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A Fool's Prediction on the Economy and Animals
By Kim Stallwood on Animals and Society Institute
Life is made up of little things except for when the big stuff gets in the way. It's not particularly clever to predict the economy will be a big thing in 2009. But what is thought provoking is to consider how the year will fare with respect to the economy and how animals will be treated.
The economic downturn, which I'm too scared to admit is a euphemism for the worldwide collapse of capitalism and society as we know it, is already impacting what happens to animals. I also worry about the social movement for animals. Regardless of ideological positions (e.g., rights, welfare, other) every organization of any size is already feeling the purse strings tightening. Budgets are cut. Hiring is frozen. Costs are increasing. Fundraising is more challenging.
But what's happening to the animals?
Increasing numbers of companion animals will be handed into shelters because they can no longer be afforded. Less cats and dogs will be treated by vets because the fees will be unaffordable to increasing numbers of people. Less disposable income will also mean less will be spent on going to zoos, circuses, marine displays, roadside zoos, etc. This will mean that the budgets of these animal attractions will be also adversely affected. Some will close. Others will sell off expensive, unpopular animals. Who knows what fate will be of these "surplus" animals? The answer is, of course, what it's always been: Descent down the food chain in animal facilities in the entertainment world. From "prestigious" zoo to "popular" theme park to "seen better days" roadside attractions to "hidden" canned hunts.
Thriving economies generated surplus funds for animal exploitation in all its diversity. Shrinking government budgets and redirected funds for emergencies caused by the financial crisis means less money to be spent for tax-funded animal abuse. At last, we may actually see commonsense prevail when the true costs (financial and otherwise) in animal research and factory farming rise to the surface of the debate as to where shall we spend our shrinking dollar? The combination of the economic crisis and the environmental crisis could mean that government funds are spent on directly feeding and healing people and preventing disease.
And wouldn't it also be good to see less spent on the military? Especially as global consciousness grows as face united the common threats that we ourselves created.
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