- Isn’t it good when a shelter is killing less animals than they used to?
- At least the shelter is posting pictures of the animals online now, even if the photos depict animals being scared, mishandled and/or misidentified… isn’t that an improvement?
- So what if some healthy/treatable animals are being killed – as long as a shelter is saving at least 90%, isn’t that great?
I see these types of comments regularly. And I’m going to answer them the long way around.
Yes, killing less is better than killing more. Posting awful pictures is better than posting none at all. Saving 90% of your animals is great. These things all have a place in the political game of shelter reform. If you are engaged in a political battle against the powers that be in your city or county, trying to get them to stop killing animals by will or by force, you may wish to play these cards carefully. They may represent advantages to you in negotiations or might offer you leverage in your effort to create meaningful change.
I recognize that. I appreciate that some of you have plans in place and mark your progress on a different scale than mine. I get it.
But that’s not my thing. My thing is a relentless and uncompromising spotlight on every failure, big and small, that contributes to the needless killing of 4 million shelter animals each year. I will not be placated by less killing. I will not ease up because someone makes an inadequate effort to improve. I will not click and treat in recognition of failure to save every healthy/treatable pet just because a certain percentage of animals are making it out alive.
If your plan to affect change involves praising shelters for any effort of any kind, I understand that you may be doing so because you believe it will lead to a greater good. I respect that. But the field is wide and there is room for more than one approach. In fact, there is room for many different philosophies in the world of shelter pet advocacy. I can sit at the table with people who disagree with me. And actually, I’m very thankful there are lots of people who think differently than I do. That’s how I learn. That’s how I improve, hopefully. It’s how I embraced the no kill philosophy in the first place.
I like to think of the whole spectrum of diverse opinions and tactics as being more effective than a narrow “my way or the highway” approach. It’s one reason I believe that we will succeed in our effort to end shelter pet killing sooner rather than later.
I say all this because I think it’s important for readers to know where I’m coming from while simultaneously understanding that I have no expectation that we all feel exactly the same way on every detail. It’s better that way, I think. I know the nature of blogs is that most people read while only a small number comment. I hope more people will consider commenting – even if it’s to offer an alternate viewpoint. Maybe especially then. I may be a hardliner in one sense but I’ve always been very open with the comments. Trolls, bullies and bigots are roundfiled but I really enjoy intelligent discussion among smart and compassionate people.