I am thinking mainly about feral cats. The dispossessed cats of the world. They don’t deserve their plight. We are to blame and the better off amongst us have a moral duty to do something about it and I am talking about humane action funded by the wealthy.
In general, it could be argued that the rich are less likely to help the vulnerable and needy because they are more self-obsessed and concerned about getting richer and indulging in materialistic pastimes while the poorer amongst us are generally more sensitive to the needs of others because of personal experiences.
But the rich have the wherewithal to achieve more in alleviating the suffering amongst stray and feral cats. Whenever we read stories about people helping feral cats through TNR programs they are invariably your average person with a tender heart. They often have limited resources and make personal sacrifices to assist these unwanted cats.
When did we last hear of a rich person stepping in and assisting with funding and hands-on work? I never have and I have read tons of articles about feral cats and TNR. Most often the well off complain about TNR programs. They want feral and stray cats eliminated as they say that they spoil the amenity of the area. They’d prefer to brush the “problem” under the carpet. Feral cats get in the way of their glossy lifestyle.
There was a study recently about rich shoppers being less likely to help a stranger. People who had just shopped in a designer store were much less likely to go to the assistance of a stranger in need. Thirty-five percent of well-off shoppers (in a high class stereo) helped a stranger in need compared to 77.5% of people who were shopping in an ordinary street.
Materialism can get in the way of altruism. Tending to animals in need is a strong form of altruism. We need to see more of it from the well off. It’ll do them good, it will ground them, it will do the cats good and it will help create a bit more equality in the world where it is becoming more and more of problem in society.
John Doe is sick of society’s inequalities and how the rich are above the law or play the rules to increase the divide between them and the rest.
“Materialistic reminders may have increased self-enhancement and competitive values which in turn would decrease trusting and benevolent behaviour and a sense of being concerned about and connected to other people…” – the researchers – published in Social Influence
P.S. I have deliberately used the word “generally” in describing the inaction of better off. There are clearly some well off people who are indeed concerned about animal and feral cat welfare.