"The truly guilty, being the source of the problem, are those who choose to have animals without choosing to do so in a morally responsible way. That way would be to recognize the value inherent in the life of an animal and to actively respect it, to take charge of its reproduction, to recognize that to take in an animal is to take on a relationship of commitment for his or her lifetime. When we achieve that vision, the killing simply stops."I try very hard to keep my mind open when I come up against ideas my brain hates. On the one hand, I can hardly disagree with the idea of people owning pets "in a morally responsible way". (While we're at it, how about everyone consuming the Earth's natural resources in a morally responsible way. And raising children in a morally responsible way. Etc.) But on the other hand, I have to ask if there is one widely agreed upon morally responsible way to own pets. I don't think there is. In fact, one of the tragedies of life is that every one of us believes he is a pretty good fellow all around. (I could say almost everyone if you want to include the rare few who know their actions are evil but choose to be that way.)
If we look at the specifics of the morally responsible way to own pets offered by the author, we are faced with many questions.
- "Recognize the value inherent in the life of an animal" - This will clearly mean different things to different people. A farmer raising a pig for food will regard that animal as having value, as will a dog fighter regard his dog, and an apartment dweller regard his cat.
- "Take charge of its reproduction" - In the case of someone who breeds his dogs as often as physically possible for the purpose of selling the puppies - he has taken charge of the reproductive aspects of the animals. Likewise with the owner who neuters his dog before the animal ever reproduces. Perhaps the intended meaning will become clearer later in the book, I don't know.
- "Take on a relationship of commitment for his or her lifetime" - Does this mean every owner must keep every pet he takes on, even if his life circumstances change so significantly as to make keeping the pet impossible? If the owner screens prospective buyers and rehomes his pets when necessary, has he failed to meet his moral obligations?
And someone will work at one of those shelters and believe it is a "kindness" or a "necessity" to kill a healthy/treatable pet. When we have replaced all of those shelter workers with compassionate people who embrace the idea of no kill, when every community has implemented the No Kill Equation, when we stop blaming the public for the atrocity of killing shelter pets, when we learn to judge less and understand more - then the killing will stop. Not in a fantasy world but in real life. Not in some distant future but in our lifetime. It could happen today. We are a humane society and a no kill nation of pet lovers. Join us.