01 July, 2010

How Our "Love" Of Pets Is Causing Animal Suffering And How Doing "Nothing" Can Reduce Animal Suffering

Help prevent animal cruelty by doing nothing. Yes, that’s right, sometimes you can do good by just doing nothing. The “nothing”, in this case, is to not replace your aging pet when he or she dies. And if you're thinking of getting a pet, don't. Let me explain.

Depending on whose numbers you believe, 5 million or more “pets” or “companion animals” – dogs and cats mostly – are euthanized each year in the US. Major animal welfare groups like the ASPCA and HSUS spend millions on programs to promote spaying and neutering of pets and shelter animals. As they should.

But spaying and neutering cats and dogs is only part of the solution. You and millions of other Americans have to do nothing.

Animal welfare groups lobby for legislation to outlaw puppy mills. As they should. But outlawing puppy mills is only part of the solution. You and millions of Americans have to do nothing.

Yes we should outlaw puppy mills and we should spay and neuter our own pets and, when we get the chance, “strays” we feed, but until millions of Americans do nothing to increase the demand for pets, puppy mills will continue to breed poor, hapless female dogs literally to death and will continue to pack puppies on top of one another in wire cages and our shelters will continue to kill millions of excess, unwanted animals every year.

When your kids ask for a puppy or a kitten, tell them it's unnatural for cats and dogs to live with humans and explain to them that the demand for pets causes suffering. Change the culture first in your own home.

That’s why you and millions of other Americans who claim to “love” dogs and cats need to do nothing. You need to do nothing to increase the demand for pets. You need to do nothing that would artificially inflate the numbers of abandoned, “stray” and otherwise unwanted animals.

That’s right, do nothing. Don’t buy a dog or a cat from a pet store because, when you do, you literally finance the puppy mill business. And you artificially increase the pet population while your county animal shelter is killing unwanted pets they would have gladly given you for the cost of spay/neuter. Don't buy a dog because you're lonely. Go on a date instead. Join a club. Volunteer at the shelter. But don't indulge your selfish desire to own an animal. If you indulge your selfish impulses then the first time your new pet is an inconvenience to you you'll be one of those people who drops off the animal at the shelter because it peed on your carpet or chewed your couch.

It’s our demand for pets, our so-called “love” of cats and dogs that causes most of their suffering.

Yes, there are things you should do to stop pet overpopulation and its resultant animal suffering. Write a letter to your mayor, your county commission, your governor, your congressman and tell them that you support laws against puppy mills.

Write a check to HSUS or ASPCA and to your local shelter to help them with the costs of spaying and neutering unwanted pets.

But don’t forget to do nothing to increase the demand for pets. If millions of Americans do nothing to increase demand, puppy mills can’t get rich breeding female dogs to death and cramming puppies into wire cages. If you do nothing to increase demand for cats and dogs, pet stores won’t sell them. If you do nothing to increase demand for dogs ands cats, your local animal shelter won’t have to kills thousands of animals every year.

The suffering caused to animals by our selfish demand for pets is not unlike the crime caused by our demand for drugs. If americans stop demanding drugs, there will be very few drug-related crimes. If Americans stop demanding pets, fewer animals will be bred to death, crammed into wire cages and abandoned to fend for themselves on the streets.

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