Exclusive for zoos.media – 10.03.2019. Author: Philipp J. Kroiß
A whistleblower provides insight into the inner workings of the radical animal rights organisation PETA and how staff are indoctrinated and kept in line.
PETA: “Euthanasia is the happy ending for many animals”
That PETA lies about the killing of their own animals, can not only seen on the radical animal rights organisations website, which was especially created for this purpose. PETA doesn’t differentiate between a medically induced death, for the purpose of sparing animals unnecessary suffering, and a not medically necessary death – for them, both are euthanasia. This is a perversion of the concept, it sells each killing as a charitable gesture, which at PETA, in alarmingly many cases it is not.
The killing of an animal without cause is a crime in Germany. Shelters cannot administer lethal injections just because they have run out of space or don’t feel like transmitting the animal. This is different in the USA, where precisely that is legal, and PETA takes advantage of it. Maya is probably the best-known case: A healthy animal is stolen from its owners and killed within a few hours. The sweet chihuahua would have been perfectly adoptable, but for PETA’s ideology it was a “Happy End”. They later claimed it was a single mistake, but, the same day many animals died in a similar way. So yet another brazen claim falls apart.
Employees help to carry the killing policy
How can somebody work for an organisation that kills animals? How does an animal lover justify this – what about before themselves? How can anybody promote it? Outsiders can get an first impression from the mentioned site, but internally it is much stronger, as an ex-PETA-employee reports:
“At PETA, we were told that euthanasia is often our best. Euthanasia is the happy ending for many animals. Humans created the problem, and PETA is cleaning up their messes. […] But PETA went one step further. It made sure that employees not only understood this concept, but that it was also embedded into our operating principles. All employees are carefully groomed through issues training (a senior employee dictating PETA’s stances on animal issues to room full of wide-eyed new hires) and videos to ensure they have fully adopted the “us versus them” mentality: people who support every single euthanasia decision the organization makes at all times, versus everyone else. […] So if an employee, like many animal rights advocates who believe in the rights and autonomy of each individual animal, wanted to critically assess whether a euthanasia decision was truly the best thing for an individual animal in his or her unique circumstances, there was a real, true fear of being branded as an advocate for hoarding or a secret supporter of the enemy. Thus, speaking up could have meant being booted from the tribe. And as most new PETA employees are blooming animal rights activists, freshly plucked from college and determined to do whatever it takes to succeed in this demanding, low-paying activist world, PETA’s methodology of indoctrination is quite successful.” – Laura Lee Cascada
Indoctrination seems to be the answer. Just like in a cult, the young, inexperienced and subordinated activists are practically implanted with a dramatically false definition of euthanasia, and the systematic killing of the large majority of animals after only 24 hours, is sold to them as something good. It took Laura Lee Cascada several years to recover from this indoctrination, and reading the whole article, you can see the process is not yet fully completed, but she brought up the admirable strength to raise her voice against these practices. She posted about them on Facebook and wrote an article.
Dropouts’ lives are made hard
PETA staff promptly answered the accusations with anecdotes from their daily working life, which should show how nice working for the radical activists is.
“But anecdotes do not discredit others’ experiences. And the dozens of people I have spoke with over the years quietly holding onto experiences similar to my own shouldn’t be invalidated by happy anecdotes of employees who haven’t yet had their own moments of stepping out of line with the status quo. The organization sometimes asks its employees to flood various websites with pro-PETA comments, like leaving positive reviews on employment websites. To create and maintain a flawless public image. This drowning out of voices contrary to the central leaders’, ironically only provides further evidence of the cult culture at play.” – Laura Lee Cascada
She had written an article for the Dodo, where PETA’s mass killings were legitimised, and seems to also attribute them the cult culture and indoctrination. The article probably also marked a turning point, making her a critic – a constructive critic, wanting to improve the organisation she loved. This reaction can either be viewed as Stockholm syndrome, or as a serious attempt to better things, together with the illusion of being able to.
