Despite the fact that the number of domestic cats and dogs in America has doubled since the 1970s, the number of these animals that have been killed (‘euthanized’) at shelters since then has decreased from 16 million to as low as 1.5 million annually. Nathan Winograd, the world’s expert on no-kill animal shelters and how to save the lives of shelter animals, refers to this as “the single biggest success of the modern animal protection movement”. We should all agree.
THERE ARE MORE POSTS ON NO-KILL AFTER THIS ARTICLE.
And he explains on his website why this success has occurred. The reasons are as follows:
- The no-kill movement focuses on high-volume adoptions of shelter animals. Nathan Winograd’s concepts on how to run animal shelters to save lives have increased the number of adoptions and the percentage of people who adopt from shelters rather than purchasing pets from shops and I guess breeders.
- The second reason is that the young people who are described as Millennials and Gen X have a better approach, in general, to companion animal ownership and animal welfare. They are more likely to keep companion animals for the life of the animal. They are also more likely to integrate them into daily routines. They like to save homeless animals which translates to adopting from shelters. Consumer spending on companion animals topped $70 billion in the US for the first-time last year. It is a burgeoning marketplace. In short, modern families are more likely to treat their pets as family members and on equal footing to human family members.
- Another reason, Nathan Winograd tells us, is that before 1970 the sterilisation of pets by veterinary practices was relatively rare whereas today the operation is widely available.
- The no-kill movement has also pushed for community cat sterilisation as opposed to impounding unwanted cats and then killing them. I’m going to presume that this is a reference to TNR and the wonderful volunteers who run this method of managing feral cat colonies in America.
- Another reason according to Winograd is that there has been a change in attitude towards rehabilitating dogs who are behaviourally challenged or traumatised. I guess this means rehabilitating dogs to make them adoptable rather than killing them. And there has been a reduction in branding certain dog breeds as dangerous. Winograd says that there has been a “decline in fear-mongering about and subsequent laws banning dogs based on perceived breed”.
- And lastly but not least, there has been a change of attitude in the people who operate animal pounds and shelters. Managers have moved away from hiding behind excuses towards finding solutions and taking on the responsibilities of saving lives through the no-kill equation as Winograd calls it.
My thanks to Nathan Winograd. All American citizens who are concerned about animal welfare owe him a debt of gratitude.
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