PETA: People For the Ethical Treatment of Themselves

Remember when PETA was just a weird fringe group?   They’re still a weird group, but thanks to the increasing popularity of the animal rights movement, PETA is now much more mainstream.  And they’re very wealthy.

So wealthy, in fact, that they’ve managed to not only thrive but expand during the recent economic troubles.  How have they done it?

According to Dwayne Horner of, PETA appears to be involved in a sort of legal “pay to play” fundraising scheme.  The partnership involves PETA encouraging their loyal members to purchase your goods, in exchange for a legal kickback.  But there’s more:

… interestingly, many of PETA’s “recommended products” also happen to directly compete with the companies they attack.

For example, PETA went after MasterCard for sponsoring the Ringling Bros Circus, and launched a “NastyCard” campaign.  PETA then entered into a deal with VISA to offer a PETA Platinum card.  And, of course, PETA received 1 percent of purchases made with a PETA branded VISA card.  That’s big money — all for doing essentially nothing.

PETA also went after IAMS dog food, launching an “IamsCruelty”  campaign.  This, despite the fact that IAMS has been recognized as a leader in animal welfare advocacy.  Interestingly, though, it turns out that PETA receives 8 percent of all proceeds from a partnership they have with a “holistic” pet food.

This might amount to nothing more than sneaky yet effective fundraising, except that PETA isn’t doing as much for animal rights as they’d like you to think.  From

PETA’s “Animal Record” report for 2008, filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shows that the animal rights group killed 95 percent of the dogs and cats in its care last year.  During all of 2008, PETA found adoptive homes for just seven pets.

PETA has a $32 million annual budget. But instead of investing in the lives of the thousands of flesh and blood creatures in its care, the group spends millions on media campaigns telling Americans that eating meat, drinking milk, fishing, hunting, wearing leather shoes, and benefiting from medical research performed on lab rats are all “unethical.”

The bottom line: PETA’s leaders care more about cutting into their advertising budget than finding homes for the nearly six pets they kill on average, every single day.

The Virginia Beach SPCA, just down the road from PETA’s Norfolk headquarters, manages to adopt out the vast majority of the animals in its care. And it does it on a shoestring budget.

If PETA isn’t busy saving animals, as they claim, what are they doing?

PETA’s recent semi-pornographic “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign is just one example of the ways in which the organization has degraded human life and encouraged – nay, demanded – the exploitation of women for its own profit.  A new PETA billboard compares a large bikini-clad woman to a beached whale; it certainly attracts attention, but at what cost?  PETA claims that their offensive marketing material and obscene demonstrations are the best way to deal effectively with the tragedy of animal abuse, but it appears their efforts have more to do with expanding their own empire than with helping the animal kingdom. ‘

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Rachel Motte

Rachel Motte is a freelance writer, journalist and editor specializing in social issues, educational affairs, and international religious freedom. Her work has appeared at, The Evangelical Outpost, The New Ledger, the Daily Caller, and in Jonah Goldberg’s recent anthology, Proud to Be Right. She is an alumna of Biola University, the Torrey Honors Institute, the Leadership Institute, and the World Journalism Institute. Rachel may be reached at rachel[at]rachelmotte[dot]com.

  • Godbot

    I support the ethical treatment of animals, not necessarily PETA, but neither this post or the report on gives an accurate assessment of the actual report issued by the VDACS. Par for the course on sites like TEO. Yes, PETA kills animals, but no where near the percentages of the total animals taken in – and later released, alive – suggested by Nor does the ethical treatment of animals necessarily preclude, yes, killing them. And criticism of the vast amounts of money taken in by PETA and any many other PACs is not necessarily an argument against what they supposedly stand for. Be sure to read the VDACSs report for yourself.