PETA versus Nathan Winograd

This is a long running battle based on two opposing viewpoints on how to deal with the surfeit of adoptable cats in shelters in America. PETA say they should be euthanised. They also say that feral cats should be euthanised. Winograd is the world’s top advocate for no-kill shelters. He wants shelters to improve their systems and attitudes to maximise adoption rates. As I understand it he believes that it is possible to be truly no-kill and cope with the input of unwanted cats. PETA believes that it is impossible and therefore cats have to die to make room.

Nathan Winograd versus Newkirk of PETA
Nathan Winograd versus Ingrid Newkirk of PETA
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Both (as does everyone engaged in this debate) agree that more emphasis should be placed on ensuring that all domestic cats are spayed and neutered at the earliest opportunity. In other words prevention is the best solution.

But prevention takes time to get into the system. I wrote about the attitude of an important minority of cat owners who wanted their female cat to have a litter before being spayed. This attitude is entrenched. It will take time to overcome it. In the meantime there are millions of unwanted cats.

In the battle of Winograd versus PETA, PETA has a page on their website in which they they say that Winograd is stupid to promote no-kill shelters because the concept is fundamentally unworkable and causes untold misery amongst the unwanted cats of America. These cats are better off dead.

Nathan Winograd has responded. He has written a book with Jennifer, his wife: Why PETA kills. I have not read the book yet, however he provides a summary in an email to me.

Nathan and his wife say that the kill policy of PETA is “the result of the deeply perverse version of animal activism promoted by PETA founder and President, Ingrid Newkirk”. He alleges that PETA indoctrinate (my choice of word) their employees into believing that people are “incapable of caring for animals and that PETA is doing what is best for animals by killing them”.

He says that PETA claim that animals “cannot live without human care, which is why they round up animals in order to put them to death. The animals are damned either way and thus killing them is a “gift””.

PETA, he claims, even defend abusive animal shelters. They instruct employees to acquire animals by “any means necessary – in order to kill those animals”.

He says that “PETA is letting loose upon the world individuals who not only believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven — at least 32,744 times in the last 13 years — that they are not averse to using.”

You can buy the book on Amazon and it is free when downloaded (until 3rd December 2017).

It is a shame that two such powerful advocates for animal welfare are at loggerheads over how to deal with the unwanted cats of America.

I am compelled to say that I prefer Nathan Winograd’s arguments although I respect PETA and their work. I actually like PETA’s direct and dramatic style but feel that their attitude towards unwanted domestic cats and feral cats is too negative and an acceptance of failure. It is too massive in its approach to killing cats. And I think to believe that all feral cats are miserable and living appalling lives is incorrect. There are many well managed feral cat colonies where the cats live decent lives, arguably better thank many domestic cats. And many feral cats are looked after by individuals. These are better described as community cats of which there are millions in Asia.

Nathan Winograd’s approach is one of hope and striving for something better. And it must be a good thing to improve no-kill rates at shelters when working towards a 100% no-kill status.

Another point always comes to my mind. PETA’s approach arguable maintains irresponsible cat ownership because it disposes of the end product of irresponsible cat ownership: the cats are killed humanely; they disappear. This tends to promote a continuance of the problem.

Nathan Winograd’s approach maintains the effects of irresponsible cat ownership thereby placing pressure on the authorities and cat owners to take proactive steps to prevent it. A positive long term side effect.

7 thoughts on “PETA versus Nathan Winograd”

  1. Let’s see if I can explain this to you in a way where you finally realize that you and even Nathan Winograd are dead wrong. You can’t even use adopting cats to solve this problem. “No-kill” so-called “management programs” are mathematically impossible, not to put too fine a point on it. This applies as much to “adoption” as to any other “no kill” panacea.

