Category Archive: Big Fat Lies

  1. PETA Exploits Coronavirus

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    In the age of social media, the danger posed by the Coronavirus is multiplied as disinformation, often posing as expert knowledge, is shared and believed without a second thought. Case in point: This recent tweet from PETA:

    This is the latest instance of PETA attempting to connect a catastrophe to eating habits. It’s not just PETA either; several websites and celebrities, including disgraced music mogul Russel Simmons, have echoed the same sentiment. The rumor-mongering even caused the fact-checker PolitiFact to weigh in.

    PETA claims that the Coronavirus wouldn’t exist if everyone was vegan. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease (zoonoses); meaning it’s caused by germs spread between animals and humans. You can catch zoonoses by touching live animals, being in an animal’s habitat, bug bites, and a few other ways. This disease and many others would exist if everyone was vegan.

    Historically, zoonoses haven’t come from eating meat. Ebola most likely spawned from patient zero, a two-year-old, putting an object in her mouth that was contaminated with bat droppings. MERS was spread via live contact with camels. In the case of Covid-19, it is believed that interactions with an animal at a “wet” market in China caused the outbreak. “Wet” markets are marketplaces in Asia where live fish, meat, and produce are sold. No scientist has concluded the Coronavirus sprouted from anyone actually eating meat–after all, pathogens in meat are killed during the proper cooking process. (That said, it’s fair to wonder about animal handling and other regulations at Chinese live markets.)

    Unfortunately, the animal rights activists’ disinformation doesn’t stop there. Recently, in a PETA tirade about the use of animal models in the development of medicine. The organization touted how one of several organizations developing a Coronavirus vaccine didn’t use clinical trials that involve animals. But the animal rights group failed to mention a few important details.

    Moderna, the lab developing the vaccine, has previously used animal models to develop similar mRNA vaccines in the past. Additionally, Moderna is still conducting animal trials in tandem with human ones. Many in the scientific community find it important to use lab animals to avoid disease enhancement, a situation in which you are more severely affected by a virus if you have received a vaccine for it.  According to one expert we spoke with, “From a safety perspective [not using animal trials] could hurt people. From an efficacy perspective, it could not fully wipe out the virus and leave the patient even more vulnerable than before with re-occurrence.”

    When it comes to a situation as serious as the Coronavirus pandemic it is best to trust actual doctors, not vegan extremists who opportunistically spin current events to push their ideology.

  2. FACT CHECK: PETA Claims to “Never” Kill Healthy Animals

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    PETA president Ingrid Newkirk’s memory must be fading, because she tried to assert that PETA’s shelter isn’t just a kill mill.

    In an L.A. Times interview recognizing Newkirk on her 70th birthday, Newkirk called PETA’s animal shelter a “shelter of last resort.” Specifically, she claimed the following: “We never euthanize a healthy place-able animal, ever.”

    True? No.

    PETA has killed about 40,000 animals at its headquarters since 1998, according to official government records. PETA is so notorious for killing animals that the Virginia legislature felt compelled to pass a law in 2015 declaring the primary purpose of an animal shelter as a place that seeks permanent homes for the animals it takes in. The law also set a shelter kill rate cap of 70%, around 15% less than PETA’s average kill rate, according to our calculations.

    In 2017, PETA faced a lawsuit for stealing a family dog named Maya and euthanizing the pup that same day. The lawsuit was later settled for almost $50,000. PETA also faced a fine for not waiting the 5-day grace period required by state law.

    A former employee of PETA was disgusted with the organization enough to writing a nearly 3,750 word exposé of the organization including a story of a rescued pit bull with “no immediate indication for euthanasia.” The former employee’s mother was interested in adopting the dog, but PETA had got to the poor pup first, just a few short days after rescue.

    According to a sworn affidavit by former PETA employee Heather Harper-Troje, even in 1999, Newkirk felt that “there wasn’t any point in trying to adopt out an animal.” Harper-Troje also claims that they killed animals “off the books” and in transport vans before they even got to the shelter.

    PETA kills pets. Even healthy ones.

  3. Lawsuit Reveals Backdoor Channel Between PETA and HSUS

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    Kitty Block and PETA are like a dog and its bone—inseparable.

