It's a complicated irony that some animal welfare advocates believe in killing animals. But it's true: PETA, the animal welfare group notorious for its bold moves to protect nonhuman beings, operates a sizeable animal shelter out of its Norfolk, Virginia headquarters, where an even more sizeable percentage of the animals are euthanized. That's because PETA exemplifies one of the two main sides in the debate over no-kill shelters, which have spread rapidfire across the country in recent years.
While more and more shelters and humane societies refuse to euthanize the strays, giveaways and other adoptable pets that come their way, PETA and other groups have stood by traditional shelter protocol of killing to clear out space. As Brian Palmer explains at Slate, the justification for euthanasia has a lot to do with cruelty -- but not in the way you might be thinking:
PETA investigations also reveal that a large number of no-kill shelters fail to move their animals into homes. This creates a logjam. The organization has posted video of dozens of no-kill shelters turning away sick and injured animals because of months-long waiting lists. Some charge $100 for admission, even though owners often surrender animals because they can't afford to care for them. These organizations can only call themselves no-kill, PETA says, because they have the luxury of sending overflow animals to other shelters with the gumption to make tough decisions or the legal obligation to take all comers.