Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 6.7.07

OK, PETA, Let’s Dance
Taking on archaic ideas

PETA’s staff writer Lindsay Pillard-Post’s misguided opposition to the No Kill movement in the letter “No-Kill No Way To Go” May 10 recited the same old lines that all the backward-thinking, entrenched killers of adoptable animals use to defend themselves. It’s always warehousing animals and horror stories. Sometimes they use “There are not enough homes,”and “Death is not always the worst option.” True, but death sure is the most final. Ask the otherwise healthy, happy black Labrador retriever with kennel cough that was killed yesterday.

Let me say first that for the last 20 years I have been a staunch PETA supporter and animal rights activist. But I don’t support their ideas about killing adoptable animals for space and convenience. Almost everything I know about activism comes from PETA, and I intend to use that knowledge to fight their archaic ideas about killing adoptable animals.

PETA says it is a waste of money to build a no-kill shelter. We, the No-Kill Community, don’t want to build anything, just change the practices in our existing animal control. We aren’t asking for more money. Many of the programs we are suggesting only need dedicated volunteers to implement.

PETA says no-kill shelters close their doors when they are full. We don’t envision a shelter that closes its doors or gets full. When the shelter implements our suggested programs, the animals go through the system, quickly leaving room for the next animal.

PETA says no-kill shelters warehouse animals, and that they go crazy from being locked up. Our shelter will move animals through the system to the other end: off-site adoption centers, foster homes, rescue groups and permanent homes. The community will be involved and will make the difference. And if needed, many animals do fine short term in a confined situation if they get enough exercise and attention; otherwise boarding kennels would all be closed down.

PETA says you can’t really have a no-kill shelter; some animals will be killed. That’s true; we have always said so. No-kill means no killing of adoptable animals. Animals that are deemed unadoptable (the ones with a poor or grave prognosis regarding health and mental stability that can’t be cured or rehabilitated), sadly, will have to be killed mercifully. But so many have died because of something as simple as kennel cough or a bad tooth or being terrified. How cruel and inhumane is it to kill someone who is scared because you are too busy or too unconcerned to help?

PETA says the only answer is spay and neuter. We say there are many answers including spay and neuter, foster homes, rescue groups, marketing, education, media involvement, community involvement and most importantly a shelter staff and management that goes beyond the call of duty, never gives up on an animal and uses every possible tool and creative idea within their grasp to help save animal’s lives.

PETA, it’s time to stop chanting the “There aren’t enough homes for all of them” mantra. There are enough homes or people wouldn’t be making a living selling dogs and cats. We can find those homes.


As PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Each one values his or her life and fights the knife.” Yes, Ingrid, each does value his or her life and has the right to live it as much as a rescued cow or chicken. How can you have different standards for different animals? We don’t kill children because they are homeless. I doubt Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, would agree with you that killing adoptable animals is any different than slaughtering a pig for dinner.

PETA, you could be doing so much good on the right side of this issue instead of spending precious dollars and time fighting a paradigm change that is going to be the future whether you like it or not. Join us and monitor the new no-kill shelters like ours will be, making sure we are doing what we promised.

And for pete’s sake, go to and read what Nathan Winograd, the nationally recognized no-kill expert, has accomplished in the last 10 years, like save rates of 92 to 99 percent without closing the doors on the public. It’s not the no-kill of the past, it’s the future, and it’s coming at you like a freight train. It’s time to get on board!

Molly Sargent owns Embarkadero Compassionate Grooming in Pleasant Hill. She is a member of the No Kill Community Coalition and an appointee to the Lane County Commissioner’s Save Adoptable Animals Task Force. She has been an animal rights activist since 1985. She has worked as a veterinary assistant, managed an emergency veterinary hospital, fostered, rescued and has worked and volunteered to help animals for the past 42 years.