I have enormous respect for PETA but the author, Chris Holbein, of their article: Why I Won’t Work at a ‘No-Kill’ Shelter, has got it wrong in my opinion.
Chris makes the obviously valid point that it is very sad and almost inhumane to keep cats and dogs in cages for ages while they wait for an adopter. He says it is kinder to euthanize these animals. It’s kinder to end their lives. I see the point. It is a good point and it is horrible to keep dogs in cages for many months except for a 15 minute walk once a day.
These shelters must fill up at which point they can no longer accept unwanted animals. Although this is dire, it does place the system under stress and this is good. It forces people to think about irresponsible pet ownership. It forces people to find ways to improve pet ownership and reduce the number of unwanted pets. It does not, as Chris, claims brush the problem under the carpet.
But euthanasia does. If you quietly and efficiently kill all the unwanted cats and dogs you remove the problem; the problem humans have of creating unwanted pets. You make room in an instant for fresh unwanted pets and they, too, are got rid off efficiently and so the wrong is maintained almost indefinitely. There is no need to complain. Yes, people are dismayed at the mass euthanasia of healthy animals but they forget. The human memory for things they don’t want to remember is short.
But it is impossible to forget the dogs and cats languishing in shelters because they are in front of people 24/7, 365 days a year. They are a constant reminder of the failure of pet ownership which helps to force improvements.
I see it as a tap being left open. The water flows from the tap and out the plug hole. The open plug hole is euthanasia. Put the plug in and the water overflows unless you turn off the tap (the supply of unwanted cats and dogs). Change is forced to happen.
Both euthanasia and keeping cats and dogs in cages for many months is very bad. Of the two options I prefer the latter as it is more likely to bring about change for the better.
The PETA article: Why I Won’t Work at a ‘No-Kill’ Shelter | PETA