Animal rights group PETA is facing criticism after a report that nearly 90 percent of animals placed in its care last year were euthanized.
In 2012, PETA euthanized 1,647 cats and dogs while placing only 19 in new homes, according to data submitted to the Virginia Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Daily Mail
reported. In 2011, PETA reported it euthanized 1,965 of 2,050 animals in its care, a 95 percent kill rate.
Formally known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, it's one of the nation's most visible animal rights organizations because of campaigns bordering on the outrageous, such as the "I'd rather go naked" anti-fur effort featuring nude models and celebrities.
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Justin Wilson of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a restaurant advocacy coalition whose members often are at odds with anti-meat-eating PETA, called the stats "beyond hypocritical."
"The animal rights group is talking out of both sides of its mouth – on one side preaching its animal liberation agenda, while on the other signing the death warrant of over 89 percent of pets in its care. It’s beyond hypocritical," he said.
"It seems PETA is more dedicated to publicity stunts than to keeping the animals in its own care alive. It’s the height of hypocrisy for PETA to demonstrate for the 'rights' of rats and pigs, while killing tens of thousands of pets. It’s time that the Commonwealth of Virginia finally reclassifies PETA’s pet shelter for what it is – a slaughterhouse."
Responding to the attack, a PETA spokeswoman told MailOnline that the organization had no choice but to euthanize the animals.
"We have a small division that does hands-on work with animals, and most of the animals we take in are society's rejects; aggressive, on death's door, or somehow unadoptable," she said. "CCF's goal is to damage PETA by misrepresenting the situation and the number of unwanted and suffering animals PETA euthanizes because of injury, illness, age, aggression, and other problems, because their guardians requested it, or because no good homes exist for them."
A later statement added: "PETA refers adoptable animals to the high-traffic open-admission shelters where they have the best chance of being seen and finding a new home."
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Pet overpopulation remains a major problem in the United States, with an estimated three to four million shelter animals being euthanized each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Approximately 50 percent of the estimated six to eight million animals abandoned to or rescued by shelters are euthanized, it reported, noting that irresponsible breeding practices are largely to blame for the nation's pet overpopulation problem.
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