Let’s Talk About Sanctuaries

sanctuary
source: flickr

After writing the recent piece The Truth About Cats And Dogs, more than a few comments were made saying that there was no difference between people who ‘rescue’ cats and dogs and those who manage animal ‘sanctuaries’.

Is there really no difference or are those people who do have cats, dogs and birds trying to elevate their position further by comparing themselves to sanctuaries?

I believe that there are huge fundamental differences between keeping a pet at home, and animals being kept in a sanctuary.  To clarify things here before all sorts of assumptions are made, when I say and refer to a sanctuary, I am referring to those that are set up for the sole purpose of rescuing those animals that are used in animal agriculture. I am not talking about those sanctuaries that are nothing more than zoos. This also includes the ‘sanctuary’ that was referred to in the piece Appraisal of Good and Evil.

To begin with, visitors who attend an animal sanctuary, are under no illusion as to where the animals came from, and the conditions that they would normally be housed in, if they had have remained in the animal agricultural system. The same cannot necessarily be said for those who have cats and dogs.

If you took your ‘rescued’ dog out to an off leash area for him or her to have a bit of a run around, will you be able to talk to every single person that may see D-fer, that they are a ‘rescued’ animal, and that buying from a store or breeder is the ‘wrong’ thing to do when there are so many in a shelter up for sale?

Then there is the matter of the size of the ‘backyard’, that the dog has to ‘play’ in. Most people keep their ‘rescued’ dog in a standard suburban backyard, whereas an animal in a sanctuary usually has a number of acres to ‘play’ or roam around in. If the pet is a cat, the owner usually does one of two things. They either let their cat roam the neighbourhood and have an impact on the other animals there, or these animals are confined indoors for the rest of their lives. From this aspect alone, there is a huge difference between the two.

Next comes the amount of noise that an animal is able to make. An animal that is kept domestically is usually not able to communicate when and in a way they feel like, without being chastised by their human owner.  If the animals continue to make a noise, complaints can be made regarding this, which could possibly result in the animal being taken away from his or her owner.Whereas an animal kept on a farm is able to make as much or as little noise as they feel like.

Once again, this shows the difference between the two.

There there is the issue of the socialisation and social structure of the animals. Your average ‘pet’, is either forced to live in solitary confinement or with others that they may not necessarily get along with. Whereas the animals in a sanctuary get to live with their own species, and form their own social hierarchy. So, once again, there is a huge difference between keeping an animal as a pet, and those animals in a sanctuary.

Whilst there are still more areas that can be pointed out showing the differences between the two, I am hoping that this will be enough for those readers who are more open minded regarding this subject. Those who aren’t will undoubtedly find things where they claim they are the same, and use that similarity to continue keep other animals as pets.

If you do feel the need to ‘save’ or ‘rescue’ an animal, why don’t you donate that money to an animal sanctuary? Whilst I do understand that there won’t be the ‘status’ attached to it, by telling everyone that you have ‘rescued’ an animal, you will be doing a heap more for the animals. So long as the sanctuary that you are donating to promotes veganism.

If you feel that you just ‘have’ to spend time with an animal(s) to feel better about things, why don’t you volunteer your time to work at the sanctuary as well?

After all, we are doing this for the animals aren’t we?