October 24, 2020

Maddie’s Fund and PETA: the great no kill shelter debate


There is no doubt that the views of how to fix the problem of the over population of unwanted pets by Maddie’s Fund and PETA are totally polar opposites. Maddie’s Fund is at the forefront of the no kill movement, while PETA opposes no kill shelters and sees euthanasia and spay/neuter as the only option.

My goal in interviewing both organizations was to show these fundamentally different views and how each is implementing them for listeners to decide for themselves what is what.

It is hard not to be impressed by Maddie’s Fund commitment, whether you agree that it can truly be effective or not. With a 300 million dollar endowment, Maddie’s Fund is putting their money where their mouth is on many fronts to lower euthanasia of pets with grant programs, educational programs targeted to shelter personal and the pet owner, free adoption subsidy programs to shelters across the country, public awareness campaigns, and encouraging all types of shelters, (no kill or not) local government, and the community to work together and create a support network.

DN straw delivery - Copy

PETA on the other hand believes the only way to end euthanasia is by ending breeders, mandatory spay/neuter and euthanasia of all pets that cannot be adopted out quickly until shelters are no longer full. This became evident when the public became aware of the fact that PETA has had a kill rate of over 90% in its own shelter every year of its existence, and it appears their kill numbers keep going up each year instead of down as is the trend with most other shelters across the country.

My interested in interviewing PETA was a result of reading the NY Times online article which showed how isolated PETA was from all the major pet welfare groups with it’s position on opposing the no kill movement and how its shelter maintains an average of over 90% euthanasia of all the animals.

This report is not anything new, but to my knowledge it was the first such report from a mainstream news organization and by a reporter who was not an activist with any connection to pet welfare issues or someone with an axe to grind with PETA. This seemed significant to me.

I decided to offer PETA an interview to discuss these issues and ask to speak to the person quoted in the article. PETA agreed. I did not want to have an open debate that would just get messy, and its unlikely either Maddie’s Fund or PETA would agree to such a debate. Instead I planned to air both interviews on the same 2 hour program.  The Maddie’s Fund interview lasted an hour, and the PETA interview lasted an hour and a half…a total of 30 minutes over the 2 hour broadcasting time limit. So rather than edit any of PETA’s interview, I decided to air “part one” with Maddie’s on the 28th, and “part 2” on a date following.

My goal with PETA was to get to the heart of their positions going beyond their talking points. I hope I accomplished this.

After these programs air I will post a little of my own commentary of both interviews.

Listen to the show July 28th, 10 am PST



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