Friday, May 14, 2010

Things I've learned over the last few months

1. Public pressure actually does have an effect on organizations, at least ones with somewhat sane individuals running them. I have to admit that my expectation with the OSPCA changing its tune was not great going into this thing three days ago after first hearing about the Newmarket cull.

The OSCPA screwed up but at least after all the public outrage directed at them, they've realized their gross errors and are attempting to screw up somewhat less. Not good enough for the animals already dead but better than the initial predicted toll of 350.

On the other hand, the THS took ten years to capitulate and it took handcuffing the senior management and marching them out of the building to do so and some of its board members still can't admit to any wrongdoing or errors. In their minds, it's still all everyone else's fault.

And then there's the Ontario McGuinty government who will probably never stray from their mantra of the only good Pit Bull is a dead Pit Bull and fuck you if your dog isn't a Pit Bull, we might kill it anyways.

2. If you get into this animal welfare racket, you're going to get shit on your shoes. Rob Godfrey, chair of the OSPCA, sure looked uncomfortable taking flak while defending the actions of the organization, not surprising considering they were mostly indefensible. I don't really blame him for this ... much. He probably took the board position thinking it would be just like any other board: meet once a month, discuss the big picture stuff, leave the operations to the salaried people, go to a bunch of fancy fundraisers to glad hand and then fugitaboutit.

Uh, not so fast Mr. Chairman. This is animal welfare. It ain't the Boy Scouts. If you don't know what you're getting into and you don't keep an eye on everything and everyone and all the time, don't be surprised if you wake up one day wondering why your world suddenly turned a nasty shade of slime brown.

All the exec types running in the Toronto Humane Society elections who think animal welfare is just like any other business might want to take note.

3. Death threats are a rite of passage. Doesn't seem to matter which side you're on, you'll know you're a somebody in the world of animal welfare once you get a death threat. If you haven't gotten a death threat yet and want to get chummy with the other players in the big leagues, you might want to consider faking one for yourself or getting your friends to write a few for you otherwise you're just a punk and no one's really going to take you seriously.

4. The public has an opinion and it's wrong. But we live in a democracy so you animal loving types are just going to have to suck it up unless you teach the public different. Until then, those furry creatures we seem to care for so much are going to keep on dying and being killed. Check out The Toronto Sun survey below (click on image to enlarge):

The majority of those who responded think the OSPCA cull is a good thing. The majority of those who responded think killng Pit Bulls is still a good thing.

5. There's been massive media coverage of the Newmarket OSPCA in the last few days. Worthington at the Toronto Sun must be just positively tickled like a little girl trying on her first pink dress. They've had more giddy coverage of the downturn for the OSPCA in the last three days than they've ever had with their begrudging coverage of the THS affair.

Unfortunately, whenever there's animal welfare coverage of any kind, meatheads inevitably come out to disparage anything to do with helping animals. Why help stupid animals when there are hungry children in Africa? they whine.

Why is it these saints never show up in, say, the entertainment section of the newspaper and post comments like, "How dare you go out and watch movies when you could be helping starving children?" I've never seen any of them show up in the auto section with, "Why are you buying new cars when you should be spending your money on starving African children?" Nor have I seen them post in the sports section, "Stop watching hockey and go help starving children in Africa."

There is something intrinsic to animal welfare that brings out the best and worst in people in both those who participate and those who observe. You don't get into hands-on animal welfare for money. You don't do it for popularity. You don't do it for power. You do it solely for compassion. I guess that really pisses off the assholes.


Thε Countεss said...

I couldnt agree with you more, Fred. I often get asked why I care so much about animal welfare. Why arent I helping needy children. Why dont I donate to the poor instead of shelters. I think we do have enough people in the World doing things for others, but animal welfare advocates are just a few numbers compared to the ones fighting causes for children, the poor, the elderly (ok, perhaps not the elderly), etc., etc. And because of people's behaviour towards each other and animals, I have lost a little faith in the goodness of humanity - but then again I might belong to that group. I am more inclined to help those that dont have a voice, those that get the short end of the stick - the animals in need, than my fellow humans. Some of us gotta show compassion to them as well. After all, I never had a most loyal friend than my dogs have been to me. Even my cats. For some reason, everyone in life betrays your trust at some point. I guess it's human nature. But with my pets and a lot of animals I've cared for, I have never felt betrayed. And you're so right. Where are these hooligans when shit hits the fan? My brother - a father of 2 children under 5 - whines of my passion and compassion for animals in need, and asks why I dont dedicate such passion to children instead. Yet, I have never seen him do anything himself. Gah. Enough ranting. I guess it all upsets me.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a strange tangent universe, although there are parallels with the world of those who are passionate about saving African children. No one gets much time to smell the roses without making a huge effort to pull themselves away for a few seconds to do so.

Except for the ones that are only in it for the back-patting and the fancy fundraisers.

Marcie said...

"You don't get into hands-on animal welfare for money. You don't do it for popularity. You don't do it for power. You do it solely for compassion. I guess that really pisses off the assholes."

