Animal advocate says that PETA is urging public officials to kill more animals

Nathan Winograd, a man who I admire and who describes himself as “The voice of America’s displaced pets and the conscience of the animal sheltering industry” literally hates PETA for the fact that they euthanize too many companion animals. Winograd and PETA have entirely different attitudes towards euthanasia.

Boe was an emaciated dog who was tethered all his life and who suffered from cancer. PETA euthanised him
Boe was an emaciated dog who was tethered all his life and who suffered from cancer. PETA euthanised him. Image: PETA.
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Winograd hammers PETA

In a recent email to me Winograd says that, “PETA is urging communities to kill animals, claiming doing so is a gift – in the dark and dystopian world of Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s founder, it is ‘the greatest gift of all'”.

Winograd says that PETA shuns the concept of no kill at animal shelters. In Winograd’s words, no kill is a “series of programs that include foster care, marketing, sterilisation, pet retention, volunteers, and robust adoption campaigns”. In other words, no kill means pulling out all the stops to save lives and find homes for unwanted animals.

The ‘No Kill Equation’ results in 95%-99% of animals being rehomed. The average stay is less than two weeks. Throughout America, this method of shelter management “has resulted in a nationwide shelter death rate decline of 90% and 30% fewer puppy mills”. That’s because more people adopt from shelters rather than buy them from breeders.

RELATED: Inside PETA’s kill room (Winograd v. PETA)

And then Winograd goes on to scathingly criticise PETA by saying that “PETA kills 90%-99% of the animals it takes in and has an adoption rate of less than 0.5% for cats and only 4% of dogs despite being a successful animal rights charity with a big income of $80 million in annual revenues.

In short, Winograd says that PETA just kills animals and in great numbers and could do a lot better.

RELATED: Nathan Winograd’s No Kill Advocacy Center Reviews US Statistics On American Shelters

PETA disagrees

PETA would strongly disagree with him. They have a page on their website which answers Winograd’s criticisms. I’ve read that page and my interpretation is that PETA’s shelter is, in their words, one of “last resort”. They take in the kind of animals, in such a dire state of health, that the only humane thing to do is to euthanise them. That, for PETA, is a welcome release from a cruel world for these animals. And they say that lots of people come to them with sick and dying animals who can’t afford to have them euthanised and PETA provides this service for these people.

They quote USA Today which said that “PETA will basically take anything that comes through the door, and other shelters won’t do that.”

For me, at its core, that’s the difference between Winograd and PETA. They even have a subheading on their page which asks, “Why PETA Kills Animals”. There is a picture under that subheading of an emaciated dachshund with a note from their owner who thanks PETA for euthanising her dog who was dying of cancer.

PETA argue that their shelter “offers community services that include free euthanasia to spare animals pain and allow their guardians regardless of means to ensure their comfort to the end. Many people who bring animals to PETA are poor who want to relieve their companion animal’s suffering.

RELATED: Delaware is America’s first no-kill animal shelter state

More Winograd criticism

Winograd says that PETA kills dogs and cats needlessly. He argues that PETA kills the vast majority of animals brought to them because, “PETA officials believe that sharing one’s home with an animal subjects them to bondage and oppression”. He argues that PETA employees are indoctrinated through watching horrible animal cruelty films with the intention of teaching them that “people are incapable of caring for animals”. Comment: I find that difficult to believe.


There is a difference between PETA and Winograd on the concept of euthanasia. As I understand PETA, they see euthanasia as a release from what is all too commonly a miserable life for these uncared for companion animals. Winograd’s starting point is that euthanasia is often about killing animals. Euthanasia can be the ultimate act of violence against an animal. At root the difference might be a difference in attitude on the preciousness or not of life on earth.


Firstly, I want to see Winograd stop criticising PETA. Both are in the animal welfare business. They should be supporting each other and working together. Winograd consistently attacks PETA but PETA does not attack Winograd as far as I can tell. That says something about PETA. The problem appears to be with Winograd. He’s has a bee in his bonnet about PETA. PETA don’t want to get into a slanging match with Winograd which is wise.

The truth is probably somewhere in between their different philosophies. PETA probably do euthanise animals which might, sometimes, be adoptable because of their underlying philosophy and Winograd might expect too much of shelters with his comprehensive no-kill policy. Both parties to this argument have very strong, almost black-and-white, polarised views which cannot be compromised.

PETA have a very absolute philosophy about humankind’s relationship with animals. That is made clear in the heading to their website. They see far too much abuse and probably are pessimistic about humankind’s ability – in general – to care for domestic animals to a satisfactory level. And they would seem to be right about that if you look at the world generally.

If there are 1/4 of a billion domestic cats in the world, there are also 1/4 of a billion feral cats. Cat domestication has a 50% failure rate. Everyone of those feral cats is a failure of cat domestication. Having run this website for about 15 years, I don’t see success in the domestication of the cat. I see general failure. Despite the many millions of successful relationships, overall there’s too much failure in cat domestication to call the project a success. And far too much animal abuse.

The same applies to dogs. The strict attitude and philosophy of PETA is arguably the right one.

5 thoughts on “Animal advocate says that PETA is urging public officials to kill more animals”

  1. Thank you for this. I support PETA for doing the humane, often heartbreaking, work that they do. When animals are suffering terribly without hope of rehabilitation, euthanasia is unquestionably an act of mercy. “No-kill” may sound appealing, but it often results in animals being warehoused for months or years in cages–where they slowly lose their minds and/or sink into depression; animals being handed over to whoever will take them (including hoarders and abusers); animals being turned away from shelters and left to suffer and die on the streets; and other cruel fates. We must work at prevention–through spaying and neutering (which PETA also does at little/no cost for thousands of animals every year) if we hope to address animal homelessness humanely.

  2. While I support some of PETA’s causes there are things they have done that I condemn.
    A few years ago in California a PETA worker picked up a chihuahua off a porch and stole him! When the owner finally tracked down who took his dog PETA had killed it! The little dog belonged to his daughter and it broke her 10y/o heart. The dog was only a puppy too, under a year old and was healthy.
    Steve Jobs left them millions and yet they are still killing pets not knowing if the pet has a family looking for it. I think they are misusing the money.
    PETA needs to stop picking up pets if all their going to do is kill them! Take them to a no kill shelter and give them a second chance or give the family time to find their pet.

    • You’re referring to a tragic accident that happened once—not SOP. The owner of the dog, Maya, has acknowledged in a written statement that he realizes that her death was a tragic mistake, and his family has expressed gratitude to PETA for its services to the community. PETA spends millions on free and low-cost care for local families and their animals, including emergency veterinary care; flea, tick, and flystrike preventive medications; and free spaying and neutering to prevent animal homelessness, as well as replacing inadequate shelter, like metal drums, with doghouses and straw bedding in winter and answering emergency calls for assistance, such as free euthanasia services and end-of-life care for those with no funds to pay for it. PETA also made a donation to the Virginia Beach SPCA in Maya’s honor.  


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