It would have been utterly impossible to have missed the story of this weekend’s SPCANS seizure. Even if one was unwilling or unable to sample what wares social media had to offer, the tale quickly grew legs and galloped around mainstream media outlets of all stripes.
Is that a bad thing? Of course not! In my not so humble opinion, it is always a good thing to shine the spotlight on animal welfare. There is always the possibility that such stories can be both food for thought and fodder for coffee break chat.
But .. and yes is there not always, always a but … where are the tales of the pussycats in distress? Animal abandonment is acknowledged by all parties as animal cruelty. At the eleventh hour, Nova Scotia’s “new” regulations for the Animal Protection Act were even expanded to specifically include cats.
Now it is not as if there are no stories on the subject. There is not one single week when cat rescuers around the province are not struggling to fundraise for cats. Each and every week, there are abandoned mother cats with their wee ones. Each and every week there are Feral cats to fix and feed. And each and every week there are calls about strays showing up looking for safe harbor.
Each and every week this is happening! So where are all the stories in the news about that? When twenty-five dogs and puppies were in distress, the society pulled out all the stops … even closing the shelter for a bit until the dogs and puppies could get sorted out and situated.
To be perfectly fair, I have yet to hear of vehicular attacks on society inspectors .. or anyone for that matter .. .trying to bring twenty odd cats out of harms way. Nor would the shelter close down to make room for sudden influxes of cats. The plain unvarnished truth is that cats in distress are not seen as critical enough to shut down any society shelter in this province.
Where are all the news releases for the cats? Where are all the sound bites? Newspaper articles? It IS possible to position a cat story in the media. A couple of years ago in Kings County, an animal advocate used a FOI request to obtain the appalling Animal Control statistics. There was a great flurry for a week or two. It even inspired the society to successfully lobby for the Animal Control contract.
Did that make anything better? Who knows! The society has slipped out of the habit of transparency. Those bright and shiny days when their statistics were proudly displayed every quarter are a dream that once was. Are they taking all the cats in need? Who knows? What is their live release rate these days? Who knows that either.
( As a sidebar note to that, the testy topic of how Kings County is either unwilling or unable to invest further funding for cats to well-known and well-respected, long-term cat rescuers is a sticky subject that will get a post of its own one of these days, eh? )
But I am wandering afield .. as I am often wont to do in my meandering way. Lets face it .. the difference between cats and dogs is sadly still so much more than anatomical. Nor, to be perfectly fair, is the society alone on the Good Ship Speciesism. Politicians when pressed kick the can down the road for someone else. I have been told that pet store satellite adoption centers still give preferential treatment to dogs and leave cats playing second fiddle with the lower traffic times.
Nor is there any righteous public indignation when garbage bags .. or green bins … of cats and kittens keep popping up. No one runs to the media when bags of cats are tossed out vehicles, eh?
Why? The plain unvarnished truth is even at the grassroots level, beautiful and brilliant cats are often second class kittizens. Many owned cats live their whole lives without seeing a vet. Even worse, It is simply accepted as a fact of life that cats and kittens will be dumped. Saddest if all of course is that unwanted cats who survive the natural predators, can still fall prey to the “varmint hunters’ … hired by humans who see them only as pests.
I once asked a friend of mine involved in the media why stories about cats never made the front page. Her take was that editors did not find such frequent stories to be newsworthy. Ah then … does no one choose to see that the frequency IS the story?
What time is it? If one cannot respect what wonderful companions cats are … then at least it is time to understand that it is just plain old-fashioned fiscal prudence to fix the cat overpopulation problem . After all, it is only small children wishing away the monsters under the bed who believe they can close their eyes and make everything better!