A well worn argument used by some animal advocates that sounds reasonable on the face of it: Look, we’d like to be for no kill but let’s get real -we’ve got animal shelters abusing pets, gas chambers and serious funding issues to deal with. Let’s try to improve things one rung at a time and maybe one day we’ll reach a point where we can advocate for no kill.
Here’s where we agree: Rooting out shelter abuse, ending the use of the gas chamber in shelters and getting communities more involved in an effort to increase funding for shelters are all great goals. Where we start to diverge is that, to my mind, these are worthy goals to strive for but only within the context of no kill. Because if we try to help shelter pets without continually advocating for no kill, we are perpetuating a culture of needless death for our communities’ pets. We are saying, in effect, it’s not ok for shelters to deny pets food or veterinary care but it is ok to kill them. We are saying it’s not ok to put healthy/treatable pets into a gas chamber to die but it is ok to kill them via injection. We’re saying we need more funding to help shelter pets which we will likely kill.
Some animal advocates are very keen on blaming the public for the killing of shelter pets. I disagree with this entirely but if you are determined to blame the public for the so-called necessity of shelter killing, is this truly the approach you want to take when asking the public for support? Does this sound at all like a successful sales pitch?: You horrible people are the ones to blame for all the pets killed in shelters. Therefore we are asking you to give us money, support our causes at the ballot box and follow our pet care advice so that we can continue killing our communities’ pets.
Even if I agreed with the idea of blaming the public for shelter killing (I don’t), I’d have to admit it’s a tactic which has failed to end the killing. And it has failed because animal advocates have wasted time, resources and effort to maintain a culture of acceptance of death for healthy/treatable shelter pets. Many people in this country, including some of the shelter workers doing the killing, actually believe it is humane to kill healthy/treatable pets because of this culture of acceptable death.
We will never achieve no kill if we continue to work within this framework of acceptable killing. To put it another way, we will never save shelter pets by continually advocating to have them killed.
So no, I can not in good conscience embrace efforts to “help” shelter pets which are rooted in a culture of killing shelter pets. Everything I do to help my community’s pets is done within the context of working toward no kill. I am opposed to killing healthy/treatable pets in shelters and therefore won’t take any action which might lead to killing. I reject the notion that killing healthy/treatable pets is either necessary or acceptable. I am for no kill. What are you for?