Apr 012010
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Bob Barker, famous host of the show “The Price Is Right,” recently donated $2.5 millions to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA. The money was donated to purchase an office building in Los Angeles for the organization.
My first thought when I read about this was, “Are you kidding me?”

The building will be used for the group’s media, marketing, youth outreach and campaign departments. Doesn’t that make you excited? Let’s have more violent outbursts, storming of national dog shows and beating of researchers who are trying to save human’s lives.

Bob Barker pushed for spaying and neutering pets on his game show. His sign off line was, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” I totally get this and I also agree with it. However, if Mr. Barker really wanted to help people to do what he preaches, he would have given the money elsewhere.

“Now critics of the (PETA) are accusing it of being more interested in using its $32 million annual budget to fund its campaigns against the fur and meat industries than helping the cats and dogs in its backyard,” said a passage in the (British) Sunday Telegraph in April of 2009.

Keep in mind, this is the same group that criticized President Obama in June of 2009 for swatting a fly on national TV. A fly. If that is what they are concerned about, there are bigger fish to fry, no pun intended.

In a press release by PETA in 2008, they said, “PETA dispatched a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to replace the cow’s milk in their products with human breast milk.”

While I realize most of you probably cringe at this idea, let’s look at the implications of this. If women started selling their breast milk to Ben and Jerry’s, how will they feed their child? The cost of formula would probably be more than the price of the milk. What a ridiculous idea this was, and it is only one of many.

One of the biggest problems brought up with PETA has been their high euthanasia numbers. “Since 1998, PETA has killed more than 17,000 animals, nearly 85 percent of all those it has rescued,” according to an article in Newsweek in April of 2008.

I know that a lot of the animals they pick up are probably in bad shape. However, your local humane society does the same thing, and somehow they managed to help these animals get healthy and adopt them out and they don’t have near the $32 million budget to do so.

Am I for taking animals out of bad situations and finding them new homes? Absolutely. Am I ok with them doing this and then just putting the animals down? Absolutely not.

If you really want to help further this cause, I urge you, as I have in the past, to donate to an animal welfare group, not an animal rights group. Your local humane society or rescue shelters are a great place to start.

Spaying and neutering your pets is a good idea. If you don’t have the money to go to a vet, you can apply for a coupon through many city programs. Also, there are some mobile units that offer the service for cheaper than your local vet may not be able to.
Mr. Barker, your price was right, but you donated to the wrong organization.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal science, agricultural business and journalism and technical communication major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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