Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Rescuing" Animals from Pet Stores... and Shelters

Hello, everyone,
Before I get started with my next post, there are a few things that I'd like to clear up:
  1. I haven't been posting new blog posts solely on Sundays recently. Originally, that was my goal: one post every Sunday, usually in the morning. However, posting at the same time every week doesn't work out all the time. Therefore, I have changed this guideline: from now on, I'll try to post every Sunday, but I might end up posting on another day of the week, instead. I'm still posting (generally) once a week, however. You can count on me for that much!
  2. A couple weeks ago, I promised a "Part II" to my "Animal Rights, Backwards" series. I've decided to not do a Part II any time soon (if at all), however. The issue of native cultures and animal rights is too complicated and controversial for me to want to touch on at this time.
  3. Have you tried the search bar at the right-hand side of my blog yet? It's very handy, usable, and spiffy, don't you think? It displays results without taking you away from the page that you're currently on!
Today I'm going to talk about this weird habit that some people have... "rescuing" animals from the pet store. Essentially, this is either when:
  1. an animal at the pet store is getting old or is sick and no one wants to buy him or her, so a "compassionate" person comes along and buys the animal instead, or
  2. when an exotic pet (or any pet) is being improperly cared for at the pet store, so someone decides to buy the animal to take him/her home so they can take better care of him/her.
This may seem like a compassionate thing to do at the time, but it's actually detrimental to animals as a whole. As you may already have realized, "rescuing" that animal from the pet store only gives the pet store more revenue (and empty cage space) to buy more animals to fill its cages. In fact, you are actually encouraging the pet store to keep buying animals from breeders/puppy mills/etc., since by buying from the pet store, you're letting them know that there is a business for these pets. And so the vicious cycle continues.
The best way to help the pet store animals is to not buy them! If everyone avoided buying animals from pet stores, we would save generations to come of animals from the same pet-store fate.
Admittedly, that much was pretty obvious. Now I'm going to talk about the second part of this post, in which I pose the question,
"Under what circumstances is it not O.K. to adopt animals from animal shelters?"
File:Puppy on Halong Bay.jpg
Photo Attribution: By Andrea Schaffer from Sydney, Australia (Puppy on Halong Bay) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Many people believe that adopting animals from animal shelters is always completely morally pure. However, there are some circumstances in which I think it's best to generally avoid adopting from animal shelters:
  • If the animal is pure-bred or a "hard-to-get" breed or species that everyone else wants. Many people will rush to shelters in order to get their hands on a standard poodle, a Bernese Mountain Dog, or a pug. If you adopt an animal who everyone else is vying to get, your contenders may simply go to a pet store or breeder to get a different animal in the same breed, just because they want the breed. This means that for you to adopt the animal is just as bad as buying one from a pet store; the effect is merely displaced.
  • If you can't take on the responsibility of having a companion animal, please don't get one!
Other moral quandaries surrounding animal shelters also arise; however, I don't consider them significant enough to not adopt an animal just because of them. Here are some of these problems:
  • Spaying/neutering. Read my position on spaying and neutering here (scroll down to the section on "When You Shouldn't Spay Or Neuter, Or, Why Spaying And Neutering Is Sometimes Wrong").
  • Euthanasia. Some-- but not all-- animal shelters put their animals "to sleep" if they are overrun with animals (which, for most animal shelters, is a large proportion of the time!). This is cruel and uncompassionate.
When you pay an animal shelter for the animal you adopt, some of the money usually goes towards one or both of the things mentioned above. However, like I said, I don't believe that these are significant enough to not adopt an animal from the shelter. The animals may die or become ill if they don't get adopted, and supporting animal shelters is nowhere near as bad as supporting pet stores. (Of course, some pet stores sell only pet supplies, but not actual pets. Other pet stores only sell rescued animals in conjunction with shelters. These two kinds I'm not as concerned about-- the real "baddies" are the pet stores that sell animals from breeders and/or puppy mills-- those involved in the "animal industry".)

Thank you for reading, everyone! Have a lovely week!

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