Every year, the No Kill Advocacy Center gives an award, named after the great Henry Bergh, for those who epitomize the unwavering commitment of Bergh to save lives, even in the face of criticism and opposition. Past winners include Bonney Brown who took a community with a per capita intake rate seven times that of NYC and turned it into a No Kill community. They include Ryan Clinton who fought a sustained campaign to make Austin a No Kill Community. The target of a smear campaign by the ASPCA and its acolytes, Clinton persevered and his efforts culminated in a 90+% save rate for dogs and cats at the Austin pound. And they include Robyn Kippenberger, the former member of the New Zealand Parliament who took over as CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA and is working to make New Zealand a No Kill nation.
This year, I am soliciting nominations for my own “award,” named after Phyllis Wright. Over forty years ago, the late-Phyllis Wright, the Vice President of the Humane Society of the United States and the matriarch of the “catch and kill” paradigm, wrote in HSUS News,
I’ve put 70,000 dogs and cats to sleep… But I tell you one thing: I don’t worry about one of those animals that were put to sleep… Being dead is not cruelty to animals.
She then described how she does worry about the animals she found homes for. From that disturbing view, HSUS coined a maxim that says we should worry about saving lives but not about ending them and successfully propagated this viewpoint to shelters across the country. The essay created an emotionally acceptable pretext for killing animals: shelter workers “were now ‘putting animals to sleep’” and the charade that “killing is kindness” became a national fixture.
The “award” will be given to those who epitomize everything that is wrong with our broken animal “shelter system”: the pound directors who kill in the face of readily available alternatives they simply refuse to implement, the bureaucrats who excuse neglect and abuse in the pounds they “oversee,” or those who run organizations that fight lifesaving reforms, protecting and defending killing “shelters.”
The trophy is a model of the human heart, as it is clear that the recipients lack one when it comes to defenseless animals. You can nominate someone by telling me who they are and why they should win.
Click here to do so.