501 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
To the Editor;
While reading the article on “No Kill Shelters” in the current issue of PETA news, I lost all respect for your organization and 20+ years of support turned immediately to complete outrage. Victimization of grass roots rescue workers is one of the issues that my organization tackles in its community outreach work. Besides the poverty, exhaustion and extreme working conditions, local grass roots rescue workers also face a daily barrage of emotional blackmail as the public, and now PETA tries to pin the weight of all suffering onto their shoulders. I shall immediately draw the ending of the article into the light by stating that it is not the shelter who threw the dog out of the car, it was the immoral individual, who should have found a solution to HIS dilemma, not killed his own dog. Personal responsibility in regards to one’s own FAILINGS… failing to make a life time commitment, failing to find the ways and means to uphold that commitment , and finally failing to find a humane and legal solution to his inability to keep that commitment, are the sole responsibility of that owner, not the workers.
To blame workers who dedicate their entire lives, 7 days a week, with little or no pay, and long and strenuous hours, for the illegal and inhumane actions of those who abuse, neglect and abandon animals is like blaming loving foster families who care for children for the abuses others did to them. Blame the abuser, not the last wall of defense. Your logic is sick, wrong and immoral.
To blame us for all of the death and abuse simply because we cannot get to every animal is absurd. Your solution of letting the kill shelters take them all in is not even logical. They cost just as much and haven’t the space. To find a few messed up shelters and then condemn a nation of compassion is nasty and misleading. Our area has many well thought out and affective groups making a real difference in our communities. Here are a few you should know about. Progressive Animal Welfare Org. in Lynwood WA is a no kill who adopts animals out so quickly you must be there the day after they are listed on line, in order to adopt that dog. Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue has an all foster care program where breed reps handle adoptions and foster homes absorb the costs by providing the housing, food and labor. Second Chance Ranch in Elma WA houses their rescues on their own property, Mike and Katie pay for most of their operations themselves through equine board and training. Their dogs don’t rot in cages, but are taught to be social and live more naturally in groups. Your analogy of animals in tiny cages sitting in ”shelters” for months wasting away is simply incorrect. That is called HOARDING, not rescue and a few poor examples are not enough to condemn the wonderful work people dedicate their lives to!
We at ESR fund our own equine rescue on our own farm, as do most horse rescues. If I were to apply your logic we should send our 24 member herd to slaughter right now just because we are unable to save all horses from slaughter. We get emotional black mail like this every day in e-mails and such. “Take him or I’ll send him to slaughter”. We are not here to serve the abusers of the world, or to be abused, but to save who we can and to serve underserved communities. People who are truly responsible and committed equine community members, who fall on hard times and are searching for a safe transition for their loved ones. We can give peace and comfort to those who fall on hard times and want to be responsible for where their horses end up. We cannot save them all, what with the registries encouraging the overpopulation as they make their money registering foals. The American Quarter Horse Asc is pro slaughter so who should you blame for the epidemic of death? Sporting activities and care practices cause most lameness in US horses, but we are to blame for the lives lost because we haven’t any more time, money or land? We are the ones fighting to end slaughter and shut down the houses, and educating our local communities about over population, causes of lameness, and the issues of pony skins and PMU’s. But the abusers are piling up more cases than we could ever get to, so we are the evil here while the registries get rich off of the over breeding? In your logic we should divert all funds to fighting the AQHA and many other registries on the matter of breeding, and ignore the immediate needs of animals and people wanting answers, education, outreach, and direct services in our local communities. Leave it to the slaughter houses and kill shelters to sort “em all out! You say.
By that logic we should remove all funding from orphanages, foster care, abused and neglected children’s services and all social programs as they cost money for children here now, and focus it all on birth control. The consequences of that would be absurd and grotesque. Your logic fails in all cases. It is local people who can speak and serve their communities best. Assuming that all we do is waste money and resources is insulting to us and misleading to your readers. Your article was divisive and will tear the rescue community apart instead of uniting us in the true cause, to eliminate suffering. To turn our backs on our community’s needs and the suffering we find there would be immoral and wrong and does plenty more damage than you claim we do by helping.
We acknowledge that someone else does the killing for us. Some horses are not going to be sound no matter what we do and the meat man gets them in the end. We haven’t the resources or the heart to endure what should be the responsibility of the owner to end a life humanely. I will not be condemned for having personal limitations that I admit to. I see more suffering than most people could take… as do all rescue workers. To have a mission with defined boundaries is an efficient and effective part of any organization. We shall not be emotionally blackmailed by anyone, least of all by PETA. Your articles are filled with the story of the individual success, the one who made it. But if he makes it through a No Kill it is not then a valid victory because we, like you haven’t saved them all? I don’t think so.
We are so much more than “a band aid on a shot gun wound”. Your undervaluing and blatant attack on grass roots organizations with a specific mission shows your lack of understanding as to what we do. Every rescue has a place. No one can be all things to all people, not even PETA obviously. Your report was unfair and a blatant divisive maneuver for a budgetary goal. The money you spend to expose one lab in court (to better conditions for a dozen animals or so who are going to be tortured in experiments regardless), would spay and neuter how many ? Should we ask you to discontinue that work because of the few numbers of animals that you represent in court… compared to the numbers you could spay and neuter with that same money? ABSURD! As an editor you should know better than to print inflammatory and incorrect articles. Apply the logic of the article to your organization as I did above and you would be swimming in controversy.
Your remarks in the article were a clear and complete grab for funding. To feel challenged by small, grass roots organizations, most of which support and contribute to PETA, demonstrates an amazing lack of respect for our fight against suffering and a lack of understanding as to the creative and self sacrificial budgeting that occurs in these organizations. Most “host farm” and “foster run” organizations are self funded and many workers live well below their potential means, as they sacrifice their ability to earn a better living in order to be better committed to their rescue work. Many rescue workers live on the border of poverty or below the poverty line in order to carry out their missions. Your competitive and vicious remarks in pursuit of the almighty dollar bill toward these individuals and their work is demeaning and wrong. We expect the emotional blackmail from the abusers, but not from PETA. You owe many good people a very loud and lengthy apology.
Equine Sanctuary & Rescue @ Sweet-T-Ranch