If you have never worked at an animal shelter, volunteered at an animal shelter, or been to an animal shelter, you may be quite shocked by Nathan and Jennifer Winograd’s book,Friendly Fire. Even if you have done any of these things, there is still much in this book that may anger you, amaze you, and ignite your passion for changing attitudes about domestic animals and their significance. We are told that cats and dogs are the animals we love, but anyone who reads this book knows better. We ignore them, neglect them, abandon them, harm them, starve them, and in some circumstances, we torment them. And far too often, we murder them, by the millions, each year.
The Shocking Truth about Large Advocacy Groups
One of the most disturbing truths revealed in the book is the role that large animal advocacy groups (PETA, ASPCA, HSUS) play in supporting some of the worst, most abusive and cruel animal shelter practices in existence. PETA is known to kill nearly all the animals they “rescue,” that total now in the thousands. Many fight the No Kill movement and have supported some of the worst shelters in the nation. This book will hopefully send the ethical donor researching their favorite charities.
The Winograds knock down all the standard arguments thrown against No Kill shelters, and they refute them all. Some of the central messages of the book are: 1)there is no excuse for killing, 2) the single best predicter of success in live release is the attitude of the Shelter Director, and 3)regressive shelters will often kill even when there are rescues that could save animals, potential fosters who could save animals, and a community that wants to save animals. The deep pockets of the some of the most well known animal charities often work against progressive changes that might save lives.
Why No Kill is a Challenge to the Status Quo
I admit to hearing and wondering about many false claims I heard about the No Kill movement, most of which were dispelled by attendance at the No Kill Conference held in the DFW area last March. But reading this book helped to increase my knowledge and concern about saving the adoptable animals and helping the No Kill message spread. While many shelters are doing better every year with live release increases, there are still times when animals get caught in a web of bureaucracy and lose precious possibilities towards finding a happy ending. In some shelters, there is such an investment in the status quo that any change is opposed in order to justify current and past practices.
If you want to impact animals in your community or elsewhere, check out what is happening in your own local shelter. And read Friendly Fire so you know the questions to ask and the tasks to undertake.