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Euthanasia: We Won’t Run From What Needs to Be Done!

Written by PETA | April 5, 2013

Back in February, PETA sent out a news release about the number of sick, injured, elderly, and otherwise unadoptable animals we had to euthanize during the previous year. PETA openly publishes these figures every single year and simultaneously calls on the government and citizens to help promote anti-chaining ordinances (many of the dogs our caseworkers encounter are aggressive or horrifically neglected after having been chained outside for their entire lives), to help reduce the cost of euthanasia of old and ill animals who belong to people with a low income (these account for many of the animals PETA helps), and to implement sterilization programs and laws to reduce the homeless-animal crisis.

In other words, old news is now being regurgitated with a vindictive spin by—among others—a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters that kill millions of animals every year—and which do so not out of compassion but out of greed. Before falling prey to the hysteria, please have a look at and

PETA’s statistics are also often used, as they are being used now, in a truly perverted way by some “no-kill” evangelists to try to turn people away from the “evil” of what is actually a dignified, merciful release from suffering. They never give a complete picture, and they always use inflammatory language and labels like “puppies” and “kittens,” even if the animal was a 17-year-old dog who was unable to breathe properly because of a heart condition. Such people are sure that if you shuffle enough animals around from shelters to hoarders’ basements or just throw stones at shelter workers and call them “psycho” and so on, people will join their number. But they offer no realistic solution to the multiple tragic problems associated with easily acquired and easily discarded “pets.”

Anyone who reads our website or receives our newsletters, in which we discuss this issue regularly, knows that PETA has a division that does hands-on work with animals. We run a shelter but in the most merciful way. We help—because no one else will—the animals who are society’s rejects in the area near our Virginia headquarters. These animals are aggressive, feral, on death’s door (often with large tumors hanging from their bodies), or otherwise unadoptable. We have published many blog posts about our caseworkers’ heartbreaking work over the years, and more information can be found at

It’s important to note that the figures used by anti-PETA campaigners are deliberately chosen because they are just the euthanasia figures. They do not include perspective—i.e., the more than 10,000 dogs and cats PETA provided with no-cost to low-cost spay and neuter surgeries and other veterinary services in the last 12 months alone, the hundreds of animals delivered to large high-traffic shelter facilities for adoption, the counseling and aid services that PETA provides in order to enable people to keep and properly care for their animals, and the animals we have put up for adoption, like the cat currently featured on our website, whom we nursed back to (almost) good health and who is still seeking a permanent home.

The “no-kill” shelters in the area surrounding PETA’s headquarters, like many such places that sing the “no-kill” refrain for fundraising purposes, actually not only refuse admission to animals (because they are constantly “too full”) and reject dogs and cats who are injured, sick, or dying but also refer these “undesirable” animals to PETA, which bears the veterinary or euthanasia costs. For more information on this topic, visit

People who are shocked to learn how many healthy or adoptable animals have to be euthanized annually or are questioning PETA’s euthanasia record should ask themselves if they are spaying and neutering their own animal companions, helping people with a low income “fix” theirs, adopting from shelters instead of buying from breeders and pet stores, funding education campaigns about proper animal care and adoption (among other things), and demanding higher animal-protection standards in their own communities. They should also look carefully at the photographs of the animals who come out of the impoverished areas that PETA serves. Of course, they should definitely not be eating or wearing animals or their skins, using products tested on animals (who are usually killed at the end of the tests), or engaging in any activity that results in killing animals not out of mercy but for selfish reasons.

PETA is proud to continue to stand tall and roll up its sleeves to help animals. 

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  • Thank you for trying to help them PETA these animals are in a better place and are free of pain keep fighting for animals

  • Ann Wilson says:

    I agree with putting animals to sleep when there is no hope for them in this world. In fact in the USA many states still allow the horrors of pound seizure to occur, many people are in the dark about what this term means. It means many animals that were once pets end up in pounds fior various reasons to be then sold off to laboratories for horrific experiments whose value for curing human disease is dubious. I would prefer everyone of those poor, unfortunate creatures to have been put to sleep by PETA before they end/ed up in the hands of vivisectors. Thank god for euthanasia, heaven sent for so many poor animals Sad but true.

  • Nadya says:

    We at the Animal Rights Watch of Russia are appealing to consider the case of the mass extermination of animals in the Sochi region where the Winter Olympic Games are to be held.

    The Olympic Games have always taken place in peace time and, in antiquity, all wars were suspended for the duration of the Games. In contrast with that tradition, the authorities in Sochi have declared war on dogs and cats in the city. The Sochi Olympic Games are going to be the second bloody Games in history, the first being the Moscow Games. Domestic and stray animals are being exterminated over large parts of the coast (more than 70 km). They are shot with poisoned darts, which results in paralysis leading to prolonged death from suffocation. These animals cannot be rescued.

