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On Project Treadstone and Welfare, OED-Style

Project Treadstone

If anyone in Palm Beach County wants to get involved in the Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) of feral cats, now is the time, as the county's Spay Shuttle is back in business (but for a whopping $40/cat rather than the original $15), and Pahokee ($25/cat) is open as well. Appointments must be made, and several may be obtained for each day (the person who schedules me can get up to 10 per day, but I don't think Trapper Man can get 10 cats/day. He can get four, though, so we're sticking with four. Last week he trapped three pregnant females and one male and took pictures of them which I hope to get.) It's amazing how easy and relatively inexpensive it is when you get buy-in from a couple of people willing to do just one part of the job or contribute $10. Of the 20 cats TNR'd so far I've had to pay about $150. And though I did almost all of the work at the start, I'm frankly not sure why I'm even involved right now. Last week I did nothing but make a couple of phone calls, and I might have to kick in some cash.

I'm proud to say that Project Treadstone is a nearly-well-oiled machine thanks to the compassion and willingness to help that I have encountered by almost everyone I've encountered regarding the cats at the site.


Angus has requested the Oxford English Dictionary's description of the history of the word welfare.

 1. a. The state or condition of doing or being well; good fortune, happiness, or well-being (of a person, community, or thing); thriving or successful progress in life, prosperity.

 1303 R. BRUNNE Handl. Synne 3928 yf ou euer haddyst sorow oer kare Of y neghëburs welfare. c1369 CHAUCER Dethe Blaunche (Fairf.) 582 My lyfe, my lustes, be me loothe, For al welfare and I be wroothe.   . . .  1718 Free-thinker No. 65. 71 It was one continued Series of Actions, for the Welfare of the People. . . .  1847 TENNYSON Princess III. 264 They know not, cannot guess How much their welfare is a passion to us. 1892 Weekly Reporter 17 Dec. 97/1 The welfare of the child religious, moral, and social, as well as physical and pecuniaryis the paramount consideration for the court.

    b. As the name of a ship. Obs.

1310 Rot. Scotiæ 90/1 Will's le Fisshere de Gravesiende mag'r navis que vocatur la Welefare de Westm'.

    2. A source of well-being or happiness; pl. the good things of life. Obs.

c1369 CHAUCER Dethe Blaunche 1040 For certes she was..My worldes welfare and my goddesse. c1374 Troylus IV. 228 Lyth Troylus byraft of eche welfare I-bounde in e blake bark of care. c1440 Alphabet of Tales 450 Som tyme er was a knyght at lefte all his possessions & his wurshuppis and his welefaris, and made hym a monk.

    3.    a. Good cheer, good living or entertainment.

c1375 Sc. Leg. Saints xxix. (Placidas) 602, & et ane til ane Inis haf aim he can, & gert mak aim welfare of al thing at was necessare. 1377 LANGL. P. Pl. B. XIX. 350 To wasten, on welfare and on wykked kepynge, Al e worlde in a while orw owre witte. . . .  1577 W. HARRISON Descr. Scot. i. 2/1 in Holinshed, Those that are giuen much vnto wine and such welfare.

    b. Abundance (of meat, drink). Obs.

c1380 WYCLIF Wks. (1880) 61 ei..han lordschipis, rentis, gaie houses & costy, & welfare of mete & drynk. a1395 HYLTON Scala Perf. I. lxxii. (W. de W. 1494), He that..delytes in welfare of mete or drynke.

    4. a. The maintenance of members of a group or community in a state of (esp. physical and economic) well-being, esp. as provided for and organized by legislation or social effort. See also sense 5.

. . . 1965 A. J. P. TAYLOR Eng. Hist. 1914-45 IV. 121 Free treatment of venereal disease was the sole innovation in ‘welfare’ directly attributable to the first World War. 1968 M. PYKE Food & Society v. 66 And a Western community converted to the principles of welfare will supply vitamins and much else without requiring profit. 1977 M. FRENCH Women's Room (1978) ii. 139 Welfare..was starting to be a big thing. A lot of Puerto Ricans coming up to New York to get a free handout.

    b. ellipt. (Usu. with capital initial.) A welfare centre or office; (the officials of) a welfare department.

. . . 1960 D. LESSING In Pursuit of English IV. 135 Once she asked Welfare if Aurora could go to a council nursery. 1972 J. MANN Mrs. Knox's Profession vii. 57 That poor mite… The mother didn't ought to leave it like that… They ought to get the welfare to that woman. 1984 Observer (Colour Suppl.) 18 Mar. 6/2 First I rang the Welfare to make sure they would get me a flat.

    c. = welfare benefit, sense 5 below. Esp. in phr. on (the) welfare. orig. U.S.

