to weigh their potential suffering against their will to live. But such an assumption is inherently speciesist; it is to take on the role of a god. And at least in the case of PETA in Virginia in 2006, it is to rationalize a genocide.
(UPDATE: PETA’s practice of euthanasia in Virginia in 2006 appears to be systematic rather than exceptional.)