Still killing them with kindness
In Friends of Animals' Actionline, Summer 2006
Still Killing Them With Kindness
Must Advocates Choose Between Animal Welfare and Animals’ Lives?
[Excerpt, as always read the entire article]
Current Trends and New Directions
The current situation for domesticated animals is mixed. In the good new column, since we last covered this issue, the New York City shelter system has been making changes in management, and more residents are expressing hope that New York can become a “no-kill city.”
On the other hand, since we last covered the emerging national pro-kill movement, it’s stepped up its pace as well. In 2004, a group of well-funded shelters and their associated fundraising groups, including Maddie’s Fund and New York’s North Shore Animal League, along with large animal protection groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, signed the Asilomar Accords. This document attempts to display a unified front for the promotion of continued killing, again by dismissing the moral imperative of a no-kill view. The Accords speak of institutional killing as euthanasia, and although the agreement’s guidelines instruct “stakeholders” not to “denigrate” one another, the agreement effectively denigrates trap-neuter-return policies by allowing feral cats to be killed rather than supporting the dedicated volunteers who model kindness in their communities by phasing out colonies through neutering, while caring for unowned cats who are already alive.
The Asilomar Accords fall into the now-familiar pattern: endorsing ambivalence by adopting out small numbers and killing the rest. This ambivalence benefits breeders, because removing animals who are deemed undesirable allows breeding to continue.
We have a decision to make: Shall we go along with, even have a hand in, society’s annual ritual of killing animals by the millions each year? Or shall we proceed in a new direction, like that advanced by trap-neuter-return advocates and no-kill shelters, based not on a traditional symbiosis with breeders, but on respect for animals?
Tips for Local Action
Tell a friend today about Friends of Animals sterilization certificate hotline: 1-800-321-PETS. Or purchase an affordable certificate online. The cycle of surplus, abandonment, suffering and death can only be effectively addressed by dealing with the matter of births.
Consider offering to take the pet of a senior or a person with disabilities to a veterinary appointment.
Also helpful are letters to community papers about the importance of animal-friendly rental properties, always combined with a suggestion that readers adopt animals and commit to avoid supporting breeders.
Write letters in support of trap-neuter-return (TNR) initiatives for feral cats, and support the people who neuter and foster such cats. Suggest that your state put funds into TNR. Explain that feeding a stable colony of feral cats often gives a structure and purpose for many caregivers, especially among the senior population. Communities should encourage, rather than ban, such acts of kindness. But sterilizing the cats is crucial.
Insist that your local shelter ensures the sterilization of all dogs and cats released for adoption, and that it works with community foster groups so that adoptions, followed by house checks, really happen. If you adopt an animal, welcome any house check set up by the foster group.