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On Wendy’s, Cages and Killing

New Wendy’s Commercial

Woman: This salad is really good. Wanna bite?

Man: No thanks, I’m a meatatarian.

Woman: A what?

Man: A meatatarian–I only eat meat. You know, beef, bacon? Meatatarian? It’s a personal choice. You hafta commit, you know?

Nothing more American than mocking those with a conscience. Except maybe nominating a candidate for Vice President who tries to ban books from public libraries.

As for cages and killing, a couple of days ago, on "Should We Keep Pets," Dave commented:

IS being sentenced to prison for a crime one did not commit…while sleeping on a cold wet concrete floor…and turning around in circles all day…year after year…a HUMANE thing to do? Again, there are not many like that…but there are some. Those special cases are the ones I wish I knew what to do for…and had more room for… I wonder what others here think of "those" situations…

Is it better in that case to euthanize or let one live like that for years? Again, I’m not saying which I think is best…but it’s a question I’d love to see someone answer rationally and with the mind and heart of the DOG at stake…not one’s OWN position on it… based off of pure "theory"… one’s position with regard to the "life" that has to live that way day after day, year after year…

It’s very easy to advocate for no-kill shelters. But not all of them are optimal and some do indeed warehouse animals. Is it possible that with our concern over appearing pro-kill or anti-rights, we actually make choices for others that are inhumane?

Is this one of those Gray Matters? Is there some kind of formula you would use in your own mind to determine whether a physically healthy animal might be better off being killed? And do you then consider it "euthanasia," perhaps because the animals appears to be psychologically unhealthy so you are indeed putting her out of her misery? On the other hand, as anyone who has seen Behind the Mask or Britches (which I haven’t seen) knows, even Britches, who was tortured in the most unimaginable ways by vivisectionist David Warren was able to recover (certainly not completely, but the middle video on this page of the Britches site shows him post-rescue).

But the notion that animals "turning around in circles all day" shouldn’t be killed because they can recover and be adopted isn’t practical considering the number of animals in shelters who aren’t turning around in circles all day and aren’t being adopted. And sure, "practical" doesn’t have a place in "rights-based theory," but like Dave, that’s not what I’m asking.

I’m asking what is best–real time–for a dog or cat who has been in a cage for months and is profoundly depressed and without joy, stimulation or affection, according to you? Are you pro no-kill no matter what?

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bea Elliott #

    "Meatatarian" – clever!

    Palin indeed runs the corrupt "Bible Belt of Alaska"… book burning – who knew?

    Dogs and cats and cages: Mary, you do ask the tough ones don't you? I prefer to reserve "euthanasia" for animals that are suffering and have no chance of recovery. Euthanasia is mercy. For me, the way we kill "unwanted pest pets" is "extermination" and cruel.

    I'd like to think that if we redirected all the money spent on extermination into spay/neuter efforts the problem would be reduced in the future. For now, if more funds were dedicated to keeping animals alive we might have more people and organizations that could "house" cats & dogs in large groups rather than "small cages".

    I'm not saying that this is the best or only solution but if "shelters" operated more like Cesar Millan's we wouldn't be "warehousing" the animals. This concept of a group or "pack" environment is a much more "humane" existence than the life-time prison systems of some no-kill facilities. They might even cost less to run (?). I know this is only expanding their space of confinement and it isn't optimum care, but these animals would experience at least some degree of "freedom".

    In my perfect world – I would commence the shift by returning all the eligible "wild" animals back to where they were stolen from – calling these areas "sanctuaries" and off limits from development. I'd condense the remaining "zoo" animals as efficiently as space and their wellbeing would allow. I'd then convert all the vacant former "animal attraction" parks & places to be home for the "domesticated" animals. They would have climate appropriate, safe shelter, medical care, food and interaction with others of their kind.

    Yes, they would all be neutered, yes they would all be available for adoption. And yes, there would be bans and heavy fines on "breeding" more. Within 50 years the "problem" might be under control (?).

    September 3, 2008
  2. Personally, I have only been able to support euthanasia when the animal is in immediate, physical pain and there is no other relief in sight. I've also only ever had to make that decision in regards to companion animals. I've never been in a shelter situation where I had to decide or participate in euthanasia/ killing. I've consciously chosen to avoid situations like that because I don't think it would be good for my mental health.

    Still, I think warehousing is a better option than euthanasia. Warehousing may seem hopeless, but it's not. There is a sliver of hope that some animals will find homes eventually.

    Moreover, the habit of euthanasia is probably bad for people and for society at large. I can't imagine anyone who cares about animals being able to kill animals on any regular basis and still live a good life. It has to be devastating to people, much like war. Killing sentient beings needlessly isn't a good or healthy thing to do.

    I like your perfect world ideas, Mary 🙂 I'd do something similar given enough resources.

    September 3, 2008
  3. Whoops, perfect world was Bea's, not Mary's.

    September 3, 2008
  4. Bea Elliott #

    I'd also like to back pedal just long enough to say that while I appreciate Ceasar Millan's "pack rescue approach" – I looked around further on his website and find many inferences to dogs in "service" – It goes without saying these scenarios are not my ideal.

    And Elaine – you brought out an important issue I had not considered: the toll killing "unwanted" animals must have on people who do so for a living. I'm always quick to site the horror those who work in slaughterhouses face. But it never dawned on me, the grief of those who do "euthanasia" on a daily basis. In hindsight it was rather callous and shallow of me. Thanks for a look at the bigger picture. 🙂

    September 3, 2008
  5. First I just want to say that I hate that Wendy's advert, I have to mute the t.v. every time it comes on….

    You ask us to choose between killing a nonhuman or forcing them to live out their life in horrible conditions. This type of question assumes that these are the only options and forces us into a moral dilemma when none really exists… the question is ill posed! You are intentionally ignoring the fact that there are more than these two options.

    The nonhuman in question should be found a loving home, there are many examples of successful no-kill shelters, specifically the model Nathan Winograd ( has implemented several times, all over the USA. A no-kill shelter that treats nonhumans in the way you describe is obviously morally problematic, this does not give us recourse to condone the morally problematic act of killing nonhumans, instead we should promote a successful no-kill model that does not have these problems.

    September 3, 2008
  6. JonBen,
    However "ill-posed," it's my question nonetheless.

    I've read Winograd (and note that I link to him). My question does not include the alleged "fact" that the animal can be found a loving home. We have yet to see on a large scale that that is true. Of course there are successful no-kill shelters. There are several in my area. But I'm asking about the situation right now. I'm asking what I think Dave was asking: Do you think that it is humane to kill an animal rather than keep her alive in very unsatisfactory circumstances, just to NOT kill her? I'm not talking about theory here, but about an individual who is otherwise healthy, and who has yet to be adopted and lives in a cage month after month? This is a real situation all over the country, each minute of each day. I think your answer is still No, but I just want to be clear about the question.

    September 3, 2008
  7. Bea Elliott #

    Oh – I didn't know the Wendy's commercial was real! I've never seen it. I thought it was a hypothetical-joke kind of thing. Sorry. Now I really feel silly – It's not "clever" at all – it's awful.

    If you all can induldge me for a moment on the commercials I do know about: Has anyone seen the Accura "steak house" commercials? Synopsis: rich man driving sex car, thinks to himself outloud "I need the location to *X*-steakhouse", pushes some buttons on his dash, the camera pans electronics and luxurious "leather" interior. Driver happily reaches X-steakhouse. "Ah! civilization!"

    And has anyone seen: "c" is for cat, "d" is for dog "t" is for turkey -At which point the children and adults become speechless, babbling idots: "gobble, gobble, gobble – we love our turkey sandwiches from Dairy Queen".

    Also, back to the election – and the convention coverage. I don't know if anyone else has noticed the incessant use of the term "red meat" by the pundits and commentators? I've heard the phrase at least a dozen times, while my husband who watches much more tv than I, lost count at 22. What is with the "red meat" anyway?

    So sorry for the rant. But lastly I want to address Mary's question re-phrased in a more direct manner. I don't think it's "right" or "fair" to kill any healthy living being. Warehousing in cages is dreadful – but in my opinion, it's better than death. Where there's life, there's "hope".

    I also think killing these animals (by the millions) delays a proper solution. Communities and society just continue to operate in the same dis-connected manner. If all shelters were "no kill" it would force municipalities to strickly enforce (and pass) spay/neuter laws. Pet "owners" need to take responsibility for the problems they created. I believe in heavy fines, reprimands, and even imprisonment judged against these offenders. There is no excuse for an un-nuetered animal to be running around in anyone's neighborhood breeding with other un-nuetered animals.

    Along with mandated rabies shots, I'd like to see a required "chip" or "identity tatoo" in "pets". This would insure that when they are "lost" they can be returned to their family – or when they are "abandoned" the proper authorities can punish the guilty.

    I think we need better laws – not more cat and dog sacrifices.

    September 3, 2008
  8. Christopher Barden #

    I believe, we do not have the right to kill a healthy being that, no matter how long it spends in a shelter cage, would resist death to its very last breath. That is not “euthanasia.” It is using killing to solve a problem.

    We DO have the right NOT to have an answer to the problem.

    Killing should NOT be an option.

    And, there is a magical thing that happens when one says, "This is NOT an option."

    The magical thing that happens is: Other options appear.

    Imagine a thought experiment: If a federal law were passed tomorrow that made it illegal for any non-profit organization to kill or even recommend the killing of healthy dogs or cats, which of the following two consequences seems more likely:

    1) The HSUS closes it doors and Wayne Pacelle walks away from his quarter-million dollar salary and celebrity status among Holllywood’s not-really-animal-rights-activist elite, or;

    2) Wayne Pacelle stops advising shelters how to kill dogs and cats, gets the breeder adverts off of and gets on the phone with someone like Nathan Winograd to help implement a real nationwide solution, and perhaps puts up the equivalent of an X Prize with big cash rewards for the best No Kill solutions that innovative Americans can come up with.

    September 3, 2008

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