Governor wants California to be a no-kill animal shelter state

Governor Gavin Newsom has dedicated $50 million to the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to give California’s animal shelters the training and resources that they need to meet the state’s no-kill goal in five years. This is the announcement on the Twitter feed of the Office of the Governor of California (see below).

California going no-kill
California going no-kill? Tweet announcement by the Governor’s office. Note: this is a screenshot not the actual post.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

For the sake of clarity, although there is a degree of elasticity in the term ‘no-kill animal shelter’ it essentially means that at least 90% of all adoptable animals are re-homed rather than euthanised. The elasticity comes from the interpretation by shelter staff of the word ‘adoptable’. They decide but do they decide well and fairly? Sometimes cats and dogs can become unadoptable only by virtue of the fact that they are at a shelter because they are inherently stressful places resulting in behavioural issues which lead to assessments of bad behaviour.

That said, this is good news for animal advocates. The California Globe reports that California would become the third no-kill animal shelter state if they achieve this aim.

The likelihood of the target being achieved is supported by history as in 1998 an estimated 500,000 animals were euthanised at California’s animal shelters whereas nowadays the number is one-fifth of that number at 100,000.

Some commenters are complaining that taxpayers’ money can be better spent. They want it spent on people not animals. For instance a lawyer and state budget watchdog, Peter Dewey said:

He’s ignoring the bulk of California. No-kill shelters aren’t helping anyone in particular. People are thinking with their heart, and it won’t eliminate the problem. t’s just voter pandering to animal lovers while others suffer and can’t pay their rent or can’t afford their bills.

Clearly Governor Newsom wants to place some focus on animal welfare. I think that you will find that his policy decision is well received by the majority of Californians (and internationally) and it might go some way towards encouraging other states to try and follow suit.

CNN reported on 11th August 2019 that Delaware was the first and only no-kill state. There is a trend towards no-kill. There is a wider trend across the whole of the USA towards improved animal welfare which is what you’d expect as society becomes more refined.

Although it is generally agreed that the policy of no-kill is laudable, there are detractors such has PETA. They argue that society has to deal with the overproduction of unwanted cats before they operate no-kill as ‘the results are often far worse for animals than a peaceful death through euthanasia’.


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