I can't look at the pictures. Talking about the deaths of three hundred plus animals is a lot easier than even looking at the picture of one being lead to what might be its last few moments of life. The worst part is how trusting they are. That Husky, eagerly jumping over the low barricade for the person in the head to toe biohazard suit, happily going for a walk with her.
I couldn't do what that person is doing and this isn't a case of me pretending to be morally superior. It's weakness if anything. I once thought about being a vet and then quickly realized that I'd never be able to euthanize animals on a regular basis. Vets have to be made of hardier stuff.
I happened to be taking Stella to see one of those vets today. Trying to get a sense of this super Ringworm strain which the OSPCA claim has infected the animals in their Newmarket facility and thus requiring mass euthanasia, I brought it up with the vet and the vet techs in the room with us.
They didn't come out fully and say so but I could tell they were sympathetic to the situation the Newmarket OSCPA is currently in and there were no outright condemnations of the OSPCA's methods. I left it at that because when dealing with people who have the well-being of my dog in their hands, I didn't really want to get into any kind of involved discussion with them which might throw them off the task at hand.
This short exchange did lead me to wonder if perhaps the OSPCA does have some sort of valid justification for what they are doing in Newmarket and are just being extremely inept at getting the reasons across to the public or rather is it perhaps that a lot of vets are just desensitized to euthanasia. I suppose vets have to be desensitized to a certain degree. A surgeon can't perform surgery if she gets queasy everytime she cuts someone open. And I'd most rather have a vet cool, calm and collected when it comes time for my own dogs to go than someone whose bawling their eyes out along with me.
The OSPCA is saying the decision to cull the three hundred plus animals at the Newmarket shelter is a veterinary one and management does not interfere with veterinary decisions especially when there is a public health risk involved. But in a shelter situation, where dozens of animal are euthanized weekly, hundreds if not thousands annually, can a vet become too desensitized to the point where euthanasia becomes a common and convenient alternative to treatment?
Three hundred animals put down at once is a lot but how long would it have taken the Newmarket shelter to put down that many animals under "normal" circumstances? If they're anything like a typical North American shelter, not long would be my guess. A month? Two months? I protest when I hear three hundred animals might be euthanized and yet if they are like a lot of shelters, they may very well kill thousands or more a year (Animal Shelter Euthanasia at the American Humane website). Even if this particular shelter doesn't, others more than compensate.
Vets inside shelters must be accustomed to those high numbers of euthanasias otherwise how could they continue to work in those environments? Coping mechanisms must kick in. 300 deaths is a lot but maybe it's a molehill, not a mountain, for a shelter, for any shelter accustomed to death as most must be.
My brain is too small to comprehend 300 deaths. I just look at the doomed individual animals and that's hard enough. I hope for the best for those remaining creatures at the Newmarket OSPCA but I know they are only the tip of a sorrowful iceburg which has this week broken the surface into our la la la happy petland dreamstate. Next week, the tip may be hidden again, but the iceburg will still be there and getting larger by the day.
Updated news on the ongoing Newmarket OSPCA cull at The Star, OSPCA fundraiser cancelled over protests.