I just fell off the fence -- BIG THUMP! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,145
I just fell off the fence -- BIG THUMP!

I've been sitting on the fence about spaying the pregnant ferals. I've gone along with the 'program', which includes spaying any cat who doesn't look like birth is eminent in a matter of days. I've leaned strongly on the side of refusing to spay unless the cat appears obviously not pregnant. (Though I realize it's impossible to know unless the cat is x-rayed or actually 'opened up'.) I got some flak about not trapping four very pregnant girls in the colony I'm trapping now.

Then I read this article. THUMP! It was all I needed.


from Nathan Winograd.
All across the United States, feral cat groups, rescue groups, and No Kill shelters are spaying and neutering animals, with the ultimate goal of reducing shelter intakes and killing. In fact, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter is a core program of the No Kill Equation. Spay/neuter leads to fewer animals entering the shelter system, allowing more resources to be allocated toward saving lives. Other than leaving them alone, no-cost neutering for feral cats through a program of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) is the key to keeping them out of shelters and reducing their numbers humanely.
The vast majority of these organizations, however, also spay pregnant females. In the process, the kittens or puppies are killed. So far, few have questioned the ethics of doing so. But that doesn’t mean that as a movement we shouldn’t. Those groups that have questioned it, and are uncomfortable with the practice, still defend doing so. According to the spay/neuter coordinator of one of the nation’s largest rescue organizations:
Trapping a feral mama and kittens later can be a challenge. People who use our low-cost program might not bring in the mama cat again and her kittens for spay/neuter. And we know that a cat can become pregnant again while nursing.
The coordinator went on to say that even without this problem, the ethics of spaying pregnant animals is a question better suited for the future: “When we save the already born animals, spaying pregnant animals will become unethical because the kittens or puppies will be guaranteed a home.”
As to the first excuse, the underpinning of the No Kill philosophy is that we would never end life when that life is not suffering, and—in light of the sanctuary and hospice care movements—even that latter principle is subject to debate. A pregnant animal should be offered sanctuary in a foster home, where she can give birth, raise and wean her litter, before she—and they—are adopted into loving homes (or, in the case of a feral mom, spayed and released back to her habitat). That is the only proper and ethical thing to do.
To accept the second rationalization, we have to believe that we can’t save them all. But we can, given that pet overpopulation is a myth: With 17 million Americans looking for three million available shelter animals, the calculus isn’t even close. Moreover, these are kittens and puppies, the most “adoptable” of animals.
We also have to believe that allowing these animals to live somehow displaces those already alive, a nexus that is tenuous, at best. In other words, the mere fact that a litter of kittens is born and homes are found does not mean an identical litter of kittens at the local shelter will be killed because of it. Such cause and effect can never be determined and, in fact, does not exist. Lack of homes is not why shelters kill puppies or kittens.
As I wrote in


