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Broken Trust

The large animal organizations and the public money.

It is said that in America, anything the imagination can conjure upcan be attained with persistence. In a society where we boast offreedom and clearly recognize the importance of our leadership in theworld, one must be increasingly disillusioned by the simple things inlife that prevent us from moving ahead even further. We cansuccessfully put roving monitors on mars,, cure diseases in shortorder, win wars in 100 days or less and have the marketing prowess toalter human life around the globe.

The suffering of animals is a deep and quiet thing; and yet, millionsof people hear, and care and hope to answer this call. More than3,000 non profits dedicated to the same have logged an estimated 40Billion man hours in the past 20 years all while Americans aredonating billions of their dollars to animal welfare organizationswho promise that they are relieving animal suffering.

But are they? Or, is the trust being placed in them by their donors,being betrayed?

The overpopulation of dogs and cats is the major source of thesuffering and death of 8 million animals a year in America. This is aproblem for which the cause is well known, the consequences of notsolving it are well known, and the tools for solving it are withinreach. And yet, little headway is being made. It is one of thesimplest problems to correct.

We hear a lot about increasing adoptions, and this is important; butwhere is the effort to prevent the overpopulation in the first place?The ASPCA, for example, doesn't even take in strays, so theiradoption program, while valuable, is not addressing the problem in asignificant way. They inaugurated their "no-kill" policy in order toappeal to more donors. That doesn't mean that animals are not beingkilled-they are just being killed someplace else. And until theoverpopulation problem is solved, this dirty work must be done.

Why is it that almost everyone knows about the ASPCA and HSUS, forexample, but, by and large, the public still doesn't know that it isnot OK to breed their pets or to allow an accidental breeding? Whydon't people know about puppy mills or where pet shop puppies comefrom? The big organizations have utterly failed to get this messageacross. Why?

They have the funds. In New York City, billboards, subway and bus adsabound. "Think out of the box" is the title under a picture of apuppy or kitten peeking out of an ASPCA carrier. Not one ad, or sign,or billboard informs the public about the overpopulation epidemic andits tragic consequences. Why? Again, the large organizations havefailed to convey this important message to the public, in schools andto our elected officials.

Our society is continuing to devote a sizable portion of ourexistence to finding out the problems that face us and realize thatwe must re focus our efforts on the TRUE meanings of responsibility,compassion and to understand that even though only one voice, eachhuman is part of a societal choir of sorts that has far reachingconsequences for everyone in that given society. I was once told thatwe can never expect to win the game until all teammates play by thesame rules. It certainly holds true in this argument.

Nobody within the ranks of these seemingly noble efforts willdisagree with the facts that nobody wants to work together. Theydefend their ideas as if it were a pharmaceutical corporation with acure for cancer. The compassion issue is everywhere in the animalprotection movement. 'Compassion This - Compassion That." But all thelarge animal protection groups continue to bicker, argue, pointfingers and sling mud between themselves. The anger and jealousy andvindictiveness among the smaller rescue organization efforts ismammoth in scope. Unimaginably detrimental to all these efforts isclearly the complete lack of true compassion - at least a real focuson their actual goals. Of course, politics, egos and agendas play alarge part in covering up any real compassion that may be earned oreven really exists.

We are not advocating the end of the big organizations or even thereduction of the six-figure salaries being awarded their chiefexecutives.Why shouldn't someone who saves an animal get paid as wellas someone who is willing to send them to slaughter or pave overhabitat? But, in any business and most other endeavors, a chiefexecutive who does not do the job is either demoted or fired. The biganimal organizations have not done the job. Should they continue toget paid?

Too much of their funding is channeled back into their owndevelopment, feeding their own labyrinthine gullets. Theseorganizations have become creatures with bigger and bigger belliesand weaker arms and legs and smaller hearts to get things done. If wewere truly compassion driven, we would not be so uninformed as toassume the large national groups were truly out to help the animalswith their millions and millions of dollars laying around in bankaccounts while much needed and well deserved programs go unfunded andlives continue to be lost. If we were truly compassion driven, wewould educate ourselves on the facts of these issues so as to clearlyunderstand our individual roles in prevention.

Sharing the blame and the shame is the American Kennel Club, whichissues registration papers indiscriminately to decent breeders and topuppy mills alike. They sponsor the suffering of thousands uponthousands of animals. No big organization wants to take them on. Why?We must admit the problems are ours and ours to solve. Like ourfanatical minority and religious leaders, our large animal welfareorganizations need their victims. Absent crime and imaginarysituations against their people and teachings, these organizationsdisappear -- this means jobs. Jobs = egos. As long as they canconvince those who don't know any better, they will survive.

The picture as of today, is one of an overworked underfunded andfailing animal control effort, schools failing to institute any formof humane education programs into a curriculum at any level, themedia won't cover the real stories of HOW to prevent this and see aproductive future, their readers don't want the stories of puppiesand kittens dying as it's too upsetting to read. Finally, all thosewho are sitting at their desk right now in any animal protectionorganizations while reading this are going to be outwardly angeredthat One would accost them in such a manner, but are not willing tocorrect the situation as it stands, to ensure they receive a paycheck next week.

The major animal welfare organizations are not useless. The world isa better place with them than without them, but they fall short. Tooshort. To whom much is given, much is expected.

Randy Warner has been featured in People Magazine, LA Times, NY Post, David Letterman Show, CBS Evening News and more. Warner has a series of handbooks to help you become the best humane educator possible. Great for schools, libraries, animal protection agencies and family discussions. See

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