People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has once again made headlines for suggesting the use of animatronic technology as a means of protecting animals, this time suggesting that Punxsutawney Phil be replaced with a robotic groundhog, on the grounds that having an actual groundhog pop his head out of a hole in front of an audience once a year is a form of animal cruelty. They had earlier suggested that UGA replace its mascot with 'robodawg' after the untimely passing of Uga's most recent incarnation. Additionally, PETA has produced a video in which robotic cats attempt to make robotic kittens. Clearly they are aware of the great potential this technology has for the protection of animals, but they are overlooking one use which would save thousands of dogs and cats every year, and it's right there in front of them. It is so obvious, how could they not see it?
PETA kills thousands of pets every year, and many, if not most of these pets would be deemed adoptable by a No Kill shelter. No Kill shelters save 90% or more of the animals that come through their doors, whether or not they are open-admission. PETA, by contrast, seeks out and kills over 90% of the animals they get their hands on. In 2006, they killed 97%. In 2007, they killed 91%. In 2008, they killed 96%. There is no reason to believe that 2009 will be any different once the numbers are finally released.*
If PETA were to switch to 'euthanizing' robotic dogs and cats (and the occasional chicken), rather than killing actual living, breathing dogs and cats (and the occasional chicken), literally thousands of animal lives would be saved every year. Rescuing could be left to real rescuers. That infamous walk-in freezer at PETA headquarters could instead be filled with tofu burgers. PETA could inject Fatal-Plus into robots while the cameras roll. It would be great publicity. The technology would be very simple, since the robots wouldn't need to do anything fancier than play dead. They could be reused time and again, which would be much more environmentally friendly than filling up dumpsters with dead pets. The money saved by eliminating the need to cremate tons of dead pets could be spent on spay-neuter assistance, or on more ads featuring naked celebrities.
If PETA would only stick its collective head out of its collective hole, it could catch a glimpse of the growing No Kill movement.
Everyone would live happily ever after.
*Note: The pertinent numbers to look at in these data are the numbers of animals taken in for adoption and the numbers of animals killed. PETA habitually includes animals brought to its spay-neuter clinic for surgery to obfuscate the true gravity of its statistics. When calculating the kill rate, the animals brought for surgery were, of course, left out.
If you liked this article and would like to receive future articles from the Atlanta Animal Welfare Examiner by email, just click the 'subscribe' button at the top of this page.
Let PETA know about the benefits of 'euthanizing' robotic pets:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front Street
Norfolk VA 23510