Approximately 1.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the United States, many due simply to a lack of available homes. Meanwhile, over 100,000 healthy horses are shipped to slaughter in Canada or Mexico annually, including an estimated 10,000 from the Thoroughbred racing industry.
Official U.S. records indicate that roughly one million animals are used in government and private experiments each year – with these numbers including only dogs, cats, rabbits, nonhuman primates, and other species covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Many millions more – particularly mice and rats – are subjected to tests but not covered by AWA.
My late husband Greg and I adopted 17 rescued animals over 23 years together – eleven cats, four dogs, and two horses. Many of these were particularly challenging cases – two 80-pound street dogs, a heartworm-positive senior dog, and a badly starved former racehorse – all of whom Greg enthusiastically took in because he knew they had nowhere else to go. I continue to live with six of the animals Greg and I rescued together, plus another former racehorse I rescued after Greg’s death.
For many years, Greg and I also supported numerous animal advocacy organizations in their work to end animal suffering – including programs to promote companion animal spay/neuter and adoption, and advocacy for animals used in labs and entertainment.
The Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund has made major grants annually since 2016 to support the many programs of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department / Community Animal Project and its Cruelty in Horse Racing Campaign. The Fund has also made major grants to the White Coat Waste Project for its work to rescue animals from taxpayer-funded experiments, and to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary for its work to rescue abused and neglected farm animals.
In recognition of Greg’s exceptional commitment to animal rescue, PETA established the Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award, which has been issued each June beginning in 2016.