February 21, 2019

Disposable Animals

Here at the OHS, we talk a lot about spaying and neutering pets. It’s a cornerstone of our strategy and of the whole humane movement and has been for many years. And with dogs, the strategy has been very successful, at least in most of North America. Few humane societies receive dozens of boxes of puppies each spring, as was once the case for most, if not all of us.

Sadly, for cats, the situation is very different, and though slowly improving, we and our colleagues across Canada continue to see the yearly phenomenon, known to us all as “kitten season.”

An abundance of disposable virtually-everything, cheap clothing and other consumer goods has created our throw-away culture. Even furniture, once carefully crafted and expected to be passed down for generations, has given way to trendy chip board pieces put together with Allen keys in our living rooms.

Our 5-year strategic plan reminds us that too many cats will live wretched lives as long as there are too many cats. After all, they are given away for “free” on Kijiji. And while I recognize that many who acquire a pet on Kijiji are perfectly responsible people, I can’t help but believe that the sheer number of cats in our community puts them in the same category as cheap furniture: ultimately disposable. And what happens to disposable pats? They suffer though abandonment, illness and injury, and they produce new generations of suffering.

The solution? Spaying and neutering. Since 2007, the OHS has ensured that every pet adopted here is sterilized. And in 2016, we launched a heavily-subsidized mobile spay neuter service for income-qualified individuals in the community. These initiatives, coupled with our education efforts are resulting in slowly reducing the number of cats needing our care each year.

Beyond the long list of health benefits of sterilization for individual animals, I believe deeply that the lives of the whole population of pets in our community will ultimately be vastly improved through our spay/neuter efforts.

Bruce Roney

President and CEO