“So it is time to finally put an end to my silence. To stop feeling ashamed that I have real, true emotions regarding the euthanasia incidents I contributed to or facilitated. Because death is death — it is serious, raw, and disturbing. And no human being should be silenced in their experience of processing death.” – Laura Lee Cascada
She reports about a bird couple. One was put to sleep because of his alleged weakening medical condition, the partner was also killed, as they thought she might feel lonely. A rescued dog showed no medical indication, but was killed never the less – without explanations and although someone who would have adopted it had been found. Eventually she left the organisation because she could not impede cases like these. It was not as if she didn’t try, but it was simply not welcome, PETA was scared and had lost its essence, to protect the rights of living beings. She had become worthless for the organisation since she could no longer declare her consent to the killings and advertising strategies, as fortunately her conscience had not been completely reprogrammed through the indoctrination.
After the Facebook post, many fellow sufferers contacted her. They spoke about the killings they had partaken in and yet others reported, that they had been fired for not doing so. People, who would not help to carry the killing policy, would be called “weak” and whoever asked questions, would be referred to officials, they counted on the fact that they would then be too intimidated to keep asking questions, she quotes a co-worker. Another one wrote, that you were either a “clone” of the PETA “gods” or a fiend, combed out. In addition, staff would spy and tell on one another and that those who did not stand in line were fired, as PETA holds the belief that everyone is replaceable.
Laura Lee Cascada writes, that she now has to fear to be ostracised by her community, but that she must raise her voice. In an update she relates that she has again been contacted by people.
“People who worked at PETA and were forced to lie about euthanasias, people who were forced to euthanize animals they loved as a condition of their employment, and people who were told by leadership that they were worthless. There are dozens, and maybe hundreds, of us. Most are still afraid to break their silence. […] As expected, I have also been contacted by current employees attempting to stifle me, claiming that I am harming the animals. Perhaps ironically, a major branding campaign of PETA’s several years ago was “Never be silent.””
The whistleblower has uncovered something crucial: PETA’s killing machinery is possible, besides through donations from the misinformed public, also through the massive indoctrination of employees and the hereby created atmosphere of fear. She herself describes this as the methods of a cult. In the literature this concept is diversely described. It certainly is a strong word and everyone is free to decide whether they would apply it in this case or not, because no matter how we call it, one thing is for sure, that the style of leadership is very questionable. PETA fights for upholding the illusion that they only want the best for animals.
Furthermore, it should be noted that these revelations coincide with those of another whistleblower:
For organisations similar to PETA, but which do not quite have the same ideology and never will have, its interesting to know, that PETA views them as enemies all the same and ultimately, like useful idiots, takes advantage of them. Hopefully this will also be food for thought to those who give up their integrity and want to benefit from PETA themselves. It is not going to work this way – the revelations further show it. The “we against the world” attitude, shows how deeply rooted a culture of hatred is in the animal rights organisation, that even gives its support to eco-terrorists.
These people, that see killing as a Happy End for animals, are radical. Not even euthanasia is a Happy End – not in a single case. Sometimes however, euthanasia is the only way to spare an animal unnecessary suffering. Then it is the right choice, but never happy, never pleasant and never pretty. Not in a singe medical record is euthanasia a Happy End – to claim the contrary is sick. Euthanasia is always a Sad End – for people who love animals, it is not an easy decision to make, and after it is done they rarely don’t have tears in their eyes. In modern zoos and aquariums, keepers, vets and other staff, mourn the loss of beloved animals and there is no one, who gladly makes that choice, no one who is pleased about it or calls it a Happy End.
This quote, based on turning the whistleblower’s indirect speech into a direct statement, the existence of which she proves, shows all that is wrong at PETA, and we should never forget one of Ingrid Newkirk’s quotes: “We do not advocate ‘right to life’ for animals”. When interpreting and placing this quote we should have in mind a central phrase: “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They are all animals”. An ideology like this is supposed to be charitable? Certainly not, it is disdaining for animals and for humans.