PETA

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘pet stores

How ‘saving’ animals at all costs can be a dangerous proposition

leave a comment »

By Ingrid E. Newkirk

All across the country, people are hearing calls to raise the “save rate” at animal shelters. But beware: As warm and fuzzy as that sounds, a shelter’s high “save” rate does not reduce by one puppy or kitten the number of unwanted animals born every minute in private homes, in puppy mills, in breeders‘ kennels and catteries, on the street or under a porch. In fact, it can increase that number, to the detriment of dogs, cats, taxpayers and law-enforcement officials.

Shockingly, pressure to raise shelter “save rates” actually increases the “pet” overpopulation crisis. How? To reduce the number of animals it euthanizes, a shelter must reduce the number of animals it takes in by charging high “surrender” fees, putting people on waiting lists, sending unsterilized animals to “foster” homes and more. Many people cannot afford high fees, and those evicted from their own homes or entering a women’s shelter or nursing home can’t wait for weeks or months for their animal to be admitted.

Cities learn the hard way that to play the “high-save-rate” game, something has to give. Because the number of homeless animals far exceeds the number of available homes, no matter what is done to try to conjure up more adopters, facilities are always full. Sick, injured, old, aggressive and other “unadoptable” animals are turned away—since accepting them would hurt the “save” statistics.

Shelter operating hours are also often reduced to decrease intake, leaving anyone who can’t take time off during the day out of luck. Elderly people on a fixed income and others who cannot afford the fees charged by veterinarians for euthanasia are left with nowhere to take their old and ailing dog or cat for a merciful release.

In San Antonio, Texas, where the shelter has gone “no-kill” and many strays are left to fend for themselves, animal wardens report that thousands of stray animals are breeding, forming packs and dying on the streets, with more than 28,000 dog and cat bodies scraped up in the last year alone.

Shelters trying to achieve a high “save” rate invariably stop requiring verification that previous animal companions have received veterinary care and stop conducting even basic home checks—vital safeguards that prevent animals from falling into the hands of people with evil intentions. And animals are handed over to anyone who can “foster” them, including to animal hoarders who stack cages in their house, basement or garage. This situation creates nightmarish scenarios, such as the recent Florida case in which 100 cats burned to death inside individual plastic crates, unable to flee as the plastic melted onto them, and the Angel’s Gate “animal hospice” in New York, where police found caged animals who had died in agony without veterinary care. Every week brings news of more little houses of horror.

Shelters that cram more animals into runs and cages than can safely be accommodated become so severely crowded that the dogs fight and injure themselves, the cats contract upper respiratory infections and disease outbreaks sicken healthy animals, as has happened in Washington, D.C., and is happening in Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties in Florida now. In Austin, Texas, the city shelter stopped accepting cats and then, two weeks later, dogs. Where do they all go? In parts of Oregon where shelters have stopped accepting stray cats, they go into the woods or into a bucket of water.

There are literally hundreds more unwanted animals born every minute of every day. Once every available home or basement has been filled with animals from the shelter, where are all the new animals and their litters going to go?

What’s a community to do? To truly save dogs’ and cats’ lives, let’s reject this shelter “save-rate” nonsense and get to the root of the problem: the population explosion. Open-admission shelters, solid animal-control services, community education and reduced-cost spay-and-neuter programs are the keys to a real “save” rate.

Ingrid E. Newkirk is the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

Advertisements

There is good reason to be optimistic about 2013

leave a comment »

By Heather Moore

It was practically impossible to turn on the television in 2012 without hearing a whole lot of political bickering. And when the news wasn’t dominated by presidential campaign coverage, it was filled with devastating stories about mass shootings, natural disasters, deadly factory fires and other heartbreaking events. So it was easy to miss the positive things that happened in 2012. But if you look back on the year, you’ll see that a great deal of progress was made for those whose interests are often overlooked—animals—and that there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful about 2013.

Just a few months ago, for example, the Los Angeles City Council banned pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders. They can now offer animals only from shelters, a measure that will help countless homeless animals find loving homes. Los Angeles also passed a resolution encouraging residents to eat vegetarian meals at least one day a week, making it the largest city yet to endorse “Meatless Monday.”

It’s now easy to find animal-friendly vegan options in other cities and at popular venues, too. The Daytona International Speedway served veggie dogs at the 2012 Coke Zero NASCAR race, giving vegetarian fans a reason to cheer. Starbucks promised to use a plant-based colorant instead of insect extracts in its drinks, and many popular restaurants, including Taco Bell and Subway, added vegan options to their menus in 2012.