    Recently, a company called Paws for Effect, which trains animals that are used in films, filed a defamation lawsuit against PETA. According to the suit, longtime PETA exec Lisa Lange defamed the company by reaching out to a Sony executive (and perhaps others in Hollywood) falsely claiming that Paws for Effect had violations under the Animal Welfare Act. It does not.

    You may remember Lange—she was the deer-in-the-headlights PETA rep who took the brunt of Daily Show segment a few years ago after PETA sued to free Orcas from SeaWorld under the U.S. Constitution’s anti-slavery clause.

    Back to the lawsuit. One little tidbit was interesting: The complaint reveals Lange contacted HSUS CEO Kitty Block in January about Paws for Effect.

    Kitty Block—and HSUS as a whole—has tried very hard to maintain public separation from PETA. After all, unlike HSUS, PETA is very honest about its agenda to shut down zoos and aquariums and ban meat. HSUS can’t be associated with that radicalism publicly.

    But it certainly reads as if she may be a pen pal of PETA—which would make sense, since Block worked at PETA before joining HSUS. A number of HSUS staffers are ex-PETA employees (as well as smaller group that share PETA’s agenda). And as we reported last week, PETA gave $65,000 to an HSUS group in 2017, according to tax records.

    PETA’s accusations against Paws for Effect may be fiction, but undeniable links between the two organizations are fact.

  4. PETA Blames the Victim

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    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sure has a weird way of showing what it’s all about. In a recent lawsuit against the organization, PETA is accused of stealing and murdering a Hispanic family’s beloved dog named Maya in southeastern Virginia.

    PETA’s response has hit a new low in hypocrisy and stupidity. It has filed several motions to dismiss the case on the grounds that the dog was legally worthless and that what they did was not “outrageous” conduct. This from the group that tried to make the case that killer whales housed at SeaWorld should legally be considered slaves and released because of the 13th amendment.

    PETA has even stooped as low as blaming the family for the death of their murdered dog. PETA has suggested that the family was “negligent” because “they did not keep the subject dog restrained and did not keep proper identification or marking of ownership which resulted in the dog being removed at the time.” (The dog was sitting on the owner’s front porch when it was stolen by PETA.)

    That’s like saying the burglary victim asked for it by leaving his back door unlocked. And the gross euphemism of “removed” highlights the contempt with which PETA has for people’s pets like the deceased Maya.

    Surveillance video of the theft shows that it was quite obvious that Maya was obviously not a stray dog. The footage shows a dog sitting on her porch, timid of the intruders, and only willing to leave the porch briefly because of the coaxing of the two defendants in this case throwing a biscuit to her. But like most dogs belonging to a family, Maya returned – to dismay of the defendants – to the safety of her porch.

    Unfortunately for Maya this did not stop the defendants from trespassing illegally onto the property and ripping her from her home.

    Maya was killed that very same day.

    Don’t mistake this tragedy as an isolated incident, PETA routinely engages in the activity of killing domesticated animals like Maya every year. PETA’s body count exceeds 30,000 animals and its sympathy seems nonexistent.

    Justice may be served in the end for the family of young Maya, but that will do little to rid them of the grief of a family and their young child losing their loyal furry companion.

  5. PETA Exploits the Pope to Peddle a Vegan Diet

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    Holy CowsYears ago, we published a report, Holy Cows, on the willingness of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to manipulate religious teachings to peddle its radical animal liberation agenda. Nothing has changed. Just this week, Sarah Withrow King—the director of PETA’s self-serving religious affiliate, Jesus People for Animals—penned an opinion piece that managed to somehow find a way to use the Pope as a vegan archetype.

    The article, entitled “Go on vegan diet for Pope Francis,” claims that Pope Francis’ recent emphasis on environmental stewardship amounts to a papal endorsement of veganism. According to PETA, we should “honor Pope Francis’ dedication to the environment by choosing a healthy and humane vegan diet.”

    But sources suggest that the real way to the Pontiff’s heart is meat—and lots of it. A review of the Vatican cookbook, a collection of Pope Francis’ favorite recipes published last year, summarizes his appetites: “Pope Francis eats like a fairly typical Argentinian: He loves a good steak, empanadas and dulce de leche.” (Argentines eat more beef per person than any other nation, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.)

    In other words, dieting like the Pope means dairy and meat—not bovine liberation and lima beans.

