It's all been said before. Nothing will change without a major overhaul not only in the 'system'...but in the way we allow our money to be spent, how we think, and what changes we're willing allow to occur in how we live our lives. Not only are we sealing our own fate, but that of our fellow inhabitants of the planet..
We see the pictures splashed across the internet daily. Social media websites screaming out, begging for countless lives to be spared, often at virtually the last minute. Across the U.S. and overseas. Then comes the finger pointing. Animal shelters being portrayed as merciless unfeeling killing machines. News stories about the 'shelter' horrors and cruelties perpetrated on often sick, helpless, homeless, abandoned pets and we sicken inside wondering how is this possible?
Every year, America's long standing tradition, the Super Bowl spends millions an hour, without a giving it second thought. Advertising time on this 'big day' can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars for all but moments in time. We have seemingly endless funds for sometimes questionable entertainment; television, movies, music, video games and more. We claim allegiance to our beloved pets, but might we pass up maybe one movie, concert, gourmet meal, or ballgame so that the next morning an animal might still be alive somewhere?
The people we put into office, supposedly to “manage” our city, county, and state interests can turn around and spend (or perhaps waste) taxpayer dollars on questionable, potentially non-essential things, some of which would make even an uneducated, uniformed, totally apathetic soul grimace. The endless perks, pay raises, bonuses go on and on. More and more frequently, scandals appear in the news; city, county and state officials being exposed for everything from infidelity to extortion, to misappropriation of funds and worse.
Our pets are important to us, but should they be regarded as “second class citizens?"
Animal lovers and others alike first tend to lash out against the 'cruel and inhumane practices' of animal shelters everywhere, painting a gruesome picture of shelter administrators as monsters with no feelings, bent on killing as an easy solution to a critical pet overpopulation problem. Animal rescue groups target these facilities and their staffs, while trying raise awareness to what is a seriously underestimated problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. Mistakenly, the 'big picture' is at least in part overlooked in the often emotional “heat of the moment” – a part of this being that animal 'shelters' have become critically underfunded and understaffed. A more mature approach to understanding this would be to classify it as a large-scale economic, cultural and societal problem. As we all know, conditions have changed drastically in the U.S. over the past several decades, on multiple levels.
What about our own individual roles, responsibilities and contribution in this scenario? Statistics seem to point out that the biggest contributor to approximate shelter euthanasia averages in the 70 – 90% range is uncontrolled or poorly controlled animal and pet reproduction. We just don't seem to get it, mathematics tell the story. One unaltered female dog and her off-spring can reproduce 67,000 dogs in only 6 years!!! One unaltered female cat and her off-spring who can start reproducing as early as 4 months old can reproduce 420,000 cats in only 7 years!Now think of the count if you put 5, 10, 20, 50 or a couple hundred female dogs & cats into this equation. The numbers are off the charts and only astronomically getting higher!
This, in association with the all to common perception of pets as being 'disposable' clearly puts the picture into perspective. While these things have been pointed out over and over, we continue to blind ourselves to the seriousness and reality of the total equation. Instead many of us have become simply “numbed” to the chronic nature of pet overpopulation, accepting it as a now established norm. It continues to be emphasized—the importance of spaying and neutering pets can begin to impact this 'emergency.'
But what many fail to realize, is that animal rescue groups, which fight furiously to save lives day in and day our are up against serious and overwhelming odds, and it's not getting better. Like so many dedicated groups and individuals, their efforts are all too frequently in vain, and worse yet, taken for granted. What will it take to bring about change? Spaying and neutering is the first, most obvious and most (cost) effective approach to beginning to solve this problem, yet attitudes aren't changing rapidly enough to keep up with the problem.
A visit to a local animal shelter is and will always be suggested as another measure to increase one's understanding and awareness, but in the final analysis, it is simply a matter of choice. Not choosing to act responsibly IS making a choice...and unless and until a more united, collective choice, commitment and effort is made to begin to solve this problem, the horrors, suffering, tragedies will continue. Rescue efforts will never cease, but in all probability, for every ten successful rescues, there will be perhaps three or four or more untimely deaths. These figures should not be acceptable in this nation, the so-called greatest nation on earth.