Do most pet owners really care about what is happening to animals around the world? There is so much animal abuse and suffering, and I believe that anyone who has an animal as a pet has a duty to help all animals. Same for those who eat them. They should not be supporting factory farms and fast food outlets that serve meat from abused animals. I am a vegetarian, I support animal rights and I foster cats for adoption. Some of my friends and relatives think I am nuts, but at least my boyfriend supports me. Is there any real hope for change? I have supported some of the big animal welfare and conservation organizations, but I stopped after they sent me expensive publications soliciting more donations and I learned about how much goes to salaries and travel expenses rather than to programs to help animals. What organizations would you support, and how can individuals like me make a difference?
R.E., Falls Church, Va Jun 18, 2012
If more people felt as you do and acted accordingly, I might hold more hope for a viable future for our own kind. The physical, mental, social and economic well-being of future generations is dependent upon how well we treat the environment and fellow creatures. These connections are being recognized by various authorities under the banner "One Health." I discuss this in my books "Healing Animals and the Vision of One Health," and "Animals and Nature First." We can all make a difference by changing our dietary habits and reducing meat consumption. Try supporting local farmers and organic agriculture, your local humane society, local Audubon Society chapter and clean water and conservation initiatives. You can also recycle, encourage humane and environmental education in grade schools, don't use pesticides and donate to organizations like the Animal Welfare Institute, Sea Shepherd, Earth Island Institute, Greenpeace International, Environmental Working Group, Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council -- just to name a few! A few readers, including those who believe that climate change is a fabrication of extremists, have complained about this column, insisting that I should stick to pet health issues and not get "political." But the politics of extinction and human and animal health cannot be ignored. I see it as my professional duty to do what I can to help heal our relationships with other animals and the natural world for the good of all.
6/18/2012 10:25:04 AM #
And, I agree wholeheartedly; sadly, politicizing human and animal health issues might be the only means left to those of us who can and do make a difference in the future of this planet and its inhabitants!
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