Friday, January 14, 2011

Clarity is the best way to start cat(ch)ing up

The other day a good friend and kind heart who runs a cat rescue lost her first cat to FeLV.   In the last three years, Laurie has rescued over 600 cats and THIS is the first time she has encountered FeLV. 
Yet it is SO often used as justification for "unhealthy and untreatable"... in the same way that feline respiratory issues are.   Is it because some shelters use the ever so much more affordable yet less reliable tears / saliva tests instead of the more expensive but more reliable blood tests?
The first time in 600 makes it an almost infinitesimal percentage as opposed to the 30 - 35 percent that was found in some society shelters before they stopped killing cats.  ( and before the keyboards catch on fire ... I know that is a huge improvement from a couple of years ago and that when we do see the year end stats, that they should paint a better picture for the last quarter.)
And THAT pales by comparison to the (actually conservative )estimate of 75 percent killed annually in AC shelters south of the border.  Admittedly it would churlish to cast stones here in Nova Scotia without hard data, but it is hard to believe they don't face similar challenges.  In fact .. providing hard data/ statistics would the be best way for all Nova Scotia AC departments and their contractors to prove they are doing better here.
Opponents of No Kill claim that the cats are going to die anyway and insist that the shelters are offering a humane service.   Seriously?  In this day and age people can still try to justify that?
The key to No Kill success is transparency.  Lets face it, we live in a busy world and its hard to get people worked up about theoretical issues.  Not to be mean, but for most people family, personal and work concerns are enough to fill up their plate.
It is simply not sensible to expect public outrage when any issue is expressed in abstract terms.  For instance, there was not enough strong voter feedback about the coyote cull to inspire the NDP bobsled team to act.   One can only hope that the reality of the very graphic article on the front page of today's Herald will paint a clearer picture to those who have been able to turn a blind eye.
If opposition from all the experts, including the NS Hunters and Trappers Assoc couldn't inspire voter feedback, one can only hope that pictures of dead coyotes along with lurid descriptions of full freezers, killing contests and coyote pepperoni will galvanize NS voters.
But .... as always .. I am wandering afield.   Here in NS ... as anywhere else ... nobody is ever going to give a rats a** about the numbers of dead cats without real numbers.   
Which of course is why we need provincial legislation that obligates AC departments ( including their contractors ) across the board to publish their statistics online. 
Isn't passing a law a drastic step?  It would be ... if the information was readily forthcoming.   As of this writing, there is not one single AC department in this province that provides publicly available statistics online.  
Why?  Because of course meaningful and humane solutions might cost money.   The fear that this would cost more than killing cats is very likely the principle reason for secrecy.
One of the best bits about living in a democracy is the right to have a say in things.   Every year we send our troops to try to share this precious gift in other areas of the world.  
One of the best bits about publicly available information is that it allows voters to make informed decisions about issues that concern them.  
There are so many wonderful bits about living in Nova Scotia.  If the NDP bobsled team are looking for a way to rebuild their credibility and  to make Nova Scotia a more attractive place to live, shining a little more light into places in need of sprucing up would be a splendid place to start. 
What time is it?   Its always time to understand that its always easier to cross the stream when there are stepping stones.

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