Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's In a Name?

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog about the term No Kill and how it was misunderstood.

I think it is time to revisit that.  There are now 29 No Kill communities in the United States: big and small, rural and urban, north and south, east and west. Elmbrook Humane Society in Brookfield, Wisconsin recently made the list. A No Kill community is one that is maintaining a 90 percent or better live release rate for the animals that it takes in. That leaves plenty of leeway for the truly dangerous or hopelessly ill animals. It can be done and it is being done. It is not impossible.

A lot of progress has been made. Yet, here in Wisconsin, there is still serious misunderstanding of what the term means. A lot of old school animal welfare people still don't "get it" and still spew the falsehoods that No Kill shelters amount to hoarding and warehousing. Of course, perpetuating these rumors is in their best interest because it helps them defend their practices; the killing of healthy or treatable shelter animals in their care.

I copied the following from the FAQ portion of the website of the Fox Valley Humane Association  in Appleton, Wisconsin to give you an example of what I mean:


Euthanasia is never a pleasant alternative. It is, however, a HUMANEone! There are many questions to ask yourself:

  • Is it fair to keep all those animals in cages day after day after day when they have experienced loving homes?
  • What does it do to an animal to keep it indefinitely in this kind of situation?
  • What happens at "no kill” shelters when they are full?
  • What happens to all the animals they have to turn away?
    In many cases, these shelters ship the animals elsewhere for euthanasia. Therefore, our policy is to continue to perform euthanasia whenever it is necessary.

Obviously whoever wrote this for their website is totally out of touch with the reality and facts of No Kill sheltering in America in 2012.

No Kill is a name.  The most common excuse I hear to not embrace it is"I don't like it". Well, I don't exactly like the name Pobloskie either, but I've learned to live with it. So I suggest if you don't like the name No Kill, get over it already. Because it is here to stay.

And, honestly, there isn't a much better option right now than the words No Kill. It is something that the public readily identifies with. It is now mainstream and is appearing a couple of times a week in the mainstream media. Changing the name would be a massive undertaking costing considerable time and expense. Time and money that is  better spent saving animals.

I like to informally poll the general public about animal welfare issues.  When I ask  people what they think the term "adoption guarantee" means, most respond that they think it means that if they adopt an animal and it doesn't work out they can return it for a refund.   So perhaps we need to file that one in the pile of bad ideas.

The one thing that the public does agree on: killing shelter pets is no longer acceptable. For the remaining dinosaurs out there, the sheltering world as you knew it is over. Change or become extinct. It is your choice.

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. - W. Edwards Deming

1 comment:

  1. Terrific article. Every single open admission shelter I have had an orientation at (which is maybe... four) has *specifically* noted "No Kill" and how it's "impossible" because of "overpopulation" and being open admission. While rolling eyes or having that tone in their voice that just makes my stomach turn. They are certainly propagating information that is woefully incorrect about this movement entirely. I would love if we could, as a movement, tackle that specifically in a way that inspires change and not incites anger at their orientations. I know that if I rose my hand and called them out, walked out, etc, it may not elicit the response I'd be after (to merely educate, logically, instead of increase their dislike or whatever is going on.) Maybe I need to print something out and couple that with raising my hand to speak. Or write a letter and send it to their entire board. Not sure. But regardless I am saddened how 100% of these orientations includes chastising the movement, even at shelters with pretty good live release rates approaching "no kill" status!