    Local authorities have always carried out the mass extermination of animals prior to any big international events such as the Good Will Games in Kazan and the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, where the killing of animals is prohibited by law, but they still disappeared overnight. All similar events in Russia become excuses for the mass extermination of animals because the authorities do not want to solve such problems by the humane methods practised elsewhere in the world.

    Moreover, because homeless animals are being totally exterminated, the building of shelters is continually being postponed in Russian cities. There are no shelters even in Sochi, Russia’s second capital and second richest town, and the building of shelters is not planned for the near future, despite the fact that our leaders are aware of all these problems.

    After such events the practice of killing animals initiates a chain reaction. In poor provincial Russian towns, the local authorities mercilessly destroy animals following the example of such rich cities as Moscow, Sochi and Kazan. If Sochi is “successful”, there will be no animals left in Russian towns. The problem of animals in the Sochi region threatens to become a larger and more tragic catastrophe throughout the whole of Russia. The liquidation of homeless animals may become total.

    We implore all you sportsmen and participants in the Sochi Olympics to remember that your medals will be stained with the blood of these poor innocent animals, and we appeal to you to forward an ultimatum to the Russian Government to stop the extermination of animals. It is still not too late.

  • monika says:

    Animals deserve better. The onlylivi.g things on earth that love others more than tjere selfs

  • Sometimes ending the life of a sentient being is the best way to end suffering.

  • dogmama10 says:

    I defend PETA all the time when someone spews this statistic about them. Of course they have to euthanize, it’s not their fault and it’s not the animals’ fault. It’s the PEOPLE. Everyone wants a puppy or a kitten, and it has to be pure breed and they have to see the parents and it has to be “papered” so they completely ignore the shelters full of sweet amazing dogs and cats waiting for homes. It is depressing and disgusting, but it’s the cold hard truth. People are selfish and they get pissed at PETA for doing the dirty work. If I was a dog I would rather be killed humanely than sit in a shelter for years and years on cold concrete with the deafening barks of my fellow prisoners because no one wants me, going crazy from stress and boredom and lack of exercise.


    españolinglésfrancés In Peru we have a variety of animals, and many of these slaughterhouses, abound here, please contact me as I can with you to promote PETA PERÚ is very important!

  • MINIA REYES says:


  • Patricia GUIRAN says:

    j’ai été obligée d’euthanasier mon adorable chien, je l’aimais plus que tout au monde, je ne pouvais pas le laisser souffrir de la sorte. Il de notre devoir de soulager nos amis quand il le faut, comment peut-on laisser des animaux dans un tel état. Je vous soutiens et je le ferait autant de fois qu’il le faut. Sauvons les animaux, jusqu’à la fin de nos vies. Merci PETA POUR VOTRE ENGAGEMENT ENVERS LES ANIMAUX, MERCI D’EXISTER, MERCI POUR VOTRE COURAGE,JE SUIS DE TOUT COEUR AVEC VOUS

  • Tanya R says:

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. I never understood how we can do this to these creatures. Animals don’t have long lives like humans, and for the short amount of time they are here on this earth, their little lives are filled with torment and pain not knowing what they did that was SO WRONG that they deserved this. Why? because they nipped at your leg or peed on the floor? Maybe it was because they were hurting or have an infection, but that isn’t considered. Every being should have a long and happy life, and I know PETA would agree. I really hope there are such things as souls because they absolutely deserve to exist in eternity. I understand, PETA, and after losing my grandmother a few months ago, it hasn’t been an easy task of deciding when it’s time to say goodbye, and accepting that peace is coming for them.

  • vista anne grayson says:

    These photos of tortured and abused animals is proof that mental illness is present among us. It is so upsetting that I can hardly deal with it….but deal with it we must every chance we get. God help these poor animals who depend on us and love us.

  • CathyW says:

    Death is not the worse thing that can happen. Many things are far worse, living in pain, starvation, living in abuse. Save the animals that can be saved and release the ones that are past saving to die in a gentle and controlled way. If they can’t be helped, at least put them out of misery.

  • Patricia says:

    thank you for posting PETA’s “disclosure” on its euthanasia practices as many veternarian’s would do. It is unfortunate that when it comes to animal healthcare and abuse, there are limited resources to fund medical care and development new cures and treatments. Sometimes, the animal’s condition is not in appearance, but truly reaches a point of no return, and that is heartbreaking.

  • Bruna says:

    I wish I had more money to give for them, but I know every cent makes the diference

  • Live2LoveDMB says:

    Right on PeTA!! And answer me this all of you haters out there..why do they still allow breeding/breeders when all the while they’re spouting overpopulation?! Make up your minds!! Or is it that we have room for the purebreeds (or these days, the designer breeds) but not the mixed breeds, or mutts as some call them. People make me sick sometimes..probably a panel of pompous @$$wipes with matching Mercedes Benzs who would never dream of donating to a charity anyway, but saying those things makes them feel better; after all, an $80,000.00 car is more important than saving lives to people like that.

