We heard three bits of news this past week that we thought was share-worthy.
Because we prefer to leave you on an upbeat note, we're going to profile The Bad and The Ugly first.
As many of you know, we've been actively opposed to Loews' Hotels decision to remove the feral cat colony at their Portofino location in Florida, a colony that had been a model example of how T/N/R, when properly enacted, is a success (Loews, through trap-neuter-return, had reduced the feral cat population in their area down to only 7 cats).
One of the top resources that businesses such as Loews turn to for information and advice when contemplating such a change of direction is the ASPCA.
We were horrified to learn that the ASPCA is engaged in actively fighting the no-kill movement throughout America, labeling it extremist and even going to the extreme of publishing a brochure on how to recognize and respond to those who advocate for no-kill shelters.
In December, Forbes outed the ASPCA's position, in their article highlighting key learning in 2011. One key insight, the author stated, was that "the ASPCA has actively fought to prevent cities from establishing no-kill shelters and aggressively fights bills proposed in local city councils that aim to reduce the number of innocent animals being killed." (Forbes.com, Dec 13, 2011)
That's despite proof that many cities have implemented successful and creative alternatives to high-kill shelters - programs that are working.
But if the ASPCA is seen by businesses such as Loews as the Industry Standard, the go-to guys for information on such issues, that's BAD. And people - and businesses - need to be made aware of this.
We have heard not-so-nice things about PETA before -- and we must say that this is a hotly debated issue that we would really like to avoid engaging in, as this is not the purpose of this particular post.
Except to say this: we were beyond horrified to learn that, far from being a no-kill organization, PETA euthanizes most of the animals it rescues. This from a 2008 article in The Daily Beast, which states, "since 1998 PETA has killed more that 17,000 animals, nearly 85% of all those it has rescued." Wha-a-at?
It got so bad, in fact, that a State Inspector from the Virginia Department of Agriculture attempted to overturn PETA's status as an animal shelter in July of 2010.
That's just UGLY.
But the good news is that many cities, counties and even states are seeing beyond these organizations to the successes of innovative alternatives to euthanasia.
In 2010, the city of Austin, TX - my old hometown! - voted unanimously (the City Council voted 7-0) to implement a no-kill policy (details of policy here). And on January 6 of this year, they announced they had achieved a 91% live animal outcome rate which makes the city of Austin officially a No Kill City.
And that's very, very good indeed.
We hope many more cities follow Austin's amazing example and institute no-kill initiatives of their own.