,
There are many reasons why shelters kill animals at this point in time, but pet overpopulation is not one of them. In the case of a small percentage of animals, the animals may be hopelessly sick or injured, or the dogs are so vicious that placing them would put adoptive families at risk.* Aside from this relatively small number of cases … shelters also kill for less merciful reasons.
They kill because they make the animals sick through sloppy cleaning and poor handling. They kill because they do not want to care for sick animals. They kill because they do not effectively use the Internet and the media to promote their pets. They kill because they think volunteers are more trouble than they are worth, even though those volunteers would help to eliminate the “need” for killing. They kill because they don’t want a foster care program. They kill because they are only open for adoption when people are at work and families have their children in school. They kill because they discourage visitors with their poor customer service. They kill because they do not help people overcome problems that can lead to increased impounds. They kill because they refuse to work with rescue groups. They kill because they haven’t embraced TNR for feral cats. They kill because they won’t socialize feral kittens. They kill because they don’t walk the dogs, which makes the dogs so highly stressed that they become “cage crazy.” They then kill them for being “cage crazy.” They kill because their shoddy tests allow them to claim the animals are “unadoptable.” They kill because their draconian laws empower them to kill.
Some kill because they are steeped in a culture of defeatism, or because they are under the thumb of regressive health or police department oversight. But they still kill. They never say, “we kill because we have accepted killing in lieu of having to put in place foster care, pet retention, volunteer, TNR, public relations, and other programs.” In short, they kill because they have failed to do what is necessary to stop killing.
Moreover, even while No Kill Advocates encourage spay/neuter, even while humane groups promote it, even while high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter is a central tenet of the No Kill Equation, this effort is a means to an end. It is not the goal itself. The goal is not “no more animals being born.” The goal is, and has always been, “no more animals being killed” (or, in the case of puppy mills, abused). Killing animals to prevent killing is not only a logical absurdity, it is patently unethical.
No matter what rationale is used to justify the killing, it can never be reconciled with the No Kill philosophy. In fact, proponents of “catch and kill” sheltering use “practical” arguments in favor of ending life all the time, such as “Killing dogs and cats is necessary because there are too many animals and not enough homes” or “Feral cats suffer on the streets and therefore killing is the compassionate option.” These are all arguments based on a calculus of life and death, the number of homes and the number of animals in shelters, and potential suffering. While such arguments are easy to dismiss because the calculus is all wrong, they are nonetheless arguments that advance expediency, over what is the right—and therefore, moral—thing to do.
Philosophically, advancing a practical over an ethical argument has long been the safe haven for those who want to justify untoward practices. Even accepting the sincerity of the claim, even if the practical calculus was correct, saving life that is not suffering is a timeless and absolute principle upon which responsible animal advocates must tailor their practices. Every action they take must be subservient to preserving life. More often, however, the practical calculus is wrong and at least historically, has been used to excuse atrocities.**
Indeed, the underpinning of the No Kill movement is that it goes beyond what is commonly assumed to be a practical necessity. It is, first and foremost, a movement of beliefs, of morality and ethics, of what our vision of compassion is now and for the future. Our success is a result of our philosophy dictating our actions and thereby prompting us to do better; to embrace more progressive, life-affirming methods of sheltering. Before many of us felt comfortable with the answer to questions of whether or not feral cats suffered on the street and whether or not No Kill was possible, we had already rejected mass killing. We had rejected practical explanations based on a “too many animals, not enough homes” calculus, or that a humane death was preferable to potential future suffering. Early in our advocacy, even if we did not know the practical alternative to killing in shelters, we knew that killing was wrong and we rejected it.
No Kill is, at its core, about the rights of, and responsibilities we have to individual animals. This tenet is summarized by one of the Guiding Principles of the U.S. No Kill Declaration:
Every animal in a shelter receives individual consideration, regardless of how many animals a shelter takes in, or whether such animals are healthy, underaged, elderly, sick, injured, traumatized, or feral.
But are No Kill and feral cat advocates living up to this principle? Our attitudes and practices regarding pregnant animals reveal a glaring contradiction. When we spay pregnant animals and the unborn kittens and puppies die, the fact that they are not yet born does not relieve our responsibility toward assuring their right to live. When we abort kittens and puppies, we are literally killing puppies and kittens.
If the kittens or puppies are viable, they must be individually killed, usually through an injection of sodium pentobarbital. Even when they are not, however, when a mother is spayed, the kittens or puppies die from anoxia (oxygen deprivation) due to lack of blood supply from the uterus once the vessels are clamped. They suffocate.
The hope is that they would be under anesthesia, just like the mother, so they would not be “aware.” However, since they are more resistant to anoxia than adults, they could theoretically start to recover from the anesthesia before they died. Granted, the recovery may last only a second or two; perhaps even a fraction of a second. Or it might not happen at all. But in the end, it does not really matter. Once dead, no one is aware of being dead—that is true by definition and is not the reason the act of killing is unethical. Killing robs an individual of their life, regardless of whether or not they are able to conceive of it beforehand. It is a violation of their most basic right.
In addition, unlike the human context, the issue is not clouded by cases of rape or incest, and there is no question about the mother’s choice because a dog or cat cannot consent. Literally speaking, we are trapping a mother against her will, cutting her open, and killing her offspring, and we claim to do so for her and their own good.
For a movement founded on the rights of the individual, ending the lives of unborn puppies and kittens is indefensible. Indeed, the more widespread No Kill becomes, the more we will find significant ethical dilemmas within our own practices and beliefs. Dilemmas that will challenge some of our deeply held convictions, which we may find—if we address them honestly—are still rooted in traditional apologia: killing for space, killing to prevent possible future suffering, killing as a population management tool: the unethical practices we thought we rejected when we challenged the status quo with our No Kill ideals. We have certainly come a long way as a movement, but we still have a long way to go.
—————

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you're a mile away and you have his shoes.


