One of the toughest questions to answer in life is the “Chicken or Egg first?” question. I for one do not think that I will ever be able to answer this question. The thought of whether the first ever chicken on earth was in fact hatched from an egg can bring further confusion when one wonders about which chicken laid that first egg itself.
When I think about animal welfare, the question that comes to mind is whether animal shelters come first or breeders come first and who is responsible for the overpopulation of unwanted animals.
Do breeders encourage shelters to thrive and vice versa?
My other question is, will shelters and welfare societies be happy to relinquish themselves if there are no more animals to rescue? Ideally, we hope to have a world that is without strays and unwanted animals. Today, welfare organizations and shelters are heavily supported by donations and sponsorship and it makes me wonder if their existence indirectly encourages breeders to breed knowing well that they will cease to exist without unwanted animals.
When animal shelters put hundreds of animals to sleep through euthanasia, it is deemed justifiable because there is not enough space to accommodate the unwanted animals. But when the thought is shifted to the source of the unwanted animals – the breeders, it is a different labeling altogether if they are found to cull unwanted animals. It turns out to be animal cruelty. I just cannot make sense out of this double standard.
We are always told to solve problems by targeting the root cause. In this case, if we target the root cause, the responsibility will fall onto the breeders’ hands and if the problem is solved at the root level, shelters and welfare organizations will cease to exist. Wouldn’t that be an ideal situation?
One suggestion to rehabilitate people found being cruel to animals is to send them to work at shelters. I suggest that we go a little further when dealing with unscrupulous breeders.
Breeders found to be operating animal mills with animals living in bad conditions should be sent to shelters to administer the euthanasia procedure for unwanted animals. The number of animals that they euthanize commensurate with the degree of their “cruelty”. For example, for every animal found living under deplorable condition, they are required to euthanize 2 unwanted animal in the shelter.
In imposing such regulations, it is hoped that these irresponsible individuals will come to their senses and eventually, we shall live in a shelter and welfare free world.
But after all said and done, enforcement is still key.