    This isn’t the first time PETA has distorted, and then exploited, the words of Pope Francis. Less than a month ago, PETA and its animal liberationist comrades jumped all over media reports of Pope Francis hinting that animals might go to heaven.

    Animal lovers were delighted by the news, which validated hopes that their furry family members would join them in the afterlife.

    But vegan radicals like PETA and HSUS were thrilled for a different reason. Both groups seized the news stories—which, incidentally, proved completely false—as opportunities to insert animal rights ideology into theology.

    PETA’s eagerness to capitalize on the cultural reverence invoked by the Pope is despicable, and just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, PETA seems to only worship at the altars of hypocrisy and greed.

  6. Manure Hits the Fan with PETA Video

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    PKA syringe pic

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is claiming that cows on a North Carolina dairy farm are being mistreated, and the group has released footage of the animals slogging through knee-deep manure to prove it. One problem: The so-called undercover footage stinks of PETA misinformation. So strap on your muck boots, because we’re about to wade through the filth of PETA’s latest complaint.

    According to PETA, the dairy cows are forced to eat, walk, and sleep in a pool of thick manure. But as another dairy farmer’s analysis notes, the cows in the video are suspiciously clean: Their stomachs, tails and backs are relatively unsoiled. A cow living in PETA’s purported conditions would be submerged in feces every time it laid down to rest, which would cover its hips and underside. And cows use their tails to swat flies—tails that would be soaked with manure were PETA’s story accurate. That doesn’t seem to align with the clean cows in PETA’s “eyewitness” film.

    Inspectors from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture inspected the dairy after PETA’s video dropped. They found no evidence to support PETA’s claims that the cows were being mistreated. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), however, has ordered to farm to clean up—but let’s put that in context: Local officials pointed to temporary house-cleaning issues that had been aggravated by bad weather.

    While the dairy farm certainly needs to clean up, it doesn’t appear to be the site of prolonged or deliberate animal abuse. The Mountaineer notes:

    PETA claimed the cattle were emaciated and forced to remain in a several-inch deep pool of their own waste. However, the Haywood County Animal Control department found that cattle were pastured in a clean area next to the barn and a pasture across the road when they weren’t being milked. There was no evidence the cattle were either emaciated or in poor health, said animal control officer Jean Hazzard, a county official who has come down hard on those who abuse animals in the past.

    In an email Hazzard wrote, “I have responded to the dairy and met with the owner and reviewed the alleged deplorable confinement and living conditions, which were unfounded.”

    The paper concludes that “PETA resorted to false and exaggerated claims to make their point. In doing so, the organization has caused unwarranted damage to innocent parties and has undermined consumer confidence in our food supply without justification.” It’s hard to see how one could determine otherwise once all the facts are considered. (Just don’t count on PETA to deliver the full story. We can’t find anything about the Haywood County Animal Control’s findings on PETA’s site.)

    PETA apparently got something else wrong, too: Harris Teeter, the company PETA said was supplied by the purported “dairy factory,” says that it does not receive products from the dairy. Harris Teeter is demanding the animal liberation group retract that claim. (The dairy also only has 30 cows—hardly a “factory.”)

    PETA’s faux pas is nothing new for the animal rights movement. Remember when animal activists dragged the Ringling Bros. circus through court for a decade under allegations that the circus abuses elephants? Not only was their case thrown out, but the presiding judge found animal rights activists had covertly paid the key witness nearly $200,000—a witness who lied under oath. Ringling countersued under anti-racketeering statutes, and animal liberation activists led by the Humane Society of the United States paid almost $16 million in May to settle this bribery and fraud lawsuit.

    Looks like PETA is just the latest animal rights group to step in it.

  7. This Week in Food Freedom: PETA Jumps the Sea Kitten, Good News in California, and More

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  8. A Vegan Manifesto Wearing a Weight-Loss Halo

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    Neal Barnard, president of the deceptively named “Physicians Committee” for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), is hitting the road this month on a book tour to promote his 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart program. The casual observer might think this is yet another hardcover to fill up the self-help section. But if you know a thing or two about PCRM (or weight loss, for that matter), you’ll quickly realize that – much like Barnard’s group – this book is not what it seems.

    To begin by judging the book by its orange cover, the program purports to “boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, and dramatically improve your health.” It does not mention that to achieve such lofty health goals, Barnard’s program mandates giving up milk, eggs, salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, pork, and dozens of other low-calorie lean protein sources that are part of the typical weight-loss canon. There’s also no credible evidence that a diet that contains meat and dairy poses any undue health risk, though it could lead to serious vitamin deficiencies.

