What does the term “humane” really mean? Does it mean kindness, mercy, and compassion? Does it involve a concerted effort to inflict the minimum of physical and emotional pain… in an attempt to minimize suffering? Does it insist on giving consideration to all living creatures?
Shouldn’t “humane” mean that we aim to treat all humans and animals as we'd wish to be treated? That we throw good in the face of evil? That we shed light in the darkness? That we provide hope instead of despair?
Sadly, the word “humane” has been widely abused and misused by some “perceived” animal welfare organizations… in their attempts to provide misleading and deceptive descriptions of their extremely inhumane practices.
And everyone is falling for it…
When the general public hears the term “humane society,” they often feel hopeful, comforted, and appreciative. People assume that justice is being done, animals are being cared for, and homes are being found. While there are some AMAZING humane organizations out there, in truth, the vast majority of local and national humane societies are anything but “humane.”
So often, the term “humane society” refers to a high-kill shelter, with both public and private funding, and a limited concern for animal welfare. While donations are solicited for animal care, the money coming in often isn't reaching the animals for which it’s intended… and in fact, the majority of pets are being killed despite the available funds and space to help them. In these cases, I’d say there’s a major ethical issue with using the term “humane.” Yes, they’ll gladly take your donations… and they’ll still euthanize the animals anyway.
Sure, they’ll admit to killing the sick or aggressive animals. But what they don’t admit… is that they’re often killing everything else too. And they’re using YOUR donation money to do it.
Yet… because this information isn’t reaching the public, communities continue to support and donate toward the unethical groups. In addition, people dump their pets at these shelters… assuming that because the term “humane” is in the name… it must be so. But the truth is this: many (NOT all) “humane societies” are euthanizing more pets each year than the high-kill pounds in their area. At the same time, they take donations that could go to the small, under-funded rescue groups… the ones who are actually doing the saving.
These high-kill “humane societies” use their name to gain the public’s trust, support, and money… and it’s working. There’s a national misconception that “humane” means “good” and “pound” means “bad.” Trust me… kill shelters understand this concept, and they capitalize on it. By simply calling themselves the “Humane Society” instead of “Over-Funded, High-Kill Shelter,” they’re able to gain immediate credibility… even if their actions don’t support the false advertising in their name.
While small, under-funded rescue groups fight to save lives, people rally behind their local high-kill humane societies instead... under the false notion that these organizations are no-kill facilities. The public doesn’t realize that the rescue groups are the ones working to save these precious lives, while certain unethical “humane societies” get the funds… which are often used for salaries and killing. Sadly, the high-kill “humane societies” are given credit for saving thousands of lives… when in reality, these shelters are usually killing more lives than they ever intend to save...
If you don’t believe me, then consider this: Would you call a shelter that has historically killed more than 50-90% of incoming pets “humane?” Would you donate to a “humane society” that euthanizes a massive number of animals… despite having a state-of-the-art facility, an abundance of funding, and the ability to care for these pets? Would a decent organization send all of their adoptable animals out to rescue groups, but then pocket the donations intended for those animals? Would a truly “humane” group willingly take funds from no-kill groups and rescues, when they themselves are known for killing the animals instead of spending money on their care?
If you think the public would never support groups like these, think again. Despite a track record of massive killing and a lack of care, certain "humane societies" have received and continue to receive an overwhelming amount of public support, donations, goods, and services.
And still, no one has publicly mentioned their high-kill status. Until now.
Injustice, misinformation, and greed in the animal welfare world need to end NOW. The public must understand the reality of what’s happening, and therefore place their financial support in the hands of those who actually help the animals of this world… not those who simply kill them without any humane effort.
So, how can YOU change this?
1) Please don’t waste your money by donating to national groups that don't put the animals first. Have you ever asked yourself how they pay for all the advertising etc? That’s right… through your donations.
2) Instead, you should donate to your local rescue group or shelter, or give to a rescue that speaks to your heart and clearly puts the funds toward the animals. Support the small, under-funded groups that fight to do what’s right. Without your help, they can’t continue.
3) Educate yourself on the actions of local “humane societies” in your area. Most (NOT all) will surprise you with their extremely inhumane practices and disregard for life. Support the amazing humane societies, shelters, and rescue groups out there.
4) ADOPT... whether it be from your local humane society, shelter, or rescue group. The killing can be reduced through adoption and spay/neuter. Let's put the "humane" back in humane society.
5) SHARE this blog post. We must educate the public about this topic. Good-hearted public support is going to all the wrong people. Let’s change that.
*There are SO MANY amazing shelters & rescues saving lives. Make sure your goodwill has an impact! Support the groups who fight for what's right!