Vegetarian Discussion: Animal Shelters: Saviors Or Enablers?

Animal Shelters: Saviors Or Enablers?
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Ta
2008-05-25 12:31:39 EST
I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.

On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
to society. For example:

-- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
who actually take care of their animals.
-- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
abused, or tortured).
-- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
(yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).

On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:

-- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
-- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
-- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?

Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
and discuss the very same moral dilemma.

Thoughts?

Daniel T.
2008-05-25 14:01:53 EST
ta <padlrnc@nc.rr.com> wrote:

> I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> to society. For example:
>
> -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> who actually take care of their animals.
> -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> abused, or tortured).
> -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> Thoughts?

Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't bought
on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an out" would stop
them. After all, whim buying happened long before shelters existed.

IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that can't *be*
solved.

Wordsmith
2008-05-25 14:46:44 EST
On May 25, 12:01 pm, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> > On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> > stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> > to society. For example:
>
> > -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> > who actually take care of their animals.
> > -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> > attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> > abused, or tortured).
> > -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> > be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> > (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> > alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> > On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> > effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> > ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> > -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> > neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> > that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> > -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> > and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> > problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> > -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> > in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> > forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> > that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> > the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> > the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> > effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> > forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> > Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> > and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> > Thoughts?
>
> Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't bought
> on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an out" would stop
> them. After all, whim buying happened long before shelters existed.
>
> IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that can't *be*
> solved.

Well, not solved short of species extinction.

W : (

Ta
2008-05-25 18:34:07 EST
On May 25, 2:01 pm, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> > On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> > stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> > to society. For example:
>
> > -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> > who actually take care of their animals.
> > -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> > attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> > abused, or tortured).
> > -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> > be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> > (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> > alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> > On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> > effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> > ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> > -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> > neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> > that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> > -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> > and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> > problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> > -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> > in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> > forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> > that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> > the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> > the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> > effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> > forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> > Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> > and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> > Thoughts?
>
> Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't bought
> on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an out" would stop
> them. After all, whim buying happened long before shelters existed.
>
> IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that can't *be*
> solved.

If pets were spayed and neutered, the vast majority of shelter animals
wouldn't be there. So it's largely an ignorance thing, which is really
a poverty thing (there is definitely a correlation between
socioeconomic status and spaying/neutering practice and animal abuse/
neglect). That's where the underlying problem lies imo.

So while I agree, there will always be whim buying (perhaps I over-
emphasized the importance of that in my original post), if there is no
place to drop off your puppy, then you are forced to deal with the
problem yourself. People neglect their responsibilities because they
can.

2008-05-25 18:58:09 EST
On May 26, 2:31 am, ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> to society. For example:
>
> -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> who actually take care of their animals.
> -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> abused, or tortured).
> -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> Thoughts?

You illustrate the whole subject of 'thoughts' very well. Ther go
around in circles.

BOfL

2008-05-25 19:00:01 EST
On May 26, 8:34 am, ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> On May 25, 2:01 pm, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > > I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> > > On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> > > stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> > > to society. For example:
>
> > > -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> > > who actually take care of their animals.
> > > -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> > > attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> > > abused, or tortured).
> > > -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> > > be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> > > (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> > > alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> > > On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> > > effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> > > ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> > > -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> > > neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> > > that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> > > -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> > > and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> > > problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> > > -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> > > in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> > > forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> > > that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> > > the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> > > the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> > > effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> > > forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> > > Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> > > and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> > > Thoughts?
>
> > Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't bought
> > on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an out" would stop
> > them. After all, whim buying happened long before shelters existed.
>
> > IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that can't *be*
> > solved.
>
> If pets were spayed and neutered, the vast majority of shelter animals
> wouldn't be there. So it's largely an ignorance thing, which is really
> a poverty thing (there is definitely a correlation between
> socioeconomic status and spaying/neutering practice and animal abuse/
> neglect). That's where the underlying problem lies imo.
>
> So while I agree, there will always be whim buying (perhaps I over-
> emphasized the importance of that in my original post), if there is no
> place to drop off your puppy, then you are forced to deal with the
> problem yourself. People neglect their responsibilities because they
> can.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

There is alwqays a price to pay...

BOfL

Daniel T.
2008-05-25 19:25:01 EST
ta <padlrnc@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> On May 25, 2:01 pm, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> > ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:

> > > I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
> > >
> > > On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that
> > > takes in stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a
> > > valuable service to society.
> > > [snip]
> > > On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended
> > > secondary effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on
> > > the part of the ignorant/uninformed and abusive.
> > > [snip]
> > > Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with
> > > "human" and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
> > >
> > > Thoughts?
> >
> > Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't
> > bought on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an
> > out" would stop them. After all, whim buying happened long before
> > shelters existed.
> >
> > IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that
> > can't *be* solved.
>
> If pets were spayed and neutered, the vast majority of shelter
> animals wouldn't be there. So it's largely an ignorance thing,
> which is really a poverty thing (there is definitely a correlation
> between socioeconomic status and spaying/neutering practice and
> animal abuse/ neglect). That's where the underlying problem lies
> imo.

I have never heard of any statistics along those lines. It seems to me
though that poor people rarely can afford to purchase pets except from
shelters, and all of those animals are altered (spayed/neutered.) No, it
seems to me that most of the animals in the shelters come from people
who aren't poor.

