Voluntariness and Animals

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Posted in category Voluntaryist

Reuters published a sad story about the high kill rate (70%) of shelter dogs in Japan, as opposed to countries like Britain (less than 10%). Oddly, no mention of the U.S.

Both of my dogs came from a county shelter 13-14 years ago, back when there were few private rescues, and no resource such as Petfinder online. Both would have died within days had I not taken them home. I would have been deprived of those two beautiful lives, and they would have been cheated out of their long, happy lives.

Nowadays, private rescues have popped up everywhere. Living in a metro area, I see new, local rescues all the time on Petfinder. I sometimes donate to these organizations because they are all volunteers contributing their time, and  sometimes money, to a most worthy cause. The culture here in America is such that people value pets and place them at a similar level of importance as family, and so they give their time accordingly. In the past, the government, with its county and city shelters, did nothing more than cage the homeless animals for a few days, hoping someone might come by to adopt them, and if not, they were killed. Since governments were not going to ramp up a massive welfare state to care for animals and their needs, private efforts stepped in and took up the task. What has evolved over the last dozen years is a huge network of cooperating individuals and organizations donating their time and money to what has become a largely private (and efficient) animal welfare system that is effective in dealing with the welfare of unwanted pets.

Knowing that people do this makes you realize that America is still a place where people value private, voluntary effort in place of government-run welfare. If only people would comprehend that the welfare state, in terms of human lives, has replaced what also used to be the domain of private, voluntary charities.

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4 Responses to Voluntariness and Animals

  1. Paul Mollon says:

    March 30th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great article Karen. Your point demonstrates yet again how voluntary action is always the answer.

    In my more than thirty years of talking about libertarian ideas, the “if-the-government-doesn’t-do-it-nobody-will” argument inevitably raises it’s stupid head, even with obvious evidence to the contrary staring people in the face. This argument is always, always (and did I mention ALWAYS) brought up for welfare issues.

    There is a lady here in our town who is an absolute dynamo at fund-raising for the local United Way campaign. She’s probably as good as anyone on the planet at raising money voluntarily for various causes, yet she is a raging Marxist/Socialist who firmly believes that without government welfare programs we would all be kicking starving street children into the gutters. When I point out that her own efforts belie that fear and that even when the government taxes away half or more of our productive efforts, she and others like her can still raise millions for their causes. (VOLUNTARILY, I shout) But no, she insists, the government “safety net” must be there. Some net! I’m no psychologist but it seems to be a sort of primal fear that is relieved by the notion of an all-powerful protector, while blanking out the real nature of the government welfare beast.

  2. Bob Roddis says:

    March 30th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    1. Great post, Karen. Without the welfare regulatory state, medical care would be plentiful and cheap and poor people without medical care would be looked after by “rescue” organizations like those that have sprung up for pets. 2. I’d never ever heard of the Bichon Frise breed until we got Dudley at age one in 1992 for $50 from a Bichon Rescue (which I had also never heard of). We also got a a female Jessie at age seven in 1998 through a rescue. They both lived to be sixteen. They learned to chase squirrels and discovered the joy of rolling in dead fish on a Lake Erie beach.

  3. Shannon says:

    March 30th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Amen Karen! I couldn’t agree more on the issue of human welfare. If it was privatized and more people really stepped up to the plate, there would less bureaucratic red tape and people would truly get the help they need without all the interventionism.

  4. Tom Osborne says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 2:58 am

    That was a brilliant correlation, Karen, and such a good, true example of private voluntary rescue action.

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