This isn’t satire. That headline recently appeared on an animal shelter’s website. Does it sound misguided? Sadly, it’s the norm at animal shelters throughout the country. Perhaps if the people who attend these fundraisers watch an undercover video that illustrates the unwatchable abuse cows endure on factory farms, they may choose a more humane path. In some cases they may be aware of the lives of these animals and not care. If they know the 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 abused and neglected animals – not just the cats and dogs at their local shelter. It makes no sense to pay someone to confine, abuse, and kill a cow or pig in order to save a dog or cat.
People who work at these shelters should not eat animals and events to raise money to save animals should not serve the remains of abused 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) Ask for events that serve plant-based food as an option to ease supporters into a transition.
3) Ask your shelter to stop promoting items on menus such as chicken and bacon. It’s one thing if you hold an event at a bar and someone decides to order a chicken. It’s another if they actually promote it with the event.
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, 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 that statistics don’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 and respect that the rescues are extending their umbrella of compassion to all animals. Let’s use our voices to help every animal. Let’s respect every animal the same.