Condemns effort that saved as many as 10,000 shelters animals.
Adopted during a Just One Day event at a North Carolina shelter; PETA wanted her dead.
Just One Day is a nationwide campaign which occurs every year on June 11. The No Kill Advocacy Center and Animal Ark asked shelters nationwide to explore and experiment with alternatives to killing that have already proven so successful in those communities which have implemented them so that they, too, can end the killing of the healthy and treatable animals in their care by finding them loving, new homes instead. This year, roughly 1,200 organizations, including some of the largest animal control shelters in the nation, answered the call to participate. They put down their “euthanasia needles” and picked up cameras instead: to photograph and market animals. They reached out to rescue groups, hosted adoption events, stayed open for extended hours, and asked their communities to help them empty the shelter the good way. Last year, this effort resulted in roughly 9,000 adoptions nationwide on June 11, erasing one day’s worth of killing. This year, we hoped to save over 10,000 lives. And by all indications, we did.
In Escambia County, Florida, they had their best adoption day ever. In Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, 76 animals found a home. In San Antonio, Texas, 117 animals were placed. Similar stories occurred in shelters across the country, including shelters with historically high rates of killing and low numbers of adoptions. This is what the dog kennels looked like in Boone County, Kentucky, at the end of the day:
The number of groups participating and the number of animals finding homes was truly inspiring and showed what could be accomplished when groups come together, united by the common goal of saving lives, and laser-focus on that achievement. June 11, 2013, was a good day, a happy day, an important day, and an unqualified success: perhaps the safest day for animals in shelters in U.S. history. Thousands of animals were adopted, 1,200 shelters and rescue groups came together, adopters welcomed a new family member, the incinerators remained shuttered and the morgues stayed empty. We erased more than one day’s worth of killing in the U.S. So who could possibly oppose the effort that made it possible?
Continuing its long and sordid tradition of undermining the movement to end shelter killing, PETA–an organization which itself kills over 90 percent of the animals they take in, which has killed puppies and kittens after they promised to find them homes, which defends even abusive shelters, which fights efforts to reform killing policies, and which has called for the wholesale round up and killing of animals, including healthy ones–posted an editorial against the Just One Day campaign calling it “smoke and mirrors” and telling those who supported the effort that saved an estimated 10,000 lives to “wake up” because they were being “duped.”
While Just One Day was designed to teach participating shelters how to use innovative programs to find loving, new homes for their animals in lieu of killing, PETA wrote that shelters should be “left alone” and that the animals should be killed rather than adopted; or as PETA euphemistically calls it, “a painless exit from an uncaring world.” And although the campaign is a joint effort by the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national animal protection organization, and Animal Ark, the oldest No Kill shelter in Minnesota, PETA disingenuously implied to their membership that the Just One Day campaign and the sponsoring organizations are a front for breeders and puppy millers–“Who is behind this initiative?,” PETA asks, “Is it breeders? People who receive money from breeders?”–though how breeders would benefit from increased shelter adoptions is a non-sequitur they don’t even attempt to explain. Indeed, every animal adopted from a shelter means fewer people buying commercially bred animals, not more.
They also nonsensically ask if it is ok to “put down the needle” for animals who are sick, inured, elderly, aggressive, feral or otherwise unsocialized. They ask if it is ok to dump animals along the highways, and they ask if it is ok to crowd dogs and cats together so they get sick. Of course, none of these issues has anything to do with an adoption campaign designed to save 10,000 lives and everything to do with trying to obscure a black and white issue with extraneous, disingenuous, unrelated implications and accusations. For the sake of argument, however, let’s answer their unrelated questions: As for overcrowding, 1,200 organizations started June 12 emptier and in many cases, entirely empty as a result of their adoption campaigns of the previous day, the opposite of overcrowding; while Just One Day was about adopting animals into homes, not dumping them along the side of an interstate.
Cat kennels at Roanoke, Virginia’s animal control shelter at the end of the Just One Day adoption drive.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the answer to their first question is actually, “Yes.” It is ok to put down the needle for animals who have special needs because in as little as one percent of cases are the animals who enter our nation’s shelters so irremediably suffering and near inevitable, pending death that their killing actually qualifies as true euthanasia. The other 99%, including the old, the infirm, the feral and the unsocialized, don’t “need” death, they need individualized care. Sick animals need medicine, not an overdose of “fatal-plus,” the poison used to kill animals in shelters. Elderly animals need TLC and a warm lap, not the gas chamber. Feral cats need neuter and release, not incineration. And others need rehabilitative care until they are well enough and well behaved enough for a loving, new home. That is what shelters in the true sense of the word should be. And that is what progressive shelters are already doing.
But what is good news for people who truly care about animals is bad news for PETA, an organization whose employees and volunteers are schooled in and instructed to act upon the perverse idea that animals want to die. For three out of four Americans who believe shelters should not be permitted to kill healthy and treatable animals, proof that adoption can replace killing is cause for rejoicing. For PETA, it is cause for alarm: one more blow to the traditional “catch and kill” sheltering dogma that they have historically used as a shield to avoid accountability. Without the safety afforded in numbers by a nation full of shelters likewise slaughtering healthy and treatable animals, the perversity of PETA’s own killing, including that of puppies and kittens, becomes even more abhorrent and less difficult to explain to an increasingly informed and savvy public that is growing less and less reconciled to the killing. And so they fight any effort to reform shelters, including condemning what to anyone who truly cares about animals can only regard as a good thing: an inspiring, heartwarming, successful campaign to save the lives of 10,000 animals and introduce thousands of Americans to the animals who will become cherished members of their family.
Instead of listening to PETA, true animal lovers should celebrate as thousands of animals walked out of the shelter and into the loving arms of adopters–for Just One Day and beyond; Like this little dog, adopted on June 11 in Louisiana at a participating shelter, who danced his way into a loving, new home and the brighter future that only PETA would deny him:
Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.
Here is my story: www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=11902
And this is my vision: http://vimeo.com/48445902