You said it :)

Social Mange said...

Brilliant post. Must admit, I sprayed my screen with tea reading #3 and #5. Bang on.

The Sun polls are usually completed by mouth breathers (the Sun's audience), so I don't put much faith in them.

Amy said...

I am more inclined to help those that don't have a voice, those that get the short end of the stick - the animals in need, than my fellow humans.

Amen to that. People have the ability to make decisions, and they have to live with the consequences of their actions. The animals in shelters are the victims of irresponsible owners, and don't have the ability to help themselves. I have way more compassion for a helpless animal than for a human being. A lot of people don't understand that, but they also don't see what those of us in rescue see on a daily basis.

God Bless all of the animals killed by the OSPCA. They deserved so much more, but then again, so do all of the animals that die in the shelter. And that is why we continue to do what we do as advocates for animals. We may not be changing the world, but every single life counts. Every life spared is a victory.

Great post, Fred. Especially the last paragraph - like usual, you hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Reading the transcript of the OSPCA's conference, I still get the feeling that the powers that be feel that they dealt with the situation in the right way...I find that totally arrogant.

They say 99 animals, what about the ones who met with their maker yesterday?

Kate MacDonald stated to one of the protesters on Wednesday that only a licensed Veterinarian can euthanize using euthanyl, then why do other staff members who are in no way licensed Veterinarians use it at the shelter. I hope that the OVM investigates.

Lori said...

Three thumbs up Fred! Positively awesome post!! I Loved points 3 and 5 as well... Needed a good chuckle.

Siobhan0327 said...

Amazing post and blog Fred. I couldnt agree more with your comments regarding starving children in africa.

Starving chidren would never give you smiles and tail wags and unconditional love while you are taking them into a room to kill them.

I think im going to go hug my dogs in honour of those animals lost in the OSPCA.

Anonymous said...

I would actually like to hear an honest answer on how they are euthanizing the animals - ie. sedative then euthanyl consistently.

Lynda said...

I'm also going to hug my dogs in honour of the lives lost this week.

Thanks for blogging about this, Fred.


Meaghan Edwards said...

I too hate it when people jump down my throat for being involved in bettering the lives of animals. "There are starving children in Africa" when these same complainers go on shopping binges to big box stores. When they pick up booze and cigarettes.

I hope things change soon for animals here in Ontario - and worldwide. Not just domestic animals, but the countless coyotes, etc that are killed just for existing. There is a hypocritical attitude that exists between the treatment of wild and domestic canines and felines.

Fred said...

Meaghan Edwards, speaking of coyotes, I'm surprised there isn't a huge anti-Canada Goose campaign going on considering how many tens of thousands of coyotes they must kill every year in order to decorate their winter coats.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no kidding!

Anita said...

Fabulous post, Fred. As others have already said, especially the last paragraph. Kudos to you.

Social Mange said...

I'm stealing your idea, Fred. Whenever there are "children in Africa" or "unborn baby" comments on an animal story, I'm going to direct them to the sports and entertainment sections to upbraid those who go to those events. Hehehe.

Fred said...

Soche, yeah, that's the idea. Let's see what happens when the hockey fans have these hypocrites show up on their doorstep. Of course it'll never happen.

Anonymous said...

So I just saw on the news that they are now moving the remaining animals to other shelters & veterinary offices to isolate and/or treat them. Well, what a great idea! Too bad the morons at OSPCA didn't think of this before they killed 100 or so innocent animals who didn't do anything wrong except get sick because of human stupidity.
This just proves that they were too f***ing lazy to do this in the first place...but then when there was a public outcry and protest, oh, well... then it sounds like a good idea, right?
I am so sick of these bureaucrats that run 'animal welfare' (so-called) organizations. Seriously, what is wrong with these people...did they ever care about the animals or were they always so cold hearted and callous? Maybe in the beginning they did care but over the years they became hard & jaded. Whatever the reason, they need to be gone. I hope there is a major inquiry into this mess and their fat asses get kicked to the curb.
I've been so disgusted by this whole thing all week...the ridiculous "pitbull" law, the whole THS debacle and now there no safe haven for animals in this province?
I'm certainly not a fan of THS and it made me laugh when I read their statement (uh, didn't you euthanize 7 dogs last month because you couldn't be bothered to socialize/rehabilitate them?) but you have to admit that what they've been saying all these years (that the OSPCA is "trigger-happy" when it comes to euthanasia) has more than a grain of truth to it.
Anyway, thank God for the people who did protest...if it wasn't for them, there would 300+ animals dead because obviously the brain-dead head honchos at OSPCA couldn't have come up with the whole move/isolate/treat thing on their own.

Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more with the last comment. HUMAN ERROR, they said. So the animals pay the price. MORONS, indeed.

Anonymous said...

We need some protestors at the Hamilton Animal Control to protest the fact that they don't adopt out animals and instead euthanise the majority (mostly cats) three times a week.