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PETA's Killing Machine Loses in Landslide 95-2 Vote in Virginia

02/23/2015 01:56 pm ET | Updated Apr 25, 2015

The bill to rein in PETA's killing at their headquarters in Virginia passed the House of Delegates in a landslide 95-2 vote. Shelters will now be required by definition to make efforts to adopt out animals, instead of summarily killing them.

The bill does this by redefining the word "shelter." (Or, more accurately, requiring shelters to adhere to its genuine definition.) As passed by the Virginia Senate, SB1381 reads:

"Private animal shelter" means a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned or operated by an incorporated, nonprofit, and nongovernmental entity, including a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other similar organization.

PETA being PETA, they managed to sneak in a last-minute floor amendment, striking the words "and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes" from the bill. So they won't have to bend over backwards to actually cure desperately sick animals. (I imagine we'll hear arguments that their lobbying money was well-spent? That's for donors to decide.)

Meanwhile, I've spoken to a number of advocates on the ground in Virginia, and they remain ecstatic: the Death Amendment doesn't actually gut the legislation in any meaningful way. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, "said the amendment does not change the essence of the bill."

This is a truly thrilling accomplishment. It's been a long hard road: advocates for living animals have spent a lot of time; and PETA has spent a lot of money. And, after numerous votes in the Senate and the House, we've arrived at a position of decency and sanity: a shelter in Virginia is now an actual shelter, as opposed to a cynical "shelter of last resort."