These changes aren’t exactly earthshaking—in fact, they’re pretty basic and long overdue—but they do illustrate society’s evolving attitude toward animals. More and more people now reject activities that cause suffering, and more and more companies are changing their practices as a result.

Ann Taylor, for example, stopped selling exotic skins in 2012, and both Alloy, an online clothing retailer, and Chinese Laundry, a stylish footwear company, stopped selling fur. Haband, an apparel and accessories company, stopped selling down—which is commonly ripped from the bodies of live birds—because of PETA‘s efforts.

More companies pledged not to use great apes in advertisements this past year, and NBC was forced to cancel Animal Practice after only five episodes, evidence that people aren’t interested in watching exploited animals on TV anymore.

Prominent financial institutions, including BB&T, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as well as Georgetown University and the city of Cartersville, Ga., pledged not to use glue traps, because the fate of animals who get stuck in them is very cruel. They often lose skin and fur to the sticky glue while struggling to escape or else die slowly of thirst, exhaustion or suffocation.

District of Columbia Public Schools passed a dissection-choice policy, giving students the right to use humane, modern methods to learn about anatomy, and the Carolinas Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners agreed to use effective simulators instead of animals for medical training.

UPS, DHL and FedEx, the top three cargo shipping companies, now refuse to transport any animals for use in experiments, as does Nippon Cargo Airlines, which had been shipping cats and dogs from the U.S. to Japanese laboratories.

These are just a few of the many reasons why 2012 was a banner year for animals and why we can be optimistic about the changes that 2013 will bring. We can all continue to push for progress in the year ahead. All we have to do is resolve to make compassionate choices.

Heather Moore is a staff writer for the PETA Foundation, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

This October, ‘fall’ for a dog from a shelter

leave a comment »

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

I walk my dog, Pete, every day, and people are always stopping us to ask me, “Where did you get your dog?” Pete looks like a common breed, so I guess many people just assume that I bought him from a breeder. It’s fun to see the surprise on their faces when I smile and say that Pete is a mutt and I adopted him from the local animal shelter.

October is “Adopt a Shelter Dog” Month, and for people who are ready to commit to caring for a canine companion, I can say from experience that there is no better place to find your new best friend than a shelter or rescue group. I wasn’t sure what to expect when my husband and I adopted Pete almost eight years ago, but now I know that we will never look anywhere other than a shelter for our animal family members.

At shelters, you will find all kinds of dogs. We were thrilled when, on our very first visit, we found a dog who had all the qualities that we were hoping for in a canine companion: large size, long hair and lots of energy. Of course, if we had wanted a small, short-haired dog who loves to snuggle, the shelter had plenty of dogs who would have fit the bill. As we walked past cage after cage, dogs of all ages, personalities and sizes—mutts and purebreds alike—poked their noses through the bars, wagged their tails and watched us with pleading eyes, as if to say, “Please pick me!”

I would have taken every one of those sweet dogs home if I could have, but with the help of the shelter’s adoption counselor, we were able to narrow down our decision. She walked us through each step of the process, asked us questions and told us about Pete’s personality and background to help ensure that our lifestyle, activity level and experience would make us a good fit. Then she showed us to a private visiting room and gave us plenty of time to get to know our potential new family member one-on-one.

It didn’t take long to fall in love with Pete, and after considering the decision for a day or two (adopting is a lifelong commitment, after all!) we signed the papers to make him a part of our family. For a nominal adoption fee—hundreds less than what breeders typically charge—our new addition came home neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped. The elated shelter staffers hugged and kissed Pete goodbye and offered us follow-up support and classes to ensure that his transition to a new home would be a success.

Pete has become such an important part of our life that it’s difficult to think about what might have happened if we had not adopted him. Every year, open-admission shelters across the country are forced to euthanize up to 4 million dogs and cats. Breeders, pet stores and people who don’t have their animals sterilized put shelter workers in this heartbreaking position because they bring more animals into a world that is already tragically short on good homes.

But you can help change that this October, by ensuring that your animal companions are sterilized and, if you are ready, opening your heart and home to one of the many lovable dogs waiting in a shelter. Just get ready to have lots of people ask you where you found that smart, sweet, one-of-a-kind dog of yours.

Lindsay Pollard-Post is a staff writer for The PETA Foundation, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; http://www.PETA.org.

Written by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

October 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm