So yesterday I’m listening to NPR, and on Marketplace they’re talking about the ban on fur sales in West Hollywood, CA. Gary Francione, law professor at Rutgers University, was asked what he thought about the ban, and he called it great for welfare groups touting the new law to raise money, but it doesn’t do much to promote animal welfare.
Truth is there’s lots of folks that want to feel good about helping animals. So we give a few bucks to our favorite animal charity, or fight to save the life of one dog or cat, while knowing very little about the plight of animals around the world.
What are those big charities doing? To be sure, some are doing some great things. But the one thing I don’t see them doing is educating the public in a rational manner. I see lots of ads filled with emotional overload that get you to open your wallet. I see lots of big fights for or against legislation impacting animals. But where is the public education? All I see is fund-raising.
And it seems that not only are we NOT talking about the issues, we’re not maintaining statistics either. Estimates vary from 3 to 6 million dogs and cats euthanized in the US each year. In dog-loving USA we can’t get a straight answer on how many animals we euthanize. In Australia it’s 250,000. Japan averages 204,000 animals euthanized annually. What? A small country like Japan euthanizes that many dogs and cats?
Even though those numbers are mind-boggling, they are nothing compared to the numbers of animals we kill each year for food.
In 2009, here’s an estimate of how many animals we killed worldwide for food:
293 million cows
518 million sheep
633 million turkeys
1 billion rabbits
1.3 billion pigs
52 billion chickens
And 1 trillion fish and sea creatures
And there were plenty other animals eaten as well.
Overwhelmed yet? Then how about this: If you eat meat, you contribute to the death of one cow, one pig, 25 chickens, and over 100 fish and water creatures every year.
A majority of humans see nothing wrong with most of these killings. Actually, many of my readers don’t see anything wrong with it.
I truly think that if you’re visiting this blog regularly, you’re at least thinking. I may not reply to your comments, but I know some of you are seriously looking at your diet. You’re making small changes in the way you cook and eat.
We need to have more public discussions led by people of rational thought instead of people posing in public wearing nothing but lettuce leaves.
Our euthanasia of cats and dogs is declining because we’re changing our perception of companion animals. Dogs used to live in the back yard. Now we buy our dogs Christmas presents.
It’s time that we begin to see other animals differently as well. Let’s look at the life of the average cow or chicken in a calm manner. Then perhaps your yearly consumption of 25 chickens will drop to 24…. or even 20.
What’s that you say? That small number won’t impact the big picture?
Maybe not, but it will sure make a difference for that chicken.