Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tearing Down the Wall of Denial, One Brick at a Time...

Jeez, I hate writing about sad things so often. You probably don't believe this, but I do have a sense of humour. I do laugh at things. I don't just focus on downer issues.

But part of the purpose of this Blog is to tear down, brick by brick, the Wall of Denial that so many people build up around themselves when it comes to the suffering of animals (unfortunately, this Wall of Denial often obscures the suffering of human beings as well).

One of the worst examples of this denial are those people who do not spay and neuter their pets. Granted, there's no way around the fact that there will always be a certain number of feral cats out there whose population is, at best, difficult to control.

But there are also a lot of people who don't spay and neuter. And the Wall of Denial protects them from seeing the results. Some people understand what's at stake and they're doing a great job of spaying and neutering their pets. But we need to change the "throw-away" ethos that pervades our society. We throw away everything. Old magazines. Old computers. Old TVs. Unfortunately, people and animals also get discarded. Time to tear down that Wall of Denial and show what happens - what really happens - when a life, human or animal, is tossed out, like yesterday's trash.

Well, here's a hole I'm punching into that wall. Animal shelters, as I've said on this Blog before, are constantly euthanizing cats and dogs who can't find homes.

I've discussed the Toronto Humane Society at length in the past, so I'll pick a different one. How about one in the States? Yesterday, the Raleigh County Animal Shelter in Beckley, West Virginia, received 35 cats in one day. As the local newspaper, The Register Herald, reported, "Almost all of them - and about 10 more - were euthanized that day. Shelter officials say extremely rampant overbreeding has the cat section at capacity and there is not enough room for the scores of cats coming in every day."

I know I'm sounding repetitive, but the men and women who euthanize these cats are the unsung heroes and heroines of society. They do it because they love the animals. And they only do it when the shelters are out of room and the animals can't find homes.

Jim Kearney, the adoption counselor at the Raleigh County Animal Shelter, mentioned the toll that euthanasia takes on the men and women who have to carry it out:
It’s overwhelming. Some of these are beautiful animals. It’s very sad. It’s very hard. All we end up doing all day long is taking cats back to be euthanized. There’s no alternative. We tell everyone that, if they leave a cat here, it will probably be euthanized today. There is no room for it.
How many pet owners who refuse to spay and neuter ever see the results of their irresponsibility? How many of them understand what happens on a daily basis inside of these shelters? How many know the pain, the suffering, these cats endure in their final moments? Why is the public so afraid to see the bodies of the cats piling up to be sent off and cremated? Because it's distasteful? It's the truth. And more people need to confront the truth rather than denying its very existence.

If more people could see - and feel - the tragedy of abandoned pets, then a lot of lives would probably be saved.

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