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March(ing) On!

Social change occurs when we change the conversation. That is our SUPERPOWER! A percentage of the grants for dog and cat transport in the US must be invested into the source community. In this blog, I would like to use this opportunity to focus on an important distinction between solving the over-population program in the US, versus fueling it. If the conversation is that the transport of dogs is a necessary part of the matrix of animal welfare, then that is a problem, as it is not a TRUE necessity. Transporting animals from place A to place B, is a consequence of the lack of spay/neuter in place A. Therefore, to solve it, you target spay/neuter resources in place A. That is logical, humane, and possible to do. It means that those who have balanced their populations because they are rich in resources, now have the opportunity to find ways to help, and go to those states, who have not. Those of us who work in and with shelters know this and understand that transports of animals from the southern shelters who are jam-packed, to the northern states, who have space, resources and homes, makes sense AS LONG as a percentage of the transport grant/funding goes back to the original southern community for spay/neuter ….therefore preventing more puppies. If we are not supporting social change at the source of the problem, then we are not working toward the larger scale mission, we are just keeping the machine in motion. Collecting revenue from the offspring of dogs whose caregivers cannot afford to have them sterilized is unethical and is simply creating another industry around the exploitation of animals, and humans. The breeding tap must be turned off. Then, eventually, the transport of animals from A to B will not be necessary in the USA and we will begin to bring animals in from other countries. For example, from countries where they historically eat dogs, which will one day soon, will also be put to a halt. We implore everyone who is involved in transport of cats and dogs, to speak up. To be bold and ask what percentage of the grant funding, or adoption fee goes back to the original community to be used for low cost spay/neuter? If you do already, congratulate those who made the decision to give funds back to the original community. Let us celebrate all the good decisions. Today Elsa, our Program Director, is in the Harlingen Shelter in Southern Texas. When she checked in with me today, she said, "I wish everyone could spend some time in an animal shelter in the south, I think it would change the way people think and bring about quick social change. Watching litters of puppies and kittens, as well as adult animals, consistently arrive at the shelter throughout the day is heartbreaking. The staff at these shelters are inspiring, and some of the hardest working people in the world, but there is no way they can keep up. If the animal welfare community truly wants to improve the lives of these animals, we need to start putting more resources behind spay/neuter and basic vaccination resources for the community, or this cycle will never change." When I started AB in 2004, I had just heard Dame Jane Goodall speak. Shetold the audience that if we have the means, we absolutely must share our resources with those who do not have them. She told us that by doing so, we would build connections and learn from others. AB has stood by Dame Jane Goodall’s words through all of our decisions in how we share resources, whether here in the United States, or with other countries. We have the resources in the US to solve this. Once we do so, then we can help those who do not.

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