The no-kill debate has existed for many years within animal shelters, however, these shelters are coming under increasing pressure to remove their ‘kill policy’. Organisations such as The Lost Dogs’ Home, PETA, and RSPCA are inundated with thousands of neglected, lost, and abused animals each month, and struggle to find homes for each and every animal. Thus, many animals are euthanised as people around the country continue to buy and breed animals, while millions of perfectly healthy breeds perish in shelters.
This high kill rate within shelters has sparked fresh calls for a “no-kill” policy. The kill policy at Lost Dogs Home has spawned a hashtag, #LDHwearewatching, in which thousands of people vehemently criticize the organisation.
This problem, however, is highly complex. The sheer magnitude of animals surrendered to shelters far outweigh the number of people willing to adopt. In an ideal world, shelters would be empty, pet owners would be responsible, and puppy farms would not exist. But it is not an ideal world, and the very root of this problem, which continues to divide the animal welfare community, is the fact that there is a constant oversupply of animals, an abundance of inhumane puppy farms in operation, and a copious amount of irresponsible pet owners and breeders.
No, the life of a shelter animal is not nice. Animals are often kept in a concrete prison offering minimal human interaction. They endure regular, and frightening trips to the vet, and are often exposed to extreme weather. This is no fault of the shelter. The shelters are doing the best they can with the resources they have. This is the fault of the owners out there who buy animals and treat them as lesser beings, who don’t care for them; who enable this perpetual cycle of cruelty to continue.
So let’s not forget who the enemy actually is.
Rather than blaming the shelters and people who work tirelessly every day to try to humanely stem the constant flow of abused and neglected animals, perhaps we should take a deeper look at the policies and the deeply entrenched, toxic forces at work. The kill policy within shelters is a symptom of a much more dangerous cultural sickness, one where animals are mass produced to serve the whims of humanity.
There is no point in dividing the animal welfare community over kill vs no-kill shelters. We all want the best for animals, and we are all doing our utmost to make the world a better place for our animal brethren. So let’s start attacking the root of the problem.
Here is how:
• Introduce nationwide legislation requiring local councils, in all states and territories of Australia, to enforce compulsory spaying and neutering of all pet dogs and cats not owned and registered by members of an approved association or breed club as recognised by the relevant canine or feline councils of Australia.
• Close puppy farms. Puppy farms are commercial businesses who make huge profits by mass producing puppies for sale through pet shops or online. They can can house hundreds of breeding dogs on site that are confined in cages in appalling conditions for most of their lives.
• Close pet stores: Encourage local pet shops to stop selling pets, and instead use adoption programs.
• Harsher penalty for animal abusers
• Enforce background check to buy animal
• Penalties for incompetent pet ownership
• Support international spay and neuter programs
By Natalie Kyriacou, Director.