Do you remember the adage: sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me? Well, my very dear friend remembers it differently. Her version ends with “names will always hurt me.”
While I’m not exactly hurt, I am more entrenched in my support of No Kill after all of the Movement’s advocates were labeled as “extremists” in downloads made available by the ASPCA in its blog, ASPCApro. Although the downloads have been removed during the past few days, they were originally attached to material that provided advice on how all animal advocates could work together to achieve their common goals. Rather than bringing all advocates together, however, two of the documents were particularly divisive and included specific instruction to others about how they should handle supporters of No Kill, those of us otherwise known as “extremists.”
Needless to say, members of the No Kill community were highly offended by the content posted by the ASPCA. Even Best Friends created a post on its blog chastising the ASPCA for having created the downloads and for presenting them for public view under the guise of trying to get everyone to get along, to work together.
Do people involved with No Kill need to be handled differently than other animal advocates? Maybe. Maybe after twenty years of trying to convince shelter operators to stop the needless slaying of companion animals by making simple, practical changes to the way they run their shelters, the No Kill community does deserve to be treated differently. Maybe members of this community need to be heard by people who are willing to lead their shelters in a direction that protects and preserves animals instead of the one that leads to the senseless deaths of homeless pets.
Even though I have never run a shelter, I know how No Kill works compared to old, traditional sheltering methods. Any normal person who examined the No Kill Equation would agree that once every shelter in America adopts a No Kill approach, the practice of slaughtering homeless animals, homeless pets, will stop.
The real problem, as I see it, is not with those of us labeled as “extremists.” The real problem is with the lack of leadership and passion that still governs this country’s shelters. Maybe the people who refuse to accept that those of us who are truly passionate about animals need to be treated differently are the same ones who are preventing shelters from being operated differently…from being operated as No Kill facilities. Maybe these non-extremists, these people who accept their killing operations as business as usual, need to step aside and let those of us who are willing to lead, to effect change, do so.