Within the animal advocacy movement, there seems to be a bit of confusion about shelter kill lists.
Some say they are a single issue campaign, yet other proclaim that they aren’t.
So, are they or aren’t they?
What Is An SIC
To decide whether something is or isn’t a single issue campaign, we need to understand what one is.
The simplest way to define it is as follows:
A campaign that elevates a specific situation of one species or group of species as more morally relevant than other species in a similar or identical situation.
For example. The Ban Live Export campaigns are a single issue. They want the live export of animals to other countries, for them to kill to stop. While ignoring the live transportation and killing of animals at home.
Another example would be the anti-fur campaigns. These target those who wear fur, yet pay no attention to those who wear leather.
Kill Lists Are Speciesist.
Using the definition above, shelter “kill lists” ARE a single issue campaign.
They are also speciesist.
They promote the status of cats and dogs or any other animal the shelter may have, above others.
There is no mention of the thousands of animals who will be killed every day for food.
Or for clothing.
Or for medial research.
The reality of these lists is that they are nothing more than a ransom list.
You either pay $X to “rescue” the animal or they will be killed.
Are These Lists Abolitionist Friendly?
In a nutshell, no they aren’t and this is why.
One of the main points for those who are abolitionist is to remove the property status of other animals.
Kill lists further entrench the view that animals are property.
Those who ‘rescue’ the animal, are buying them to keep them as their own.
It doesn’t matter what warm and fuzzy term you attach to it.
You are buying an animal. Plain and simple.
An animal who is YOUR property.
Hang On. I Don’t View My Refugee As Property.
In today’s society, and under the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter what you choose to call them.
The animal you ‘rescued’ from the shelter is your property.
You have to abide by the laws of your area with regards to the keeping of pets.
This could be registration, licencing, micro-chipping, and so on.
Then there is also the issue that by keeping a pet yourself, you are telling and showing others that it is acceptable to do the same.
What About Their Right To Life?
Now this is where things get complicated.
When you ‘rescue’ an animal, you are ignoring some rights of the animal.
Their right to life is important.
As is their right to not be property.
Along with any number of other rights that are ignored when you own a pet.
There is also the other issue that what if the animal you are ‘rescuing’ isn’t able to cope with a plant based diet?
You would then have no other choice except to feed your ‘rescued’ animal other animals.
What makes the life of your ‘rescued’ animal more important than the life of those?
If we have a look at why Francione says single issue campaigns are bad, the same applies to kill lists.
First, SICs convey the idea that some forms of exploitation are worse than other forms of exploitation.
This is exactly what kill lists do.
We don’t see people posting and sharing the lists for the sale yards. Aren’t those animals worth “rescuing” too?
Second, SICs simply cannot work as a practical matter.
While it is still seen as acceptable to own a pet, there will always be kill lists. Then there is also the buying into the multi-billion dollar companion animal industry.
An industry that wants you to continue buying animals as pets.
Third, many single-issue campaigns encourage speciesism.
This has been discussed above.
Fourth, some single-issue campaigns often promote other forms of human discrimination.
To this point, kill lists promote the worst form of human discrimination.
Discrimination based on socio-economic status.
Only those who are wealthy enough to have their own home, and enough surplus funds are able to “rescue” an animal.
The rest are left to feel like they aren’t doing enough, despite doing all that they can just to survive.
What are your thoughts on kill lists?
Are they single issue campaigns?
Leave your comments below.
This article was written by the founder of VeganPolice.com.au, Cameron Blewett.
Cameron is a long term vegan (30+yrs), and is passionate about veganism, and helping people to understand more about it and giving other animals equal consideration.
You can find Cameron’s other rants on his website, CameronBlewett.blog