Before I get into this, I have to speak my mind about a few things. I'm all for animal welfare. I am also opposed to real animal abuse (dogfighting, poaching, pet neglect, etc.) and support efforts to expose and eliminate such abuses. However, I am against the use of extreme measures to achieve such ends. Case in point: PETA.
Now I could go on and on about PETA's connections to eco-terrorist groups like the ALF and ELF, the fact that they put down most of the animals they take in (97% in 2009!), and their desire to eliminate all human usage of animals, from meat to seeing-eye dogs, but I'll let their stunts speak for themselves. Some of these are so over the top, they have to be seen to be believed:
7 Controversial PETA stunts (warning: nudity is mentioned, but not shown).
5 More Crazy PETA Stunts.
Even More Crazy PETA Stunts.
These articles didn't even mention PETA's claim that beer was better for kids than milk, or (the argument that really turned me off animal-rights groups) the "Holocaust on your Plate" campaign, which equated poultry raising to Hitler's slaughter of Jews. And when you invoke
Godwin's Law in such a patently ridiculous way, you deserve to be vilified or, at the least, ignored.
And it turns out that PETA's animal-rights agenda might not be so green after all. For example, a Finnish study has shown that if everyone in the world were to become a vegan overnight, it would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7%. A full 7%! I'd stick to supporting nuclear power and the Toyota Prius myself.
And what to do with all those "liberated" animals? We can't just send them into the wild; those that weren't eaten by predators would multiply and wreak havoc with the local ecosystem. We'd either have to euthanize them all (which would be expensive), or have one last big barbecue before going vegan (which the folks at PETA would object to).
Speaking of ecosystems, PETA's not much into hunting, either. This is unfortunate, since carefully controlled hunting helps keep the populations of deer, rabbits, geese, and the like down - animals that would overpopulate and devastate wild areas were they not hunted. Since we've greatly reduced the numbers of many large predators, we must carry the torch for them.
If you really want to help animals, I suggest you donate some time or money to your local animal shelter, SPCA, or Humane Society. (Note: Do NOT support the Humane Society of the United States; they are an animal rights group misusing the Humane Society's good name. Less than one-half of 1% of their funds actually go to help actual animal shelters.) Who knows, you just might end up adopting a cute little bundle of fluffy happiness yourself!