> So while I agree, there will always be whim buying (perhaps I over-
> emphasized the importance of that in my original post),

I don't think you did. People who purchase animals with deliberation
know the issues involved with pet over-population and puppy mills and
such... They are less likely to "feed the shelters" as it were.

> ... if there is no place to drop off your puppy, then you are
> forced to deal with the problem yourself. People neglect their
> responsibilities because they can.

People can neglect their responsibilities whether a shelter exists or
not. Hence the reason that dogs and cats are found abandoned on a
regular basis. I don't see why you would try to put the blame on the
issue on the people who are rounding them up. In short, it seems
inappropriate to claim that people abandon pets *because* shelters exist.

Mr.Smartypants
2008-05-25 19:50:43 EST
On May 26, 9:25 am, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > On May 25, 2:01 pm, "Daniel T." <danie...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> > > ta <padl...@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > > > I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> > > > On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that
> > > > takes in stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a
> > > > valuable service to society.
> > > > [snip]
> > > > On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended
> > > > secondary effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on
> > > > the part of the ignorant/uninformed and abusive.
> > > > [snip]
> > > > Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with
> > > > "human" and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> > > > Thoughts?
>
> > > Of course I think animals would be better off if puppies weren't
> > > bought on a whim, but I don't see how refusing to "give them an
> > > out" would stop them. After all, whim buying happened long before
> > > shelters existed.
>
> > > IMHO, shelters are a response to an "underlying problem" that
> > > can't *be* solved.
>
> > If pets were spayed and neutered, the vast majority of shelter
> > animals wouldn't be there. So it's largely an ignorance thing,
> > which is really a poverty thing (there is definitely a correlation
> > between socioeconomic status and spaying/neutering practice and
> > animal abuse/ neglect). That's where the underlying problem lies
> > imo.
>
> I have never heard of any statistics along those lines. It seems to me
> though that poor people rarely can afford to purchase pets except from
> shelters, and all of those animals are altered (spayed/neutered.) No, it
> seems to me that most of the animals in the shelters come from people
> who aren't poor.
>
> > So while I agree, there will always be whim buying (perhaps I over-
> > emphasized the importance of that in my original post),
>
> I don't think you did. People who purchase animals with deliberation
> know the issues involved with pet over-population and puppy mills and
> such... They are less likely to "feed the shelters" as it were.
>
> > ... if there is no place to drop off your puppy, then you are
> > forced to deal with the problem yourself. People neglect their
> > responsibilities because they can.
>
> People can neglect their responsibilities whether a shelter exists or
> not. Hence the reason that dogs and cats are found abandoned on a
> regular basis. I don't see why you would try to put the blame on the
> issue on the people who are rounding them up. In short, it seems
> inappropriate to claim that people abandon pets *because* shelters exist.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -



When I was growing up we lived in a small town of about 800 people. I
asked my Dad if we could get a dog. There were very few dogs in town.
He said "go play with someone's dog if you want a dog to play with. We
don't want everyone to have a dog because they are nothing but trouble
in town."

There were very few cats too. Mostly owned by old ladies.

Common sense seemed to thrive in those days.


Leechap
2008-05-26 03:09:47 EST
"ta" <padlrnc@nc.rr.com> wrote
>I have mixed feelings about animal shelters.
>
> On the one hand, it would appear that any organization that takes in
> stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals is providing a valuable service
> to society. For example:
>
> -- they take unwanted animals and attempt to place them with families
> who actually take care of their animals.
> -- they reduce suffering and pain by providing shelter, food, and
> attention where they otherwise had none (or worse, were neglected,
> abused, or tortured).
> -- they provide the service of euthanizing animals that either cannot
> be placed or have irreparable behavioral or physical health problems
> (yes, killing an animal *is* providing a valuable service when the
> alternative is a life full of pain and suffering).
>
> On the other hand, shelters also (even if as an unintended secondary
> effect) enable the continued undesirable behaviour on the part of the
> ignorant/uninformed and abusive. For example:
>
> -- if someone buys a puppy on a whim, and then later decides to
> neglect their responsibility as a caretaker, animal shelters provide
> that person an out. The shelter effectively acts as as an enabler.
> -- although shelters do alleviate the immediate suffering that strays
> and other animals experience, they also do not address the root
> problems, and are therefore part of the ongoing problem.
> -- if shelters did not exist, animal suffering would probably increase
> in the short-term, but in the long term, wouldn't society then be
> forced to deal with the underlying problems of pet overpopulation? In
> that sense, aren't shelters actually covering up the problem by hiding
> the true costs to society, and therefore doing more harm than good in
> the long run? That is, if there were no animal shelters, wouldn't the
> effects of the problem become more obvious and immediate, thereby
> forcing society to deal with the underlying root causes?
>
> Note: one could just as easily replace the word "animal" with "human"
> and discuss the very same moral dilemma.
>
> Thoughts?


Both, saviors and enablers, it's one of life's rotten little ironies. Before
there were shelters, people just let unwanted pets run away, dropped them
somewhere or killed them, wouldn't want to go back to that.






Leechap
2008-05-26 03:15:16 EST
"Daniel T." <daniel_t@earthlink.net> wrote
> it seems
> inappropriate to claim that people abandon pets *because* shelters exist.

It's not that people think, "Since there's a shelter I think I'll take
Skippy and put him there", its not THAT causal, but if they're unhappy with
an animal, a shelter offers a relatively guilt-free alternative. If shelters
weren't available many people would pursue other options such as addressing
the problems or learning to live with them rather than giving up on the pet.


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