=(^.^)= Elsie
CataholicsAnonymous is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 02:07 AM
Tom Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Modesto CA
Posts: 320
I don't know where the author gets his statistics regarding 17 million Americans looking for 3 millions shelter pets that supports his argument that pet population is a myth. If Americans want kittens, the newspapers are filled with them, especially this time of year and they're FREE to ANYONE. No adoption process, no s/n required, no fee required. These are likely the same who will end up in a kill shelter later on. Or dead on the street or eating at our food bowls, pregnant with more. While I concede it does pose an ethical dlilema for a No Kill movement to abort the kittens of feral mothers. I would never abort in late stages of pregnancy but I have no problem in the early stages. Because I DO think that every kitten born deprives another of a home. Yes, everyone wants PUPPIES and KITTENS and there is an endless, endless supply of them. But what about all the older animals sitting in fosters or shelters, kill or no kill? Don't they also deserve a home? And that's if they're lucky enough to end up in a foster or a shelter. This is especially true of cats, who more easily evade capture by Animal Control than dogs.

If I were Queen of the world there would be limited breeding until all cats and dogs were guaranteed a GOOD home where they were valued members of the family and not treated like garbage to be disposed of or tied in the back yard to be forgotten and die a lonely, miserable life.

That's my opinion. For what it's worth.
tigressbythetail is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 02:19 AM
Kitten
 
Jazi&Levi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigressbythetail View Post
I don't know where the author gets his statistics regarding 17 million Americans looking for 3 millions shelter pets that supports his argument that pet population is a myth. If Americans want kittens, the newspapers are filled with them, especially this time of year and they're FREE to ANYONE. No adoption process, no s/n required, no fee required. These are likely the same who will end up in a kill shelter later on. Or dead on the street or eating at our food bowls, pregnant with more. While I concede it does pose an ethical dlilema for a No Kill movement to abort the kittens of feral mothers. I would never abort in late stages of pregnancy but I have no problem in the early stages. Because I DO think that every kitten born deprives another of a home. Yes, everyone wants PUPPIES and KITTENS and there is an endless, endless supply of them. But what about all the older animals sitting in fosters or shelters, kill or no kill? Don't they also deserve a home? And that's if they're lucky enough to end up in a foster or a shelter. This is especially true of cats, who more easily evade capture by Animal Control than dogs.

If I were Queen of the world there would be limited breeding until all cats and dogs were guaranteed a GOOD home where they were valued members of the family and not treated like garbage to be disposed of or tied in the back yard to be forgotten and die a lonely, miserable life.

That's my opinion. For what it's worth.
My thoughts exactly, I don't think there is one thing from your post that I wouldn't agree with you on!


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Jazi&Levi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 03:49 AM
Premier Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
Posts: 13,529
I appreciate Mr. Winograd's fervor, but I feel his 'facts' are sadly skewed and horribly wrong ... speaks the woman with (currently) fifteen cats, who traps, tames, socializes, fosters and fights cat overpopulation regularly from deep within the trenches because there are never enough homes for all who need them.

Demand should outrun supply (17M people looking for 3M cats) according to Mr. Winograd. But it isn't.
Because if there WERE enough homes ... there wouldn't BE homeless animals, would there? Especially according to *his* numbers.



Heidi n Q is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 06:10 AM
Tom Cat
 
Fyreflie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 422
I always find it interesting to correlate the way human beings treat animals with the way human beings treat other human beings. When human beings, as a global society, are able to treat one another humanely and see that humanity as the ONLY available option, THEN human beings will be able to treat other living creatures the same way.

In a world where we can't even be bothered to find decent homes for the millions of children who are homeless, deprived, and living in abject poverty, can we really be that surprised that people decide to kill animals rather than look after them?
Fyreflie is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 02:57 PM
Cat
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 240
Cataholics,

The way this article started made it difficult to get to the meat of it, which was in the middle and end. I too think the logic is flawed in that first section, and the second section depends on tigressbythetail marrying Leonardo DiCaprio, thereby becoming Queen of The World. Probably a long shot (sorry, tigress)

Some good points are made: and for anyone who has ever taken a side on humans deciding the deaths of others, it is a topic that is fraught with ethical complications and issues that will not be solved in our lifetimes.