    Sound like strange advice from a weight-loss doctor? That might be because he is not a registered nutritionist or bariatric surgeon but a psychiatrist by training.

    So why doesn’t Barnard come out and admit on the cover that this book is just another vegan manifesto wearing a veneer of health? It’s the same reason PCRM doesn’t openly advertise its past links to PETA and to FBI-designated domestic animal-rights terrorist groups: because that would expose the group’s true animal-rights agenda. (Barnard himself has been PETA’s medical advisor and president of the PETA Foundation. We bet that didn’t make it onto the book jacket, either.)

    And finally, we believe the majority of people picking up this book as a quick fix will be sorely disappointed in the results. Long-term weight management requires a total lifestyle approach – not a scientifically flimsy diet you only have to stick to for 21 days. And that is ultimately what makes this just another weight-loss gimmick that will line the bargain bin in a few months.

  9. Dr. Oz: Animal Rights Activist?

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    Daytime television’s self-promoting “YOU Doc” Dr. Mehmet Oz entertained us Wednesday with his assault on meat and dairy, offering up his talk show's couch to a vegan activist group that twists medical research to claim non-tofu proteins come with major health risks.

    In typical Oz fashion, he promised to tell his audience what they “need to avoid in order to avoid getting cancer and heart disease.” And who better to fill everybody in than Neal Barnard?


    Barnard, for the unfamiliar, is president of the PETA-linked “Physicians Committee” for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which gets most of its funding from a single wealthy animal-rights activist in Florida. Barnard, who has called cheese “dairy crack” and tried to sue milk companies for causing “pain and suffering” to lactose intolerant Americans, predictably railed against non-PETA-approved diets.

    Oz promoted his guest’s agenda as “a different way of thinking about what you do in your day-to-day life.” Yes, we suppose that’s true. Barnard’s past claim that “to give a child animal products is a form of child abuse” is certainly, um… different. And Oz never told his audience that Barnard (a non-practicing psychiatrist) was once the president of the PETA Foundation—the organization that owns PETA’s office building and pays its salaries.

    Oz helpfully suggests, “Don’t call it a diet.” And he’s right. Barnard’s advice is animal-rights ideology on a plate.

    Eating nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits is a great idea, but so is eating nutrient-rich animal products. It’s difficult to swallow a stealthily masked, ideology-fueled prescription when it’s passed off as a cancer cure-all.

    Has the good doctor (Oz, not Barnard) been fooled or is he a willing accomplice?

  10. Yes, PETA Still Kills Animals

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    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) typically has a knack for making ugly things sexy (and vice-versa). Ironically, the radical animal rights group still hasn’t figured out a way to spin the fact that its own animal shelter has euthanized more than 25,000 homeless pets since 1998—so PETA prefers to keep it quiet. Good thing we have access to public records.

    According to its 2010 “Animal Record,” filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 94 percent of the cats and dogs in its shelter last year. PETA rationalizes that “open-admission shelters” like the one it operates provided these 2,200 animals with “a painless release from a world that does not want them.”

    These new statistics bump PETA’s body-count up to 25,840 since 1998. Conversely, the Virginia Beach SPCA, just down the road from PETA’s Norfolk headquarters, manages to adopt out the vast majority of the animals in its care (85% adoption rate in 2009). Talk about the difference that “going the extra mile” could make for helping an unwanted pet find a new home.

    Years of public outrage still have not been enough to convince PETA to eliminate its pet eradication program. Sadly, we are not expecting 2011 to be any more promising for homeless cats and dogs condemned to live out their last days on PETA’s version of “death row."

    Instead of investing in the lives of the adoptable pets in its care, PETA prefers to spend a sizeable chunk of its $33 million annual budget on glitzy media campaigns telling Americans—especially impressionable young children—that eating meat, drinking milk, fishing, hunting, wearing leather shoes, and benefiting from medical research performed on lab rats are all “unethical.”

    For the 12th year in a row, PETA’s leaders prove again that they care more about preserving their advertising budget than finding homes for the six pets per day, on average, that they needlessly kill. Let’s see them try to make that statistic sexy with a head of lettuce and a supermodel.