In a recent post, I reported further developments on the PeTA-killing-animals scandal that the Center for Consumer Freedom first revealed, the scandal subsequently assuming biblical proportions with the additional revelation of the allegedly illegal activities of two PeTA employees (Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook), who were busted after a sting operation and charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty (for unlawfully euthanizing animals) and 8 misdemeanor counts of improper disposal of animal remains.
As part of my "further development" post (op cit), I was mildly critical of the naivete of animal rescue workers who took PeTA personnel at their word: the "word" being that PeTA tried hard to adopt out animals they were spiriting away from a North Carolina shelter, and had only killed one (because of congenital heart failure). Here's what I said:
I am not totally unsympathetic to the "we were deceived" excuse, but I am not terribly sympathetic to it. PeTA has quite a track record of deceit, not to mention supporting terrorist people and groups and people who contribute to any organization, either their money or the care of animals, should be very sure that organization is what it says it is.
How many organizations run a campaign designed to represent themselves in other than the "best light?" It's common sense to "look before you leap."
Still, PeTA's propaganda efforts are extremely effective, made all the more so by an un-inquisitive media that has, until recently, taken PeTA at it's loopy word as if that word were an honest one.
I received an email from someone who wisely wishes to remain anonymous (PeTA has lots riding on their reputation, and they do have ties with people who could legitimately be termed "enforcers" themselves, or could incite anonymous enforcers to act).
My correspondent describes him/herself as being very familiar with the events surrounding the Hinkle/Cook deception, and someone who believes the Rainbow Rescue people (the human victims of PeTA's lies, the folks who turned animals over to Hinkle and Cook) went above and beyond the call of duty in trying to protect the animals that they released to the pair. I'm told the RR people asked the right questions, and received reassuring answers. And they evidently posed questions on multiple occasions, pressing PeTA and their employees for answers.
Here is the note I received, in its entirety and unedited:
FYI, you were wondering where all the animals came from in Warren County.....here is your answer....
Warren County opted to shut down their substandard facility in Dec. 2003 till July 2004.(immediate, short term and long terms standards were set until new shelter is built) Without any help from the county, the local humane organization stepped up and with good intentions. I am not a member of this organization, however, I can speak on their credibility. Instead of critizing the ignorance of Rainbow Rescue about PETA's past, it should be presented that it is business as usual for PETA, and this local group has learned a tough lesson. I personally feel that as Ms. Brown puts it ....isnt this deception....is key....for as I tell people that it would have been totally different if representatives would have said....heh, I (peta) will help you euthanize these animals free of charge. Need help? Could also be looked at as obtaining property under false pretenses?.
I have to remind myself sometimes that PeTA's capacity to lie and deceive is unparalleled. What seems crystal clear to me must seem hopelessly jaded and hyperbolic to others. And how many of us — and I include myself here — have not been lied to, and believed the lie simply because it was presented clearly, emphatically and repeatedly?
A bold lie is easily believed, especially if it is a specific denial to a specific question. Most people are incapable of telling such lies, and assume that others are incapable too. Such trusting people are easily taken in, and the problem is exacerbated when the lie confirms what we want to believe.
I'm more sympathetic to Rainbow Rescue than I was, but I still can't get entirely past the fact that this is, after all, PeTA. I think both the Rainbow Rescue folks — all of whom I believe to be good people — and I wish they'd broadened the scope of their questioning beyond PeTA and their representatives. But I'm not sure I how that should have been done, or what I would have done in their place.
The point about obtaining property under false pretenses is an interesting one, isn't it?
In reference to "things got ugly" you wanted an answer...
here it is....In June 2004,
There was a ex peta employee that came forward with a alias name because of threat of suit against them....that animals were all being euthanized that were given to them...
Rainbow Rescue REPEATEDLY asked what was happening to the animals for 6 months and then the whistleblower...questions were raised and the emails got ugly....and finally one admitted to euthanasia. They cut the ties to PETA.
PETA should be the one under scrunity not Rainbow Rescue...kudos for them coming forward...remember this involved approx. 1,000 animals and that in itself is devasting to any hard working volunteer rescuer that is dedicated in helping the animals.
Clearly, Rainbow Rescue was hearing alarm bells right and left, and tried unsuccessfully to put their worst fears to rest. It's always easy to second guess with the benefit of hidsight, and I've done perhaps too much of that in the case of Rainbow Rescue. As I see it, their mistake wasn't that they didn't care, had bad instincts or were unwilling to ask tough questions, or to ask often enough. They just didn't ask them of the right people — but how do you find those people?
Still, their persistence did eventually pay off, and for that, they should be commended. Lesser people might not have been so tenacious.
Finally, I think my correspondent makes another very good point when s/he observes that PeTA's deception has had quite a negative impact on the morale of the volunteers. Having to deal with the the consequences of having been deceived, and the loss of the animals they cared for and expected to be given good homes can't make their job any easier for them, and that can't be of any benefit to the animals they are attempting to help.
The Rainbow Rescue people were lied to, their trust betrayed, and animals died.
I can only say that PeTA's capacity to work against the best interests of the animals they claim to revere seems to have no bounds.
Thanks to my anonymous correspondent for taking the time to write me — and if it's any comfort to you and the Rainbow Rescue people, PeTA is coming under more scrutiny than they'd ever imagined possible.