Animal Rights Are Up to Us
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 14:10
Last week, I walked into my sister’s apartment and nearly tripped over her newest addition to the family: a small calico kitten. The fact that my sister got a kitten wasn’t too surprising to me since she had been talking about getting a pet for her almost 4-year-old daughter. But I had thought she was going to get a dog.
Immediately my first question was, “Where did you get her?” hoping that she wouldn’t give me the dreaded answer.
Luckily, so didn’t say “the pet store.”
My sister said she found the kitten on Craigslist, which wasn’t the ultimate answer I was looking for, until she explained further.
The kitten—later named Sally Cat after many other rejected names—was being housed at a Minn-Kota PAAWS, People Advocating Animal Welfare Services, volunteer’s home. The kitten was found in a house with a disgusting amount of other cats. The volunteer said there were about 70.
It wasn’t surprising then that Sally Cat had an eye infection in both eyes. She needed to take antibiotics and receive eye drops every day. Sally Cat is slowly going blind.
What possibly motivates people to breed so irresponsibly is beyond me. How can one or two people possibly give enough attention to 70 cats? I don’t even think that is possible for 10 (and probably less) cats. Animals have to live in conditions many people couldn’t even dream of enduring. And they are completely helpless to the situation.
I am not sure if I feel more sympathy toward animals than people because I have always been such a huge animal lover, or if it’s just because they have no power to take care of themselves and are still subjected to such horrible conditions. Yet most animals love unconditionally regardless of the torture they are put through. Sally is calm and sweet, and most importantly, extremely patient with a 4-year-old girl.
Conditions like Sally Cat had to live in are sickeningly more common than some may think. Many animal-rights groups and rescue organizations state pet stores often purchase their animals, especially puppies, from similar places, commonly known as “puppy mills.” Irresponsible breeding practices by puppy mills, and places such as the one Sally was rescued from, create health problems for the animals, such as the kitten’s eye infections. Potential pet owners that choose to purchase their pets from pet stores are only helping support inhumane breeding practices.
On the bright side, some pet stores are banning the use of “commercial breeders.” Instead, the stores are offering shelter animals. One city that passed the ordinance is St. Louis, Mo. According to KMOV.com, 31 cities have passed similar ordinances.
While this is a start, the only way to really fight for animal rights is for people to individually take responsibility. Getting pets from local shelters is much more beneficial than purchasing pets from pet stores and is less expensive. Most importantly, however, you are not providing a profit for people who contribute to poor health conditions and abuse the furry friends. They deserve just as much love as pet store pets.
Emma is a senior majoring in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @emmajheaton2.