rescue is a pit of quicksand as far as moral and ethical issues go.
Carol · Jan. 21, 2013
it is like the whole issue of true "no kill." it is morally and ethically impossible. you simply cannot save every single animal. suffering is suffering..it doesn't matter if it is physical, mental or emotional and if you cannot alleviate suffering then you have to be kind and let the animal go. rescue is not about just keeping them alive...it is about ensuring their quality of life.
quality of life is another slippery slope..how do you determine how much someone else is enjoying their life? sheila and i had this discussion yesterday. wagging tails and happy to see you excitement does not necessarily mean someone is happy. it could actually mean they are frantically full of want/or need and desperately seeking something. i am kind of at that place with our diabetic cat oliver now. the insulin adjustment again did not work..his blood sugars just bottomed out. still once they went way up high again...he is eating with gusto, he is out and about and interactive..he purrs when i pick him up..but that cat is not happy. he is tormented physically and mentally by his disease that we cannot seem to manage or fix. and i need to quit procrastinating and admit that we are not able to provide a decent quality of life for him.
adoption fees are another moral issue for me. i simply cannot and will not put a price tag on any living or breathing thing. i am not an animal broker and i do not sell living things.
by the same token i absolutely will not give them to someone looking for an animal for free.
so i found my comfort zone by allowing adopting folks the option to make a donation towards caring for all of the animals here. how much or how little they donate is entirely up to them just like any kind of donation...it is a personal choice based on their beliefs and financial comfort. none of my business how much that will be. my business is to ensure they can and will meet the needs of their new family member once that animal leaves me and i have already made sure of that before the adoption paperwork begins.
i can and do rescue and provide care for 100+ animals every day of the year. but i can only do that well by having an army of dedicated staff and volunteers to fundraise and help care for them well. there is no point in rescuing anyone if we cannot or will not take care of them..better to leave them to whatever fate awaits then to take them and become just another ongoing problem for them. we are responsible for every aspect of their overall well being from the moment we take them to the moment they leave us. there are no excuses for not ensuring they are taken care of well.
there are rescues that are like concentration or refugee camps..that is not rescue..that is having too many to care for properly. having said that, there are some compromises that have to be made while animals live in shelters..but good food, fresh water, clean beds, clean and decently groomed, parasite free bodies, ongoing appropriate medical care, regular stimulation and exercise, personal safety, daily love and affection are the non negotiable basics of responsible shelter care. and you absolutely have to have the appropriate space, manpower and finances to provide this basic level of care.
animals in rescue do not have to have the perfect life..but they have to have a decent life that meets their basic needs. the perfect life comes when and if we place them with the right families. but to stay on top of caring for them in between, we have to have strong foundations in high standards of care and avoid the pitfalls of quicksand that will swallow not only ourselves but the animals we pledged to help when we decided to "rescue" them.