Northwest Missourian Opinion

Dear Editor,

Steve Irwin's charm and charisma cannot disguise the fact that he made his name by harassing wildlife.

His death was genuinely sad, but while he was still alive, PETA criticized his mistreatment of animals—such as invading their homes to provoke and disturb them and dragging frightened animals onto TV talk shows for publicity. It would be disingenuous for us to say otherwise now.

As the release of “Leaving Neverland” makes clear, death doesn't magically absolve celebrities—even those who were lauded during their lifetimes—of wrongdoing.

While Irwin built his career on agitating wildlife who were minding their own business, PETA's fieldworkers devote theirs to aiding suffering, forgotten cats and dogs who desperately need help.

Last year alone, we served more than 25,000 animals from more than 250 cities, and spent more than $2,300,000 on companion-animal services locally. Our fleet of mobile clinics has spayed and neutered more than 161,000 animals at no to low cost to their guardians since 2001.  

Every year, the majority of animals brought into PETA's care are sterilized, provided with veterinary treatment, or otherwise cared for before being returned to their guardians.

PETA is proud to offer end-of-life services for people who can't afford to pay for their sick and dying animals to be put to sleep. We offer a peaceful end to suffering for animals who are elderly, feral, sick, dying, aggressive or otherwise unadoptable.

When adoptable animals come our way, we find them excellent homes or transfer them to high-traffic shelters for a chance at adoption.

Just as true conservationists respect animals by giving them their space and privacy, true advocates roll up their sleeves and do what's needed to prevent and end needless suffering. I invite readers to visit to learn more about our work.    

Yours truly,

Colleen O'Brien

Vice President of Communications | PETA

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