. . .  1970 Toronto Daily Star 24 Sept. 1/1 People receiving welfare in Metro broke all previous records. . . .

    5. Comb. In recent use with sense of ‘relating to or concerned with the welfare of’ (workers, children, etc.) as welfare centre, clinic, committee, department, office, officer, policy, service, work; also, provided by the State for those in need, as welfare benefit, cheque, food, milk; subsisting on benefits provided by the State, as welfare family, mother; welfare capitalism, a capitalist system seeking to combine a desire for profits with concern for the welfare of its employees; welfare fund, a fund or funds from which payments are made in time of sickness, etc.; welfare hotel U.S., a hotel in which people on welfare are housed until more permanent quarters can be found for them; welfare manager, worker, a person engaged in looking after the welfare of people working in factories, mercantile establishments, etc.; welfare roll N. Amer., a list of those entitled to welfare benefits from the State.

1977 M. EDELMAN Political Lang. vii. 125 Through disorder the poor have increased welfare benefits in the United States.

New Left Rev. Sept.-Oct. 10/2 The very real achievements of ‘welfare capitalism’. . . .

1917 New Witness 28 June 202/1 It is continually stated that Maternity Clinics and Infant Welfare Centres have met with the greatest success in France. . . .

1937 ‘G. ORWELL’ Road to Wigan Pier v. 93 The baby was getting its weekly packets of milk from the Welfare Clinic. . . .

1922 S. LEWIS Babbitt ii. 17, I wonder if I could get one of the department-stores to let me put in a welfare-department. . . .

1948 Ann. Reg. 1947 487 There were..subsidies on animal feedingstuffs, welfare foods, milk in schools. . . .

1947 Ann. Reg. 1946 205 Mr Lewis [sc. a trade-union leader]..refused even to discuss his demands until he had been granted a ‘welfare fund’ financed by a royalty on coal. . . .

1971 Times 8 Jan. 5/1 The scandal of the ‘welfare hotels’ [in New York] where the city places homeless families has been simmering for many weeks. . . .

1906 Daily Chron. 6 Sept. 4/5 The camp was managed by the Men's Welfare League.

1904 Century Mag. Nov. 61 The welfare manager..who may be either a man or a woman, is a recognized intermediary between the employers and employees of mercantile houses and manufacturing plants.

< p>. . .  a1974 R. CROSSMAN Diaries (1976) II. 560 Increased family allowances with supplementary allowances and children's tax allowances, the price of school meals, the price of welfare milk, [etc.].

1971 N.Y. Times 9 June 43 The needs of..the pressured pensioner, the welfare mother and the harried commuter in our cities involve the whole range of vital urban services. . . .

1976 National Observer (U.S.) 12 June 4/3 I'd rather see people employed than at the welfare office.

. . . 1963 T. PARKER Unknown Citizen ii. 58, I have been to see the C.A.C.A. welfare officer responsible for Smith's after-care.

1905 Westm. Gaz. 28 Jan. 11/1 Another well its title, ‘the welfare policy’. The home of ‘the welfare policy’ is the city of Dayton, Ohio.

1970 Toronto Daily Star 24 Sept. 1/1 The number of family units on the welfare rolls has more than doubled in the past year. . . .

1903 Review of Reviews July 79/1 The term ‘industrial betterment’, or ‘welfare work’, is used in a wider sense to include all of those services which an employer may render to his work people over and above the payment of wages. It has even been used to include the provision of homes for employees, kindergartens, schoolhouses [etc.]. . . .

1904 Century Mag. Nov. 63 The welfare worker of a large retail establishment.

Definitions 4 and 5 are getting there, and I find 4 particularly appropriate. The concept of "a state of well-being" is of course vague enough to be interpreted as "bigger cages" if one were so inclined (and benefited from cages). I liked the penultimate entry on this list from 1903. If you substitute "farmer" for "employer" and "animals" for "work people" (among other appropriate substitutions), you get:

The term "animal welfare" is used in a wider
sense to include all of those "improvements" a farmer may make for
his animals over and above basic food and shelter.

Or something like that. Have a go at it; I'm sure you can come up with something better.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Angus #

    As I said to Mary in an e-mail, I am not really happy at the AR movement's ceding this word, with its generally very positive connotations, to those who exploit animals. It's a bit like agreeing that those slave-owners who kept their slaves adequately housed and fed were promoting human welfare.

    My own Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary defines welfare as "well-being, happiness; health and prosperity (of a person or a community etc.)", which is essentially the same as 1a above, though 1a adds "good fortune" and "thriving or successful progress in life". Is that what the so-called "animal welfare" movement is all about? I think it could more accurately be called something like the "less cruelty" movement.

    March 28, 2009
  2. "Less cruelty" movement… Right you are.

    March 30, 2009

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