Their True Colors
October 24, 2012 by Nathan J. Winograd
A new Facebook page has started up that is dedicated to attacking me. This would be the 4th or 5th one, in addition to at least half-a-dozen websites that do. Like the others, they accuse me of being in league with puppy mills because the data shows pet overpopulation is a myth and I believe we can end the killing and we can do it today. Unlike the others, they show no restraint. In addition to showing photos of dogs they themselves killed in shelters, they have called me a “piece of shit” and they have threatened to kill my dog. I suppose I should not be surprised. If you support the killing of animals in shelters, you don’t love them. Even though it is ugly and violent and it would cause Pickles and my family unimaginable pain, to them what’s one more?
The truth is I find their argument baffling because from the animals’ perspective, the fact that pet overpopulation is a myth can only be regarded as good news. It means that the killing of animals is without any practical “justification” and we can and should be a No Kill nation today. If you love animals, how is that a bad thing? What has happened is that they have deified spay/neuter so that the desire for spay/neuter has become more important than saving animals’ lives. Why? Because they fear that if pet overpopulation is real, it will encourage puppy mills? How? Puppy mills existed even when we all collectively believed in pet overpopulation.
I once sat on a panel discussion during a conference when the panel was asked the following question: “Given that pet overpopulation is a myth, should we still fight to stop pet stores from selling puppies?” My answer was “Yes.” Because even if every shelter embraced the No Kill philosophy and the programs and services that make it possible, even if no dog or puppy was killed in a shelter again, we’d still want to close down puppy mills. You don’t have to believe in or perpetuate the lie of pet overpopulation to work on efforts to curtail harm to dogs in puppy mills. Puppy mills fuel inbreeding, provide minimal to no veterinary care, lack of adequate food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages, and cause neglect, abuse, and the killing of animals when they are no longer profitable. That is a distinct and separate harm from the fact that shelters are needlessly killing them.
The animal protection movement is a wide and varied field. While some of us are focused on stopping “shelter” abuse/killing, others of us are focused on stopping puppy mill abuse/killing, and still others are working in other areas, we are all working to prevent harm to dogs (and other animals). True dog lovers embrace the No Kill philosophy because they want to prevent harm to dogs, such as their systematic slaughter in shelters. True dog lovers also want to shut down the puppy mill trade because they want to prevent harm to dogs, such as their systematic abuse. That is ethically consistent. To claim to want to shut down puppy mills, but to ignore or fight reform efforts to stop shelter neglect, abuse, and killing (as groups like HSUS and PETA do) is not only ethically inconsistent, it is morally bankrupt. PETA claims to want to stop puppy mill abuse but will defend the exact conduct if it occurs in a shelter. HSUS claims to want to stop puppy mill abuse but will give awards to shelters that sadistically abuse animals. Neglect is neglect, abuse is abuse, killing is killing regardless of by whose hand that neglect, abuse, and killing is done. To look the other way at one because that neglect, abuse, and killing is done by “friends,” “colleagues,” or simply because the perpetrators call themselves a “humane society” is indefensible. And to the animals, there is no difference at all.
Moreover, I’ve held workshops on shutting down puppy mills or closing down their markets at every No Kill conference. I bashed the AKC in Redemption. And I believe that though dogs are not dying because of pet overpopulation, they are still dying. And as long as that is true, I believe people should adopt from a rescue or shelter. I also could not care less about maintaining breeds and never have. As far as I am concerned, if all dogs become all-mutt, that would be fine with me and probably healthier for the dogs. I’m a Heinz 57 man myself.
I suppose it comes with the territory to be attacked, though the name calling and the threats of harm to a dog who is nearly blind, needs to be carried up the stairs, and can’t hold his bladder very well is beyond the pale. If we weren’t having an impact, they wouldn’t be fighting us so viciously. And every time they do, they reveal how deeply out of touch they are with the rest of us and further sow the seeds of their own demise.
As we continue to call those kill animals and those who defend the killing out and they are publicly forced to account, they cannot effectively do so. Armed with facts, logic, and the experience proving unequivocally that pet overpopulation is a myth, No Kill activists are rapidly redefining the movement. And so they lash out, escalating their rhetoric and now even making personal threats as they become getting more and more desperate watching us as we dismantle, brick-by-brick, community-by-community, the very foundation of the “catch and kill paradigm” beneath their feet.
For further reading (others who have attacked me):
Meet Mike Stark (surrendered his own dog after his wife had a baby)
Meet Pat Dunaway (neglected her own dogs)
Meet Ardena Perry (alcoholic who drugged and killed a dog she adopted)
Meet Del Goss (three time felon)
Meet Randy DeCarlo (arrested with 1,000 drug pipes and synthetic drugs)
Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.
My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/nathanwinograd. Many people mistakenly believe that the Facebook pages at No Kill Nation and No Kill Revolution are my pages. They are not.