Karel Minor, Humane Pennsylvania CEO
Last week I gave you a thesis. A thesis comes from the head. You need to plan from the head or you don’t get things accomplished. But you need to be driven from the heart or what you get accomplished is meaningless. At the Walk for the Animals & Walktoberfest earlier this month I got a bit whipped up in my welcoming remarks about what we are doing with our new funding and service partners. It felt a bit like a manifesto. Manifestos come from the heart. Sometimes you need to actually write out what you actually feel, not just what you think.
American shelters are Death Machines.
For a century animal shelters killed millions and no one cared. For decades animal shelters killed millions and told us it was inevitable. For years animal shelters killed millions of animals and told us it was our fault. Now animal shelters kill millions of animals and tell us they are not killing them because they only kill 10% or less. The No Kill of 10% is 100% death for the animals in that 10%.
No Kill is a lie shelters tell themselves and we tell you. We pretend that if we save 9 out of 10, we save them all. Simple math shows this is a lie.
Animal shelters focus on death. Bad animal shelters kill. Good animal shelters are good because they kill less. Good is better than bad, but it is not good enough.
Would we brag that we send our children to be educated in a No Kill school? That we work at a No Kill job? That we worship in a No Kill church? Do we shop at No Kill grocery stores? Do we count ourselves lucky to walk out of our school, job, church, or grocery store alive? In what other part of our lives do we sing the praises of merely walking out alive?
Not dying is not the pinnacle of achievement, it is the base line expectation. Yet we pat ourselves on the back for only killing 1 in 10. We pat ourselves on the back for supporting organizations that only kill 1 in 10.
We sing our own praises that we offer the humane alternative of death in exchange for life. Why is the binary choice life or death for animals who are not dying?
- The alternative to hunger is not death
- The alternative to suffering is not death
- The alternative to homelessness is not death
- The alternative to illness is not death
The alternative to hunger is food. The alternative to suffering is succor. The alternative to homelessness is a home. The alternative to illness is health. The alternative to death is life.
In all lives, death is inevitable. Sometimes it is the best choice to relieve profound illness or suffering. It is not always the only choice. It is never the right choice just because there are no alternatives at hand. Then it may be a choice but it doesn’t make it the right choice. Even if it is the choice only 1 time out of 10.
People and animals have rights. They have the right to food. They have the right to a safe shelter. They have a right to be free of fear and pain. They have a right to be made healthy when they are sick. They have a right to being treated with respect and dignity, even if they can’t access or even articulate these rights.
American animal shelters steal these rights from animals when they steal their lives in the name of welfare. Even when it’s only 10% of the time. They steal these rights when they warehouse, stack, cage, and hide animals away and declare it to be a life. A life in a shelter is not the life intended for animals. Being a caged animal is not the alternative to death. Life in a home is the alternative.
Humane Pennsylvania will not be a place of death, it will be a place of life. It will not be a place of hunger, suffering, pain, fear, perpetual jail, or indignity. It will be a place of life.
When death is the right choice for an animal, it will not be a place of disrespect for life or truth. Humane Pennsylvania will not lie and tell the world that death is not death because we have a new term for it. We will be a new organization. We believe in life and we repudiate death.
Death is death. Life is life. Humane Pennsylvania chooses life. Choose life with us.
Whew! I sure glad I got that off my chest! I think I’m going to cancel my haircut and hang out my freak flag now. Or, I’ll just get right back to work marrying our Manifesto with our Thesis, and save some more animals.