However, that said: I think we each need to follow our hearts and do what we think is right based on our beliefs and our physical, emotional and financial capabilities.
suwanee is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 03:13 PM
Premier Cat
 
Mitts & Tess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Arizona
Posts: 9,659
Quote:
Originally Posted by CataholicsAnonymous View Post

Quote:
There are many reasons why shelters kill animals at this point in time, but pet overpopulation is not one of them. In the case of a small percentage of animals, the animals may be hopelessly sick or injured, or the dogs are so vicious that placing them would put adoptive families at risk.* Aside from this relatively small number of cases … shelters also kill for less merciful reasons.
They kill because they make the animals sick through sloppy cleaning and poor handling. They kill because they do not want to care for sick animals. They kill because they do not effectively use the Internet and the media to promote their pets. They kill because they think volunteers are more trouble than they are worth, even though those volunteers would help to eliminate the “need” for killing. They kill because they don’t want a foster care program. They kill because they are only open for adoption when people are at work and families have their children in school. They kill because they discourage visitors with their poor customer service. They kill because they do not help people overcome problems that can lead to increased impounds. They kill because they refuse to work with rescue groups. They kill because they haven’t embraced TNR for feral cats. They kill because they won’t socialize feral kittens. They kill because they don’t walk the dogs, which make the dogs so highly stressed that they become “cage crazy.” They then kill them for being “cage crazy.” They kill because their shoddy tests allow them to claim the animals are “unadoptable.” They kill because their draconian laws empower them to kill.
Some kill because they are steeped in a culture of defeatism, or because they are under the thumb of regressive health or police department oversight. But they still kill. They never say, “we kill because we have accepted killing in lieu of having to put in place foster care, pet retention, volunteer, TNR, public relations, and other programs.” In short, they kill because they have failed to do what is necessary to stop killing.


I’m a fan of Nathan Winograd. Do I agree with all his positions? No. But he is encouraging us to think outside the box. He is encouraging us to reorganize how we treat shelter animals and how we manage shelters, volunteers, and medical care for cats and dogs. After reading his book of essays I changed some of my perspectives. He nailed me good and I’m grateful. While we are in the trenches doing TNR and fostering we are constantly evolving from our experiences. We find how to do it better, efficiently, & effectively.

When we started our TNR group in mid 2006 we discussed every possible issue we thought wed face. We contacted AZCATS and picked their brains on how they do their TNR.
The 7 people present wanting to TNR had a history of volunteering at other shelters and finding what worked and what wasn’t working. We all bailed on a no kill shelter locally because it was riddle with politics. Everything listed above in the quote we experienced at the no kill shelter. The cats were poorly managed (even dying)and the leadership wouldn’t listen to the experienced cat rescuers!

Our group was evenly divided on do we spay a pregnant feral or not. I was the only person there who had room to take on large numbers of feral, sick, or kittens.

What I learned about feral mothers. The very young kittens who are pregnant (5-7 months old) birthed deformed kittens, had trouble delivering, didn’t want to take care of the kittens she birthed, etc. The people, who felt the ferals should be able to have their kittens never stepped forward to bottle feed, provide large kennel space for the older feral mothers to raise their young, foster and adopt out the kittens. If all goes well this is a 4-6 month effort. It’s wonderful to have an opinion but they need to step up and do what they say they believe. They didn’t

The reality of our group is it is a small numbers of volunteers and we do not have available room to take on all the pregnant mothers. It is also hard to tell if they are pregnant or not. We take on companion cats which were dumped and bring them into our homes to vet them back to health and adopt them out. We have limited space for those cats also. We all are managing on maximum capacity even over max capacity.

We took up several ferals to the low cost S/N clinic this week. They called us back and said one of the ferals was having kittens in the trap! If you’d look at this cat you wouldn’t of known it was pregnant! Now we are scrambling trying to find someone who is comfortable caring for feral mothers and understand how to socialize the kittens.

Several people who have volunteered with us have quit after awhile because you go on burn out. There is such great need, and crisis situations and it gets to you after awhile.

I have a laid back style when managing volunteers. So the people who have stepped away usually tell me they will help me if I need extra hands. But they need to be able to step back when it becomes overwhelming. I respect that and do not condemn them. That is why they will only work with me and not others groups who try to manipulate and condemn them for not helping.
Mitts & Tess is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 03:49 PM
Cat Addict
 
Carmel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 2,944
Quote:
Originally Posted by CataholicsAnonymous View Post
We also have to believe that allowing these animals to live somehow displaces those already alive, a nexus that is tenuous, at best. In other words, the mere fact that a litter of kittens is born and homes are found does not mean an identical litter of kittens at the local shelter will be killed because of it. Such cause and effect can never be determined and, in fact, does not exist. Lack of homes is not why shelters kill puppies or kittens.
Somehow this point totally went over my head, and from there I stopped reading. What is he trying to say? I think it's fairly obvious if you walk in a shelter looking for a cat and your eye catches on a feisty & cute little kitten, the lovely 6 year old cat beside it you would have adopted otherwise is still sitting there waiting for a home. That person that walked out with the kitten will not be looking for another cat for another ~15 years.

