Setting Aside Semantics: Not Killing Pets Must Be Our Goal


(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)


While looking for reference for this post, I came across this article by Wayne Parcelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Read it and maybe you’ll appreciate the amazing dovetail in the twin debate on pet-animal and homeless animal population that I’ve been harping so much about, most recently in this post.
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I give you choice quotes from Mr Parcelle’s article, which you’ll see actually is a close reflection what we face here in Singapore too.

… America views those of us in the animal protection movement as being against the needless killing of animals. America happens to be correct. Everyone sincerely committed to the cause of animal protection embraces the concept of animals living complete and quality lives—uninterrupted by torment or cruelty.

… “No-Kill” as an outcome cannot be universally expected to occur overnight, and it cannot succeed without multi-pronged efforts by committed communities. Its conscientious backers recognize that. It’s simple mathematics. If euthanasia is not occurring and intake of dogs and cats is significantly exceeding adoptions, then overcrowding and warehousing—and the attendant suffering—are the undesirable and also unacceptable outcomes. Or if shelters close their doors to animals in need, then the problem is just being pushed off to someone or someplace else, with euthanasia the likely outcome and with the fundamental dynamics essentially left unchanged.

we must not accept routine euthanasia as a social norm. We should raise expectations and set aggressive goals, but recognize that shelters can’t do it without community engagement at every step. We must continue to reduce rates of relinquishment by ramping up affordable and accessible spay and neuter options and helping people resolve normal pet behavior issues. At the same time, we must show a renewed commitment to bring additional resources, a sustained sense of urgency, diligence, volunteerism and creativity to expand the number of suitable homes and adopt more animals. We can redesign shelters to be more inviting to potential adopters, make it possible for apartment dwellers to have pets, develop sophisticated and research-driven marketing campaigns, partner with other community-based institutions, and so much more.

The problem is not unsolvable….

Yet there are countervailing forces. Many puppy mills are now completely unregulated by the federal government, and they are selling animals direct to the public over the Internet. These marketers of dogs make it easier than ever for consumers to be duped into obtaining a puppy mill dog

And there are other types of challenges….

Our communities also face large populations of feral cats….

Even with these major challenges, the situation is improving…

Let’s keep moving forward until no healthy and treatable animals are euthanized.

If we’re willing to challenge ourselves and work together, we can get to our lifesaving goal far quicker. And this we must do—lives are depending on us.

Even if you’ve only been remotely aware of the situation in Singapore, you’d probably get a jolt of deja vu. It’s no surprise.

Depressing? I highlighted the encouring bits not just to vary the pattern for your reading pleasure. We do face a frustrating situation, and it is still an uphill battle – much like an osteoporosis-stricken senior having to climb the steps to her 12th storey flat, not because the lift broke down, but because the machinery won’t open sesame for her.

The notable exceptions between the US scenario and what we have here are 1) We do not really have feral cats – our homeless cats tend to be homeless due to abandonment or irresponsibly kept pets allowed to roam unsterilised; 2) there is a more active volunteer base, and greater awareness in the US than here; 3) there is probably a greater acceptance and empathy for pets even at the ethereal reaches of high politics, despite the pet tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath (unlike the OVERT anti-pet stance of the HDB here, and certainly the official lack of tolerance for homeless animals, or the semi-apathy of the legal system toward animal abuse crimes)

Please read Mr Parcelle’s article, and then give yourself a good think – Why the difference in acceptance level in how our cats are killed? and see if there’s a part YOU can play to level the odds in the killing fields for Singapore’s cats and dogs – for example, don’t buy or breed pet animals. If you need more reason, read this, or this.


(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

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