    Stray and feral cat populations grow between 23.3% and 33.3% annually per J. K. Levy DVM of “Maddie’s Fund” and P. Nutter DVM (no, that’s really her name). There are, per an average of ASPCA estimates 84.5 million unsterilized stray and feral cats, and 46.4 million un-spayed, un-neutered free-roaming “owned” cats in the US in any given year. Or 130.9 MILLION free-roaming reproductive cats.The US free-roaming cat population increases by an average of 28.3%, or 37 million new cats annually, each of which will live on average 2-3 years in the wild.

    There are 128 million households in the US. Only about one-third, or 42.2 million, own even one cat. Many of those 42.2 million households own more than one cat. Cats aren’t more popular than dogs, more households own dogs than cats, it’s just that most people who have cats already have many more than one. Please believe me the other two-thirds of all US households aren’t “catless” because there’s a shortage. Do the math.

    So, should you by herculean effort manage to find homes for ONE year-class of feral kittens in just ONE kitten season–that’s about 101,370 kittens A DAY for about six months, you’d have 37 million MORE kittens to find homes for the very NEXT kitten season. The ones that have cats are already full-up on cats–or are turning, or have already turned, into cat-hoarding nightmares, you read about it every day now–and the other 2/3rds of all US households don’t have and will never want cats. They don’t want cats anywhere in their lives.

    You’ve over-bred your cats into a logistical and impossible to “fix with no-kill methods” nightmare. You can’t adopt your way out of this mess and you can’t TNR your way out of this mess. Not when less than 0.4% of all stray cats in any community on earth have ever been sterilized for TNR programs. This is YOUR fault, now own up to it and YOU find a way to fix it. Australia came to the very same conclusions that you will eventually have to come to. There’s no other way out of this mess that you made, no matter how much you want to deny it and just type “SMH” every time you read about it.

    Experience the sensational 3-D blockbuster this year! “Reality” … coming soon to a brain near you. (Refreshments available in the lobby.)

    • You sound like Woody in drag to me (notorious troll). Your whole argument is based upon “estimates” which are equally notoriously incorrect. And there is nothing to say why no-kill policies cannot be carried out in parallel with proactive steps which take place at the same time. Nobody said that you can resolve the unwanted cat problem in America solely on a no kill policy. It is one aspect of tackling unwanted cats. And it is a better way of dealing with them because simply killing them encourages more unwanted cats which is the point I made in my article. I’m sorry but you are the one who is brain-dead and I suggest that you see a new high resolution blockbuster in the form of a box set on Amazon which explains everything I’ve said much more clearly because you need it to be said more clearly.

      • The next time you make an educated estimate of how much sugar you are putting into your cup of tea, let us all hope you don’t go into a diabetic seizure–if that’s the way you think that educated estimates work.

        You might want to sign-up for a community night-class high-school course called “Statistical Analysis 101”.

        Or just keep typing “SMH”, just like you did, because you think that that makes you right.

  2. As hard as it may be to accept, re-abandoning cats to the streets or in the woods isn’t kindness at all. Outdoors, cats’ lives are brief and harsh. Many die after weeks of languishing with diseases or infected injuries; after being hit by cars or ingesting poison; at the hands of cruel people who are tired of them using their gardens as litterboxes; and worse. Domesticated cats also take a terrible toll on vulnerable wildlife species.

    As for PETA, they are not a traditional animal shelter. They operate one small shelter—a shelter of last resort for animals who need euthanasia to end their suffering (many of whom have been rejected by other facilities), including dogs who are aggressive and unadoptable because they have been kept chained their entire lives; feral cats dying of contagious diseases; animals who are wracked with cancer; elderly animals who have no quality of life and whose desperate guardians brought them to PETA because they can’t afford to pay a vet to euthanize them; and the list goes on. A painless end is a kindness for these animals, and the services PETA provides are vitally needed in an area where many people can’t afford to take their animals to a veterinarian. This video explains more about PETA’s work:

  3. Horrifying. Euthanising a healthy animal is never the correct answer to the problem. I am totally against kill shelters. Except in the most dire circumstances there is always a better choice, it may just take more time and manpower to find it. Taking the easy way out is a cowardly and less intelligent way to “deal” with the immediate situation.😱😡


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