Essay on Animal Overpopulation

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There can be no doubt that shelters in the United States are overcrowded, feral cats roam our city streets, thousands of dogs live in grotesque conditions in puppy mills across the country, and yet most American citizens when polled will readily declare that their cat or dog is like ‘a member of the family’. The state of companion animals in this country is precarious at best; caught between scientists who subscribe to Descartes’s idea of ‘anima ex machina’ (unfeeling, a living example of biological processes without the status of ‘being’) and the more common phenomenon of people who pamper their pets in ways that most people would envy. For most individuals living in an urban society such as ours, the most common interaction with animals…show more content…
While Rollin’s point might be a little strongly worded for some people, he succinctly gets at the root of the problem – the poor treatment of man’s so-called “best friends” and their feline compatriots is at its heart a moral problem. Improving the moral status of companion animals in this society would solve the problem of overpopulation and there are several different ways this is addressed: through reforming shelters, promoting spay and neutering programs, stamping out poor breeding practices, and all of these work toward the common underlying goal of changing the way that society views our relationships with our pets. The first way that ‘animal people’ (by which I simply mean anyone who is actively working for the betterment of the condition of animals in society or outside of it) are trying to improve the moral status of companion animals is through working to change the way that animal shelters operate. One issue being dealt with is that of the high rate of humane killing of healthy animals in animal shelters. While there are defensible circumstances surrounding ‘humane killing’ (animal welfarists, those people concerned with “particular attention to the avoidance of pain to individual animals and to the health of populations as a whole” may advocate humane killing of ‘unadoptable’ animals or in
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