The Centre for Consumer Freedom, an American non-profit that lobbies on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol and tobacco industries, has accused the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of hypocrisy.

The organisation obtained the statistics from the Virginia Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services and subsequently published them online.

According to the documents, only 19 of the 1,647 cats and dogs that PETA took in last year ended up in new homes. Of the 34 other companion animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, that were taken in, only four were adopted.

Now referring to the facility as a ‘euthanasia clinic’ rather than a ‘shelter’, the CCF claims the shelter has euthanized 23,398 pets since 1998.

PETA senior vice president Daphne Nachinovitch said that unlike other shelters, PETA does not discriminate against the animals they take in and often accepts animals they know will not be adopted. She said putting animals down is necessary when they are disease-ridden of otherwise unadoptable.

“We have a small division that does hands-on work with animals, and most of the animals we take in are society’s rejects; aggressive, on death’s door, or somehow unadoptable”, PETA spokeswoman Jane Dollinger said.

An additional statement from PETA said that “PETA refers adoptable animals to the high-traffic open-admission shelters where they have the best chance of being seen and finding a new home.”

Critics believe PETA’s $36 million annual budget should be used to find homes for the animals that are put down instead of doing high-profile “I’d rather go naked” photoshoots with celebrities for its anti-fur campaign.

CCF Research Analyst Justin Wilson said in a press release, “It seems PETA is more dedicated to publicity stunts than to keeping the animals in its own care alive. It’s the height of hypocrisy for PETA to demonstrate for the ‘rights’ of rats and pigs, while killing tens of thousands of pets. It’s time that the Commonwealth of Virginia finally reclassifies PETA’s pet shelter for what it is – a slaughterhouse”.

Although PETA euthanizes 90 percent of the animals they take in, they estimate that in other shelters only 50 percent of animals taken in are put down.

Images via Getty