Reactions to “pet overpopulation” and David Duchovny’s new cause

Tuesday, DogTime released its third installment in our ongoing No Kill series. This week’s article questions the No Kill movement’s assertion that pet overpopulation, in this country at least, is a myth. Coincidentally on Wednesday, the Huffington Post published this piece: Animal Overpopulation: What’s the Solution to 600 Million Stray Dogs?

The HuffPost article is worth a read, if not for the sobering statistics about euthanasia internationally, then for the embedded video spot featuring David Duchovny. The actor speaks on behalf of 600million.org — a group dedicated to ending the horrific suffering and cruel killing faced by stray animals world wide.

Meanwhile, domestically, we struggle not only with our own devastating homeless pet epidemic, but with where to focus resources and even simply how to talk about the problem. Reactions to the DogTime article reflect the disparate and impassioned viewpoints.

Brian Roll posted:

“Sorry but the No Kill Nation and Winograd are off base. Do the math, one breeding pair of cats or dogs can have up to 20 or more offspring in a year. Anything that adds to the population, breeders, puppy mills, hobbyists or accidents needsto be stopped, at least temporarily…There is only one real solution to the problem, preventing more animals coming into the world without a home. Until No Kill Nation and the veterinary community gets behind spay/neuter they are denying the reality of the situation.”

Kevan Boston offered a different perspective:

“If it isn’t a myth then how is it possible that places like Reno are No Kill? No Kill doesn’t mean housing animals for long periods. It means putting lots of programs in place such as [spay/neuter]. Programs for owner retention, programs that help get animals more exposure thus more adoptions. We have been brainwashed for years to believe it is all our [fault], the public’s fault, yet more places become No Kill every year.”

The commenters, however, all agree on one thing: They want the killing to stop. So are we wasting time discussing the validity of the term “overpopulation”? We are if discussing is taking the place of doing.

You’d be hard-pressed to find any two individuals, let alone any two groups or movements, who agree on every aspect of a problem and solution, including the language around how to talk about it. As I writer, I strongly believe in the power of words. But as a humane-ist, I can’t understate the power of action.

On behalf of the non-English speaking animals who don’t care about terminology — and are suffering or dying as a result of our inability to manage this crisis — I urge the following:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Spay and neuter your pets
  3. Support aggressive spay/neuter programs
  4. Do not buy animals from breeders or pet stores (and stay tuned for my June 7 article which takes a stand against all breeders)

Your reactions are welcome. Please post your thoughts and insights below.