As an animal welfare advocate, I found these numbers troubling to say the least, particularly for an organization that has the significant financial means of PETA. So I went to the financial statements page on PETA's website and immediately discovered something curious.
PETA indicates its Change In Net Assets (calculated by subtracting Operating Expenses from Revenues) in parentheses, meaning the organization showed an operating loss for the year 2014. But the correct number is actually a positive (and very large) $4,551,786 -- essentially a "profit" for PETA that it can put into its coffers.
Could it be simple error that PETA indicated this number in parentheses? I suppose so. But I think the implications are substantial. Imagine you're a potential (large or small) donor to PETA. You give the financial statements on their website a cursory look and see a huge loss. Because of this, you perhaps become more motivated to write a check to help PETA cover its operating expenses.
Or, conversely, if this number were not in parentheses, you look at their statements and see an organzation that has brought in a "profit" of $4,551,786 for 2014, but still euthanizes at a rate of 88%. You might conclude PETA is not deserving of your donation and question why they are in the animal welfare business in the first place.
The bottom line is PETA should fix this error immediately so that no one is deceived.