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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The despicable disposability of pets

Humans have used animals since the “cavemen” era starting as food and clothing. In later years they were bred for specific work and services. Today they are used by laboratories for research. And that is only the beginning to our “Despicable Disposability of Pets” problem. Since animals are not widely regarded to have the ability to understand or reason why something is happening to them, most humans take the position that they can do with or treat them in any manner they please.

“We seem to live in a society where people are not held responsible for their pets,” a quote from animal advocates Carol-Hawn Miller and Cindy Liggett in the Anchorage Daily News. This is confirmed by the American Humane Society reporting that 8 million strays and unwanted animals end up in shelters across the country each year; 3.7 million must be euthanized.

Two cases in point. The first several years ago where school principal, Wade Pilloud shot and killed two orphaned kittens at his school in Indus, Minnesota. He said he shot them to prevent suffering and starvation. In retrospect, it is obvious the message Pilloud’s pupils received is that animals are disposable. And then he made the stupid statement: “the shooting endangered no one,” meaning faculty or students.

How about the kittens? Is this less than a human being so crass that he doesn’t understand what he did to these innocent animals who only wanted to live out there lives with someone who would love them, much less traumatize pupils with this violent behavior? He resigned as principal, but more important, he had already resigned as a human being.

In the second case, Gary Korkuk of Buffalo, New York decided to marinate his 4-year-old cat, Navarro, in oil, crushed red pepper and chili peppers. First Korkuk said it was because he was ill-tempered. Later he told police, who had stopped him for a traffic violation and heard the animal meowing in the trunk, that he was going to cook Navarro. He was charged with cruelty and released. The man also made the statement his male cat was pregnant. Navarro is now all cleaned up and ready for adoption.

The American Humane Assn. says we need to affect a “cultural change,” which involves individual understanding of the responsibilities and consequences of having a pet. That will take some doing, but the animal rights issue has taken on strength recently and we must not let it falter.

Beth Harrison, Phoenix, Arizona animal activist, contributed to this article

Photos compliments Creative Commons

More on disposable animals tomorrow.

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