What’s in a name? The Texas Humane Legislation Network reveals not much, as an organization supposedly dedicated to “humane legislation” comes out in opposition to one of the most significant animal protection bills ever introduced in the state.
As No Kill advocates rejoice and thousands upon thousands of animal lovers throughout Texas flood their legislators with calls of support for the Texas Companion Animal Protection Act which would ban the gas chamber, end convenience killing, mandate collaboration with rescue organizations, and much more, the THLN just released their statement of opposition because they were not consulted on the bill.
Calling for shelters to continue gassing animals, to continue killing in the face of a rescue alternative, and more, THLN’s position reveals sour grapes, stunning hubris, and a serious case of misplaced priorities. Advocates should demand a basis for their opposition and ask THLN the following pointed questions:
- Do you support the gas chamber which CAPA would ban?
- Do you support convenience killing (killing despite empty cages) which CAPA would ban?
- Do you support retribution killing (killing despite a rescue alternative) which CAPA would ban?
- Do you support killing unweaned kittens and puppies despite a foster care option which CAPA would ban?
- Do you support killing animals based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age, and color which CAPA would ban?
Because these, and others, are the long overdue changes that Texas CAPA would mandate. And the animals of Texas—and the people of Texas who love them—deserve shelters that save lives, not needlessly end them. They deserve shelters that follow the simple common sense steps in CAPA that most people would be shocked to learn are not already standard operating procedures at the shelters they fund through their tax and philanthropic dollars.
We have known how to end the killing now for over a decade. And that model is succeeding throughout the country. The fact that the THLN is not up to date on what those issues are does not mean that animals should continue to be gassed until they figure it out. Moreover, if they have not done so in a decade, there is little chance they will get up to speed over the next two years.* In reality, what they desire is a two-year delay, not to study the issue, but to have us sit on our hands while they mobilize the very agencies that the bill seeks to regulate into opposition or while they, like the ASPCA in New York, offer a watered down Trojan horse of a bill.
Texas CAPA seeks implementation of the programs and services that allowed Austin, Texas to save 92% of dogs and cats. If the THLN was true to its mission, they would have paid attention to what was going on in Austin—the exciting, cutting edge developments that the No Kill movement has brought to the field of animal protection—and would thus embrace H.B. 3450. But they are not interested. While Austin was building a bridge to a life-affirming future for shelter animals, THLN was busy protecting those digging trenches to the past. At Dallas Animal Services last May, every single employee stood by while a cat stuck in a wall was allowed to slowly die of dehydration and starvation. When a THLN chapter president asked a member of the Dallas Animal Control Advisory Commission which is supposed to provide oversight of the shelter how long Commissioners knew the cat was stuck in the wall before the cat died to learn why they did nothing, she was fired from THLN for simply asking the question. In other words, while they shield those who sat idly by while a cat starved to death, they fight those who want to save cats.
Shelter killing is the leading cause of death for healthy animals in Texas. If THLN wanted to truly help animals, they would be working as feverishly as No Kill advocates to see that the lifesaving protocols that have proven so successful in Austin and elsewhere become standard operating procedure in shelters throughout the state. But they are not sincere. Once again, another supposed animal protection organization serves as an advocate for people at killing shelters, rather than what their mission is supposed to be—working to save the lives of the animals at those shelters.
Legislation which forces the implementation of the No Kill Equation is the end goal of this movement. Taking away the discretion that allows shelters to kill in the face of readily available lifesaving alternatives is the only way we can actually fix the problem of shelter killing which animal protection groups like THLN have been claiming for decades they want to do. Now, when the proven means to actually achieve that goal have been discovered, and the opportunity to codify those changes into law and save thousands of animals every year as a result is at hand, they sing a very different tune. Slow down, wait, we need consensus, not now, and how dare you move forward without our approval.
A new generation of activists in Texas have moved beyond the piecemeal, stymieing gradualism of the past—a past represented by groups like THLN who have become cheerleaders and advocates of the very institutions they should be fighting on behalf of animals. The rules are changing, the leaders are changing, and as thousands of animal loving Texans champion our cause, tomorrow looks very bright indeed. Welcome to the future, THLN. Now join the cause, or get out of our way. The animals need us now, and we aren’t about to slow down for you.
* Because the Texas legislature meets every other year, animals would continue to be needless gassed to death for at least two more years if THLN gets its way.
If you support the law, sign the petition in favor of CAPA by clicking here.