- - Monday, January 5, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Pity the noble dog. With friends like the fanatics at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals pretending to be its best friends, the noble dog needs no enemies. PETA is the great pretender in the animal world.

Despite its tiresome grandstanding and moralizing, PETA does little to actually help animals. The group kills about 2,000 dogs and cats a year — frequently euthanizing 90 percent of the animals in its care — even though many of those animals are fit for adoption. Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder and top dog at PETA, insists the killings are necessary to help the animals “escape an uncaring world.” It may be true that all dogs go to heaven, even if cats don’t, but Ms. Newkirk appears unaware that few creatures on Earth are cared for with the affection of many pets in loving homes. Uncaring world, indeed.

Nathan J. Winograd, the director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center, calls PETA a “cult” and “little more than a slaughterhouse.” Harsh words, but a lot of dogs and cats that are no longer with us, except in loving memory, would no doubt agree.

Ms. Newkirk and her minions are too busy with a political agenda to care for the animals they profess to love. Conservative politicians are the primary targets, and Sarah Palin and her son Trig are the latest targets of opportunity. Mrs. Palin’s cheerful Christmas greetings stirred PETA to battle stations. It calls Mrs. Palin a “hard-hearted bizarrely callous woman.”

PETA was outraged that Mrs. Palin posted three photographs on her Facebook page of her 6-year-old son Trig using the family’s black lab, Jill Hadassah, as a stepstool to reach the kitchen sink. The dog was trained by an Iowa organization to be a companion pet for Trig, who has Down syndrome. The dog, obviously devoted to Trig and the Palin family, did not seem to mind the usual roughhousing with a little boy.

Mrs. Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008, wrote a note accompanying her Jan. 1 Facebook post: “May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward. Trig just reminded me. He, determined to help wash dishes with an oblivious mama not acknowledging his signs for ‘up!,’ found me and a lazy dog blocking his way. He made the dog his stepping stone.”

“It’s odd,” PETA said, “that anyone — let alone a mother — would find it appropriate to post such a thing, with no apparent sympathy for the dog in the photo.”

The folks at PETA, determined never to be hobbled by a consistent mind, awarded its “Woman of the Year” prize to Ellen DeGeneres, the actress who posted a similar photograph in July of a child standing on a dog to reach a sink.

We don’t recommend that anyone use a dog for a foot stool, and Ms. DeGeneres’ photograph is, to be fair, of a younger, lighter child standing on the back of a larger dog. Still, it’s passing strange that PETA, moving on catlike tread, scolds Sarah Palin and applauds Ellen DeGeneres for similar “offenses.”

Or maybe not so strange. PETA attempts to vilify anyone in opposition to its extremist goals. PETA wants to abolish zoos, circuses and aquariums; ban hunting and fishing; prevent the wearing of fur and leather; eliminate meats, dairy products, eggs and even honey from the American diet and, finally, outlaw the family pet (and then only outlaws could have a dog). Clearly, a well-known, meat-eating, moose-hunting, leather-wearing, zoo-visiting, dog-owning conservative is just the person PETA despises most.

PETA appears incapable of promoting reasonable policies to actually benefit animals, and is unwilling to stop its mass murders of dogs and cats. Dogs and cats deserve better than PETA.

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