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.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an organization that publicly claims to represent the best interest of animals. Yet approximately 2,000 animals pass through PETA's front door every year and very few make it out alive.
Hundreds of thousands of pigeons are tossed into the air even when storms are predicted along their flight paths and racers know full well that they are sending lots of them to their deaths.
We must ask ourselves why we make arbitrary distinctions between the animals that allow some to end up in our homes and others to end up on our plates. If you wouldn't accept this treatment for an animal in front of you, why accept it for an animal behind closed doors?
Why did we set up a tableau that nearly caused London's taxi drivers to crash into each other on one of the city's busiest streets? Because Fortnum & Mason still has the indecency to sell foie gras, a "fancy foodstuff" that causes so much suffering that it is illegal to produce it in the U.K.
All of us in society are supposed to believe that cruelty to animals is wrong and that it is a good thing to prevent needless suffering. So if that is true, how can meat be acceptable under any but the most extraordinary circumstances, such as perhaps roasting the bird who died flying into a window?
Most of the criticism was entirely predictable. Rush Limbaugh had warmed up the conservative choir before the Super Bowl.
As with so many slick marketing campaigns, the American Kennel Club has glossed over the downside of purebred dogs, including the fact that they often suffer miserably from congenital defects and inherited diseases. Here is the info that you won't hear from the AKC about those top 10 breeds.
I was generous yesterday when I suggested that PETA's monstrous kill rate in 2012 was in fact, for them, an improvement.
One of the year's more depressing rituals is the annual release of PETA's kill statistics. The numbers -- just how many pets Ingrid Newkirk's organization has "euthanized" in the past year -- are never anything less than revolting. They are also never a surprise.
The NRA vigorously promotes hunting with all manner of weapons, from crossbows to rifles, which is why PETA parents and others are out protesting this week as the NRA mounts the bully pulpit to try to distance itself from a gun massacre that has shaken the country.
The good news is that I returned from Chiang Mai's "Tiger Kingdom" very much alive. The bad news? I found no evidence that definitively confirms or denies the farm's tigers are being sedated, propaganda publicity leaflets notwithstanding.
"Recognize these cynical marketing ploys for what they are -- nonsense."
"Surely if I buy organic, humanely raised or free-range, that's all good, isn't it?" Well, actually, no. You are just kidding yourself, and the animals you are trying not to hurt would tell you if they could that your valiant effort is not enough.
Here's my reasoning.
This week, two Houston residents were indicted by a federal grand jury for creating and distributing what are known as "crush" videos. This is the first time in U.S. history that a crush case has resulted in federal charges. And it's all thanks to a tip that PETA received from one concerned individual.