  • Mimi says:

    I know how hard it is, wanting to save all of them, take them home with you, finding homes, to see them ill, sick the images we see in your story today is heartbreaking. It seems to go on and on…What upsets me is you will always be the scapegoat for what society turns their back on. I help feed feral kitties in my neighborhood,no one else does. My mom had a handsome black kitty come to eat and was always sick especially in his eyes. We were able to catch him and take him to the vet. He was in miserable shape, deathly ill and the vet was amazed he wasn’t totally blind. We had him euthanized. So is the public going to criticize me for not doing more? Do you realize how many people turn their back towards animals in our neighborhood. The public feels you are cruel because you can’t work a miracle and find homes for all these millions of animals. And yet most of the public wants it to be everyone else’s problem not theirs. Quick to condemn PETA or people like me and refuse to take any of the blame regarding animals issues in our country…..

  • Doni Stith says:

    Please help to support the animals .

  • Sara Vokes says:

    Thank you. After reading the Huffpost article I was initially quite upset. However, I did some digging & I see the truth now. Thank you again.

  • Esme says:

    I completely support PETA and its position on euthanasia. It’s simplistic to say that euthanasia is wrong — reality is much more complicated than that. I had a sassy, beautiful white cat named Bubbles who became mysteriously ill. Imagine my horror when I discovered he had feline AIDS and a liver tumor. He deteriated rapidly. I had no choice but to humanely euthanize him. Bubbles and all other animals deserve a painless exit from their misery if they can’t be healed, and I’m grateful that PETA can provide that.

  • Leah 5 says:

    I wrote to PETA the last time this nonsense came up (couple of months ago), and received a great email back explaining all this in detail, as here. And now here it is again. So many people would rather animals remain alive, regardless of their condition – I’m sure they don’t have to deal with them, ever! Thank you PETA for all you have done and continue to do for animals.

  • Pascale says:

    I support PETA’s approach on euthanasia. I believe it’s part of the hard work and sometimes the best thing to do is to let go. I watched my father suffer and he wanted to die, he asked us to help him, but we could not do anything and it was heartbreaking. I would not be able to maintain an animal in unecessary suffering condition and I find it mindblowing to see how other organizations are accusing PETA of being the bad guys.

  • debra freese says:

    thank you peta for informing me about the truth.i read an artical that made me stop sending donations.but since you cleared this up i will start sending money again.some months i can,t since i,m on a fixed income.but i will help.

  • Donna Johnson says:

    I have stood by PETA for over 20 years and don’t plan on quitting now. I support everything you do on behalf of animal rights. Unfortunately, euthanasia (such as in the case of these horrifc pictures) is the highest level of mercy one can show. No creature should have to endure such pain and suffering. Thank you and God speed.

  • BrandyS says:

    Thank you, PETA, for never leaving an animal in need. Thank you for for doing what the society doesnt want to do, and thank you for never letting your opponents (animal abusers) put you down and for doing what you do.

  • Callie says:

    I love you PETA!!! 🙂 Thank you for clearing this up. I’m so sick of seeing that misleading Winograd article circulating. Thank you for never ever leaving an animal behind!!

  • Rachel Ann says:

    This is so sad. Thank you, PETA for doing what society doesn’t want to do. I’d imagine that it’s not like you take joy in this and I know that you are thinking of the animals best interests…

  • alyce says:

    I support PETA’s use of humane euthanasia. “No Kill” shelters may have good intentions but the reality is there are too many animals, sick, or healthy for for all to be adopted. A merciful death is not cruel. It’s the reality of not spaying and neutering your companion animals.

  • Dana says:

    Thank you for standing up and defending your organization. I’m so tired of the propaganda being spread by Berman and Nathan Winograd.

  • JL says:

    Thanks for setting the record straight.

  • Lucy simons says:

    I just want to say that I appreciate everything you do for animals in need, there are people who understand that you have the unfortunate job of having to deal with so many homeless animals which of course is due to lack of education about spaying and neutering, people keeping animals when they have no idea how to care for them or treat them ect, what do people expect you to do? In an ideal world we would love to be able to save every animal but its not the case and sadly these unwanted animals have to be euthanised (this breaks my heart but I understand the reasons) I wish I could do more to help, I try my best to sign petitions and donate to animal shelters as I’m sure many other people do but still we see thousands of beautiful animals being put to sleep each year because there is nowhere for them to go. Anyone who accuses PETA of any wrong doing needs to wake up and accept part of the blame because its human beings that are responsible for overbreeding and cruelty

  • Stuty says:

    I am proud of the work that PETA is doing. I have worked with few homeless animals and I know how it feels when no one is ready to take them in cause they are constantly “full”. I support your take on euthanasia. Suffering needs to stop, and that should be the goal even if at times it means taking the harder choice. Keep up the good work.

  • P Simpson says:

    Making the decision to put an animal down is the last caring action you can perform that that animal.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank you for clearing up a lot of stuff. I did not want to doubt this wonderful organization.

  • Patricia Mackie says:

    I commend you for doing what has to be done for these animals . I am sure your heart breaks everytime .