PETA Takes Heat over Claims it Killed 90% of Animals Dropped off at Virginia Shelter

Critics are slamming the organization for hypocrisy after a Virginia state report indicated a high rate of euthanasia at their shelter.

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Pamela Anderson with her dogs at at PETA event in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 2, 2010. The actress has been a long-time supporter of the animal rights organization.

Correction appended June 18, 2014.

Could it be possible that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) isn’t as animal-friendly as it claims?  The organization reportedly had to destroy almost 90% of all the animals dropped off at its headquarters in Norfolk, Va., in 2012, according to the Daily Mail.

Critics are slamming PETA for hypocrisy, dubbing the shelter a “slaughterhouse,” the website LiveScience reported.

According to published records from the Virginia Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services,the organization euthanized 1,675 of the 1,877 animals in its care in 2012, including 602 dogs and 1,045 cats.  In the last 11 years, PETA has euthanized 29,426 dogs, cats, rabbits and other domestic animals, the Huffington Post pointed out.

“It seems PETA is more dedicated to publicity stunts than to keeping the animals in its own care alive,” Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), told the Daily Mail.

(MORE: PETA Wants Queen Elizabeth to Cut Ties with Pigeon Racing)

The CCF, which appears to be leading the charge on Shelter-gate, gets its support from restaurants and food companies and has butted heads with PETA before, LiveScience noted. And PETA spokeswoman Jane Dollinger said in a statement that the allegations are financially motivated, calling CCF an industry group whose “goal is to damage PETA by misrepresenting the situation,” according to LiveScience. The group maintains that while many animals did have to be euthanized, the 90% figure was higher than PETA’s internal numbers.

PETA told the Daily Mail that the animals they take in at the center are usually difficult to find homes for and would presumably end up being euthanized anyway: “Most of the animals we take in are society’s rejects: aggressive, on death’s door or somehow unadoptable,” Dollinger noted.

Each year, between 3 million and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the U.S. That number is significantly lower than the 12 million to 20 million pets euthanized in American shelters during the 1970s, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

MORE: Why PETA Is Meat’s Best Friend

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the full name of PETA. It is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.