This isn’t satire. That headline recently appeared on an animal shelter’s website. Does it sound misguided? Sadly, it’s the norm at many animal shelters throughout the country. Perhaps if the people who attend these fundraisers watch an undercover video that illustrates the unwatchable abuse cows endure as people grind them into food, they may choose a more humane path. Tragically, in many cases, people are aware of the lives of these animals and continue to put their own wants ahead of their welfare. If they know the devastating truth about animal agriculture and that eating animals isn’t necessary, it’s important for us to show them the hypocrisy in criticizing people who abuse dogs while paying people to abuse cows.
Thousands of dedicated advocates work tirelessly, often as volunteers, to save dogs and cats. We applaud them for it. They care deeply about finding these animals safe homes. They walk dogs, donate food and other supplies, pay for surgeries, and raise awareness about adopting from shelters instead of buying from breeders and pet stores that order their dogs from puppy mills. I’ve seen firsthand for many years the work they do and the lives they save.
At the same time, people who advocate for all animals would be remiss if they did not encourage these activists to show compassion for all animals – not just the cats and dogs at their local shelter. It makes no sense to pay someone to confine, exploit, abuse, and kill a cow or pig in order to save a dog or cat.
People who work in animal rescue should not eat animals and events to raise money to save animals should not serve the remains of animals. The intent of this message is not to degrade the importance of the work people do at shelters but rather to suggest it doesn’t have to be done at the expense of other animals.
A cow is a pig is a chicken is a cat is a dog. They’re all sentient beings – they all feel pain, they all get scared, they all love their families, they all like to play, they all have the right to live their lives freely, and they all matter. We don’t need to exploit, wear, test on, or eat any of them to survive.
Please consider sharing the following tips with your local animal shelter in order to help them promote a message of compassion and mercy for all animals:
1) Ask them to host animal-friendly events that only serve plant-based food.
2) If they resist #1, ask for events that serve plant-based food as a prominent option to ease supporters into a transition and to illustrate to the shelter that people will attend events with delicious plant-based food.
3) Ask your shelter to stop promoting items on menus such as chicken and bacon in their fundraising advertisements. It’s one thing if they hold an event at a bar and someone decides to order a chicken. It’s another if they actually promote eating an abused, confined, and killed animal on their event page.
4) Offer to host a barbecue with plant-based meats such as Gardein and Beyond Meat and introduce them to products such as Daiya cheese, So Delicious ice cream, Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, and other veg options.
The excuse many shelters provide is that if they don’t host events serving chicken, bacon, and hamburgers, people won’t attend yet reality doesn’t support that claim. Dog and wildlife shelters throughout the country including our very own South Florida Wildlife Center are hosting veg-only fundraisers with enormous success. In fact, these shelters have reported that their supporters have quickly embraced the idea, even those who otherwise eat animals, and respect that the rescues are extending their umbrella of compassion to all animals. Let’s use our voices to help every animal and unite in this common cause.