London, April 5 (ANI): People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the animal rights group famous for its 'I'd rather go naked than wear fur' campaigns, has come under fire for killing animals at its US headquarters.
The group's stunts have made it one of the most formidable global lobbyists against the exploitation of animals.
However, now the high-profile charity has come under fire over its own treatment of animals after it emerged that the organisation put down 96 per cent of the animals handed into its American headquarters.
Of 2,216 animals taken to its premises in Norfolk, Virginia, last year, 2,124 were put to sleep - almost six per day. Homes were found for just seven.In last ten years, PETA has euthanised more than 20,000 pets, according to figures it has supplied to Virginia state officials.
The group insists that homes could not be found for the dogs and cats, usually because they were in such poor health or because they were 'unsocialised' and aggressive, usually because of bad treatment by their owners.
However, the organisation, which does not run its own animal adoption programme and does not accept animals into its care elsewhere, admitted that some treatable and adoptable animals were also among those killed by lethal injection.
"We are doing the dirty work that others won't. We are proud to be a shelter of last resort that takes in old broken animals and gives them a humane end," the Telegraph quoted Daphna Nachminovitch, vice-president for cruelty investigations, as saying.
"America is facing an epidemic of overpopulation. Six to eight million unwanted pets are turned in to shelters each year and half of them have to be euthanised. Our euthanasia programme is no secret.
"It's a societal problem. We're not going to turn our backs on these animals just so that our figures look good. We're not saying that all the animals we euthanise are suffering from incurable conditions. But overpopulation is a crisis. It's a matter of actually finding a good home," Nachminovitch added.
However, the group has been accused of being more interested in using its 32 million dollars annual budget to fund its campaigns against the fur and meat industries than helping the cats and dogs in its backyard.
David Martosko, director of research at the US-based Centre for Consumer Freedom (CCF), said: "Many people who contribute to Peta's funds will be very disturbed to learn that their money is going towards killing animals."
"It's inconceivable that Peta is taking in only the least, last and lost of the animal kingdom. The odds that Peta is only receiving unadoptable animals are about the same as me winning the lottery and being struck by lightning on the same day. The reality is that Peta has no interest in trying to find homes for unwanted animals as they want to use their money to fund their political campaigns," he added. (ANI)