That's about all I can say.
Before I unleash this letter on you, let me make a few caveats.
First, I'm not anti-PETA. I actually like PETA. Like I stated in my most recent column, I'm an animal lover. But in that column, I took PETA to task for its objections to a Florida vet for naming his pig Chris P. Bacon. I also included them in my comments regarding Mankatoan Gunnar Boettcher and the diseased rabbit in his back yard that has brought him international fame, but neglected to say how PETA figured into that. They didn't, really, other than the fact that Gunnar said he'd gotten a call from PETA. I never verified that, so I shouldn't have suggested PETA was behind any of the outrage. Finally, as far as the third incident goes, the research I did (and I'll admit it wasn't exhaustive) didn't unearth the fact that PETA had issued a statement on this that I actually agree with.
So, without further adieu, I give you an email sent to me from Jordan Uhl from PETA who seems like a swell fellow. Mr. Uhl provides PETA's side of the argument which, as a journalist, I'm more than happy to pass along to you for balance.
Mr. Murray,Greetings from PETA! We saw your column, and we're sorry that you didn't contact us so we could reassure you on some points before you wrote it. If you had, we could have pointed out that we had little—if anything at all—to do with the three incidents you gave us credit (and criticized us) for!
We had absolutely nothing to do with Exhibit B, the wild rabbit incident you mentioned. And we are not ones to "whine"—for Exhibit A, we simply and politely (and privately, mind you) asked for Len Lucero to consider a name for the pig that wasn't so insensitive and better represented that pigs are living beings capable of feelings. As for the directive that we should "go tend to the actual animal abuse issues taking place"—we're all over it! Had you contacted us, we would have loved to share how PETA operates three free and low-cost mobile clinics, which have spayed or neutered nearly 94,000 dogs and cats in the past decade in order to stop animal homelessness at its roots. PETA has a team devoted to helping animals in impoverished areas of North Carolina and Virginia, where we deliver doghouses, food, and medicine and also pay for veterinary care for animals who might otherwise be left to suffer. PETA has continued to fight against cruel animal exhibitors, and recently, through an undercover investigation, we exposed a slaughterhouse for cruel treatment of pigs. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. So don't worry—we're still pretty busy with all of that!
Exhibit C had us as puzzled as Exhibit B. You call for increased training for police officers so that they're better equipped to handle such incidents—we wholeheartedly agree. In fact, we issued the following statement to a reporter who called us on July 2:Every year, PETA receives dozens of reports of police who have gunned down dogs. An officer who shoots a dog who poses no real threat should be charged with cruelty to animals, just as any citizen would be, and subject to an internal review and dismissal. In cases involving seemingly dangerous dogs, officers sometimes resort too quickly to deadly force. PETA has long recommended nonlethal control methods, such as air horns or pepper spray, before guns are drawn. However, in this tragic case, the dog would still be alive had the owner better secured him, because when a dog that size resists deflection and lunges in defense of his or her guardian, deadly force can come into play. We urge this and all police departments to conduct an examination of procedures so that no undue force is ever used in incidents of perceived or real dog attacks.
Sure, PETA knows how to get people's attention, but we take our work very seriously, and animals are always our top priority. Might you consider altering your column to reflect that PETA wasn't responsible for most of what angered you and also keep us in mind for verification the next time that you hear something about us through the grapevine? We'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at 202-540-2199 or MediaInfo@peta.org anytime.
Best regards,Jordan UhlMedia Liaison______________________________________Jordan UhlMedia Liaison
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
1536 16th St. NW Washington, DC 20036
Ph: 202-540-2196; After Hours: 202-540-2199
F: firstname.lastname@example.orgPLEASE INCLUDE ALL PRIOR CORRESPONDENCES WHEN REPLYING