I don't agree with abortion in late stage, but if some places deem this necessary, such as they don't have enough volunteers able to work ~4 months with kittens or something like that, I am not going to stand in their way - not until the overpopulation of dogs and cats is under control, which is a long way off.

All you have to do is read about how in parts of California perfectly healthy animals that come into shelters get 72 hours before they're euthanized (which is why so many young dogs and cats are being shipping from California kill shelters to other States and even into Canada), and you know that bringing more into the world should be a very well planned operation.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Along with the dogs
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Last edited by Carmel; 04-01-2011 at 03:53 PM.
Carmel is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 03:52 PM
Cool Cat
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Utah - USA
Posts: 1,375
I agree that the supply far outruns the demand. It always seems that every Saturday on adoption day, we adopt out one cat, and get at least one (if not a couple or more!) cats surrendered to us. And a lot of times, we even get several calls during the week to have cats surrendered. Mostly it's the economy...people can't afford their pets anymore (losing homes and moving to smaller "no pet" places, can't afford any more food all the time, etc.)
The last couple months, we have had to refuse any more surrenders. We are totally full and have nowhere to put cats. All our foster homes are full, or little 2-room "sanctuary" is full (25 cats in one 500sq-ft room BARELY works...cats either hide all the time, or some other cats pick fights, because it's just too crowded).

Yeah, it's sad to kill kittens. But here's my feeling on it... if you do it right from the mother's womb, or even if they're just a few days old, there's really nothing too bad lost. They are basically living on instinct, and don't really get attached to humans and the attention they'd be given... or even not given, as Mitts pointed out. So many cats are already waiting for homes that just can't be had, it's not fair to bring even MORE cats into the world that are going to sit around in cages for days (weeks, months?) at a time. The feral cats are okay, IF they are properly cared for with food water and shelter. But even then, if a colony gets too big with only SOME cats being spayed and the rest left to bring in a new generation, that causes more problems with available resources.

I'm not saying either way is right or wrong. Just my opinion.
I'm currently trying to trap a cat that I think is pregnant... I'm going to have her spayed and the kittens aborted, because I simply don't have the financial ability to handle raising them. (and my landlord was mad at me for the last litter of 3 month old kittens I brought in to tame/care for "running all over the place making messes")

Last edited by Vivid Dawn; 04-01-2011 at 03:57 PM.
Vivid Dawn is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 03:59 PM
Premier Cat
 
Mitts & Tess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Arizona
Posts: 9,659
Some of the things Nathan Winograd promoted with thinking outside the box is to help the people who cant afford their animals to be able to keep them by having food banks for people who dont have the extra $ to feed their animals. Help with Vet bills if someone has a sick animal and feels they have to surrender it because they cant afford the med or vet visits. For those who are willing to foster in their homes have your TNR group pay for the litter, food, med, vet visits. Be available to answer all their questions so they dont feel dumped on. Find new ways to advertise and raise money for your groups. Im always searching the internet looking for grants (we have a grant writter for our group), unique fun ways to raise money- Baby showers during kitten season, do contests for best cat picture of the week with story by charging $10 a picture put it up on your website or shelter.

IF you are a shelter have your hours so people who work could come by after work to look at animals available in your shelter. Make the shelter a nice place to visit not depressing. etc etc. I wont go on and on. But to get animals into homes we have to do things differently. Not the same old tired ways we done in the past. That way we wont have to put cats down since there is no home for them.

Have any of you seen Last Chance Highway. Look at her amazing results. She inspired me!


In his book Redemption he tells how he accounts for the numbers he talks about so animals dont have to be put down. The two shelters he took the helm at has the proof that his ideas work. they were no kill and were getting animals adopted. Take a look at what the fabulous results in Austin no kill movement Whether you agree will most or some of what he says his books they are a must read for the serious animal rescue person to make you think and change. Get inspired!
Mitts & Tess is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome