Animals In Print
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20 November 2010 Issue

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The Lethal Hypocrisy Of The So Called "Humane, Animal Welfare" Movement ~Ed Duvin

We can all use a reminder of what our job, mission, and promise is: To SAVE the lives of our fellow precious living souls (Cats and dogs):

Those who have strayed from these ideals need to have a chemical reaction in their brain (A realization) that killing is NOT ethical, NOT humane, but IS cruel.

It is my hope that this email will trigger that chemical reaction in the brain, and that this will allow those who murder animals, to see from a distance, the horror, hypocrisy and murder that they are engaging in...their excuses, ignorance, arrogance and SPECIESISM (The REAL cause of the killing) notwithstanding. It is my hope that they will admit that they're wrong and that they'll stop the killing. If they truly love cats and dogs, the killing will stop.

This says it all, folks:

"Instead of recognizing our movement's historical and contemporary role in this holocaust, many leaders continue to rationalize it on the basis of a "humane" death being preferable to a "miserable" life, further arguing that we are best able to provide this "merciful" end.

Desperate humans are grievously suffering by the tens of millions all over the world, but who can imagine relief agencies endorsing systematic euthanasia as an acceptable policy.

A vastly different ethic applies for companion animals, however, and most of our movement remains silent. The key word is "suffering," as a generation of humane leaders were taught that any act, even killing millions of healthy beings‚ was compassionate if, in their infinite wisdom, it prevented further suffering. To buffer this arrogant and anthropomorphic position, they label those who philosophically and ethically challenge them as insensitive to animals starving or spending years in a cage. Let no one think that I'm embracing animal "collectors," as these troubled individuals are unable to take proper care of themselves, let alone other beings; however, when Bentham posed the crucial question as to whether animals can suffer, he hardly had mass killing in mind as an antidote to prevent that suffering!

I have written ad infinitum that the salient issue is not suffering, but a deadly form of human ignorance that presumes "killing them kindly" is preferable to what we all face: a life fraught with uncertainties, grave risks, and anguish‚ as none of us escapes alive from this earth. All sentient beings‚ both wild and domesticated‚ suffer interminably and were we to presume that suffering is the preeminent criterion for living or dying, then the human species would vanish in a fortnight.

As Pope Leo XIII reminded us, "To suffer and to endure is the lot of humanity." No sane person wants to see humans or nonhumans suffer ‚least of all those of us in life-affirming movements‚ and certainly there comes a time, such as with the incurably ill, when many people believe euthanasia is a desirable option‚ myself among them.

However, that is fundamentally different from one species determining the fate of another species by a standard it does not apply to itself.

Deciding that death for other beings is preferable to a risk-filled life is not euthanasia in its traditional form, but rather a lethal manifestation of speciesism that projects our own fears and values onto another species, and then proclaims‚ as though we were omniscient gods‚ that death is our loving "gift" to them. We have no right to condemn healthy companion animals based on our limited understanding of their realities, as our mission should be exactly the same as children's advocates: Establish more temporary safe havens, find additional permanent homes, and, most importantly, develop programs that reduce the number of homeless. Do countless children suffer for many years trapped in overcrowded and substandard orphanages?

Of course, as do refugees and millions upon millions of other displaced people, and this suffering is a horrendous tragedy. However, compassionate people seek to remedy these problems through addressing the fundamental causes, not killing the victims‚ and that's what our movement should have been doing since Bergh founded the first SPCA in 1866. If any of our movement's leaders were locked in a tiny cell for many months, facing a precarious future, what would they prefer for themselves and their loved ones: a merciful death or enduring the terror and suffering in hopes of being released? Is there any doubt that, regardless of the risks, they would take any chance to survive over a quick and certain death‚ the same chance so readily denied to millions of homeless companion animals?

Schweitzer's "will-to-live," which exists in all life forms, is being desecrated by our movement in the name of "kindness."

A recent issue of the leading shelter publication spared no effort in denigrating progressive programs to support feral cats. The thrust of this dogmatic criticism was that euthanasia is preferable to neuter-and-release programs, claiming such programs expose ferals to the risk of "terrifying lives and tragic deaths." Here again, we see the "kill, kill, kill" mentality‚ arrogantly presuming that certain death is a kinder fate for ferals than uncertain life.

How ironic, as Thoreau pointed out, that the most desperate lives are lived quietly by humans, and yet no one is euthanizing us for our own protection!

~Ed Duvin, often referred to as the "father" of the no-kill movement, is known for his writing and public speaking on the humane movement .

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Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane [email protected]

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