February 25th, 2011 by Editor
When Nathan Winograd’s groundbreaking book Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America came out a few years ago, those of us who were true animal welfarists — not that faction of animal welfare that was leaning dangerously close to animal rightism — finally had a voice. We rejoiced because we love animals and didn’t want to see them needlessly killed. (And it’s not euthanasia to needlessly kill perfectly adoptable animals in shelters. Killing in shelters for reasons other than illness and a few other exceptions isn’t mercy killing; it’s just needless killing.) And I finally understood why some shelters, Animal Controls, animal rights groups, and even some animal welfare groups didn’t want to save perfectly adoptable animals.
As Winograd pointed out in Redemption, the elimination of domestic animal ownership is in keeping with an ideology called “nativism.” Winograd defines nativism as the,
“…belief that the value of an individual animal comes from lineage and that worth as a species stems from being at a particular location first” (79).
In the minds of many environmentalists and animal rights activists, since you can’t set domestic animals free (after all, they are, according to them, unnatural human creations), you must necessarily kill them. So, in their view, in order to return to the “natural order” of things, indigenous species should take precedent over human encroachment, which includes human domestication of animals, because wild (i.e. natural, indigenous), animals were there first. Another way to put that is some animal rights and animal welfare organizations, as adherents of nativism, may not have an interest in saving pets’ lives, but may in fact be willfully seeking to exterminate them because pets are domesticated, not wild. Read the rest of this entry »