No Freedom to Live?
The term "socially conscious sheltering" has been thrown around a bit lately which suggests five things animals in shelters should have. They are wonderful things to which we should all aspire. They are things like freedom from pain, thirst & discomfort. They are things all shelters should strive to provide to every pet in their care. Unfortunately, people promoting these freedoms have left out the most important one: The freedom to live. After all, the freedom from discomfort means little if I am not allowed to live.
Unfortunately, omitting the freedom to live from the equation in animal shelters can cause the other freedoms to be excuses for killing. "We're ending suffering," they say, as they bring an otherwise healthy dog into the euthanasia room to be destroyed. The problem with the approach of those promoting so-called "socially conscious sheltering" is that it does not provide methods for achieving any of the freedoms they claim to cherish. That is why I like to say "socially conscious sheltering" is really no more than a re-branding of the status quo in kill-oriented animal shelters. The irony is that they use the words in order to attack No Kill shelters, which actually do have proven methodologies for actually achieving these freedoms, without succumbing to the notion that killing a healthy animal is some sort of liberation.
It is an interesting topic that all shelters should think about. I recently hosted a panel discussion with Alan Rosenberg, Davyd Smith and Aubrie Kavanaugh on this topic. You can watch the discussion below: