PETA definitely barking up the wrong tree

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Some people, and their groups, are better at furthering the art of tactless solicitation than others.

For the latest case of hoof-in-mouth disease, we only have to look to our friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, otherwise known as PETA (www.peta.org).

Seems someone in the PETA brain trust heard a lot of nursing home residents haven’t taken advantage of their opportunity to file for federal stimulus refund checks. That’s up to $600 each for thousands of people. That’s a lot of money.

So what did this august group’s leadership do? Like vultures they would surely seek to protect, they swooped down to see how much they could scrounge.

On Tuesday, PETA sent letters to the CEOs of the five of the nation’s seven largest nursing home chains, asking them to nudge residents into filing paperwork for their refunds. Then, the residents could turn around and give the money to PETA or some other “humane” charity. Outrageous.

What’s next? Shaking down single parents on welfare for “leftover” money? Coaxing soup kitchens to cut back on the noodles and broth to help fund the latest animal-related research?

While PETA lists other charities in the letter and offers a Web site of approved organizations, the site (caringconsumer.com) is sponsored and operated by … PETA.

Simply consider the priorities of PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk in her formal nursing-home solicitation: "We're asking that these nursing-home companies make a concerted effort to help their residents obtain their checks and urge their residents to use the money to help animals and others in need."

The gall of asking for this one-time windfall from a population that is largely on Medicaid is almost unfathomable. To think that such people—who normally receive perhaps just $30 to $50 of personal money per month from Medicaid for everything they want—are being asked to start forking over the largest lump sum they’re bound to see for a while boggles the mind.

It doesn’t matter what your overall thoughts on PETA, animals, nursing homes, caregiving or general politics are. This attempted pimping of some of our nation’s most frail and elderly citizens should be shouted down, or at a bare minimum, coldly ignored.

So to the CEOs of HCR ManorCare, Kindred Healthcare, Genesis HealthCare, Golden Living and SavaSeniorCare (who normally need no help running their businesses), I say: Go ahead, urge your residents to file their paperwork and get what they have coming. Then leave them alone.

Or, to show the sensitive folks at PETA you haven’t forgotten them, encourage your residents to put their money toward a different kind of animal-related investment—like a nice, big steak and lobster dinner at the finest restaurant in town.
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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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