Peta Attacks Winograd

I what least enjoy about many in the animal community is the ease they find at holding onto any concept as the truth and the only way. You can see this in the comments left on this site.

Below is a Peta hit piece on Winograd. The author holds onto concepts which are going to doom many animals in the short-term.

If you accept spay/neuter as the only real solution to ending euthanasia, what if universal spay/neuter is never achieved? Then you will always be having killing as before—although not as much—while trying to find more and more ways to get pets sterilized.

To reject Winograd’s ideas by assuming a priori that they don’t work, or confusing open with private no kill shelters is a disservice to animals as it creates in the mind the inevitable need for killing.

The article:

Nathan Winograd's Redemption: No-Kill or No Clue?

"Every year, 6 to 8 million animals are left at U.S. animal shelters and half of them must be euthanized. The statistics alone show the severity of our country's companion animal overpopulation crisis. Yet one so-called animal advocate, Nathan Winograd, is trying to convince the public that overpopulation doesn't exist."

Misplaced Blame

“In his crusade to turn all animal shelters "no-kill," Winograd blames the shelter workers—who have devoted their lives to caring for homeless animals, giving them a chance at a home, and providing them with a painless death when no other humane alternative exists—for the euthanasia of millions of animals every year. This is akin to blaming hospitals for deadly diseases!”

(My commnent: Really? LAAS and County Animal Care and Control are like hospitals? Where? Uganda?)

“This false "logic" lets the real culprits off the hook: people who breed (or fail to spay or neuter) their animals and people who buy animals from pet stores or breeders instead of adopting homeless animals from shelters.”

My Comment: Blame the public? So, until you civilize and “educate” every irresponsible person in the U.S., what do you do to stop killing in the meantime?

“No one wants to see animals euthanized—least of all, those who hold the syringe—but denying that a crisis exists and blaming those who have devoted their lives to ending it solves nothing.”

My Comment: Peta should talk about compassionate treatment of companion animals with their 90% kill rate? Wow! That is hypocrisy.

Too Many Animals, Too Few Homes

“Winograd's calculations ignore the hundreds of thousands of puppies and kittens produced by breeders and sold in pet stores every year. When these animals are added to the millions of homeless animals who enter shelters each year, the number of animals in need of homes far exceeds the number of homes that are theoretically available to them.”

My Comment: How did this person come to this conclusion? No one knows the number of homes theoretically available—no one. There is no such thing as an inelastic or fixed demand for animals.

There are many factors that would influence demand: Cost of getting one (shelter vs. breeder); health condition of the animal at the point of adoption; accessibility of the animals to be adopted; appearance and ambience of the shelter; out-of-shelter adoption centers; adoption events; media coverage; advertising; the death rate of already housed animals; the rate of new homes being built and added population; changes in the law allowing more animals and/or disallowing landlords from discriminating against pet owners; increasing volunteer and foster bases of shelters; allowing Paris Hilton to get more dogs; banning breeders and sales in pet stores.

Actions in each of these areas will increase the demand for shelter pets. You absolutely cannot say that you cannot find a home for at least 90% of animals entering a shelter.

“After the Tompkins County SPCA in New York—where Winograd served as executive director and implemented a "no-kill" policy—became extremely crowded, it began accepting animals by appointment only and stacked animals in cages throughout the facility, including the laundry room and kitchen. According to the shelter's current executive director, the shelter slashed its adoption fees and lowered its standards for the homes in which it places animals—significantly increasing the risk of abuse and neglect—in an effort to move more animals out the door.”

My response is, “So?” If the crowding results in a 90% live save rate, and the health of the animals is maintained by having a high-enough turnover, so what?

Who is the current executive director being quoted? Winograd says there have been four since he left, and that TC is still no kill by the 90% definition. Is the current director accomplishing no kill by raising adoption fees, keeping cages empty and raised its adoption standards, or is the current manager accomplishing no kill the same way as Winograd?

“But when the shelter is full and there is no place to put even one more animal, what does a "no-kill" shelter do? Most simply refuse to take animals in, leaving them at the mercy of people who don't want them.”

“It's true that no-kill shelters don't euthanize animals, but by turning animals away, they sometimes condemn these same animals to terrifying, painful, and violent deaths. Open-admission animal shelters accept every dog, cat, bird, rabbit, hamster, rat, and any other animal who comes through their doors.”

My comments:

The assumption here is that an open admission shelter cannot be no kill. The whole point of no kill is that it is done at municipal and county shelters, not private no kills.

The concept is fixed as inevtibale: there will be a time in any open shelter where you have to kill for space and you cannot save 90%, or all "adoptable or treatable" animals. This is an acceptance of failure of all no kill attempts. Sp what is the point of even trying?

I really wish we had more hard data about no-kill attempts, successes and failures. We don't. We don't have an overview of what it takes to get there or how to maintain it. Winograd may have his recommendations, but unless the resources are there, it is not going to happen.



Anonymous said...

Muzika, you are upset because PETA attacks Winograd. Well, Winograd attacks PETA, HSUS, LA City, LA County, Philadelphia, Rancho, ASPCA, shelter employees...everyone except people who are current clients. Winograd s houldn't be attacking others to sell his service. It's a sign of weakness and poor business practices. All he's done is create enemies, many enemies. That doesn't help animals.

I agree with PETA on a few things. Overcrowding does NOT improve adoptions. Why subject animals to increased illness and injury. It's inhumane and cruel.

I agree with PETA that Winograd is unrealistic to say there is no pet overpopulation. Winograd says there are enough homes. Pets aren't in them so what's the problem. Those homes don't want shelter pets. Their current pets or neighbors are having babies. Their pets aren't neutered and dying. They are reproducing.

I agree with PETA that Winograd targets shelter employees unfairly. Not all employees are bad. Some are doing a good job. To attack them as a whole is unfair. "They" are not the problem. There are many problems.

Nokill is still possible, with or without PETA or Winograd. It's just not as easy as Winograd keeps telling people. He tells them it's easy to they'll hire him. All he cares about is money. He needs to go back to law. I looked at his 990s in guidestar and he isn't making any money. That's probably why he's so mean and nasty all the time, attacking everyone. The only money he's making is from his book

Anonymous said...

Finally and article that hits "home" for the homeless; and finally, a response from someone with a sense of decency, compassion and a sense of justice.

Thank you, commenter #1 !! Oy, VEY!

How do you even argue over these things? It's obvious this gentleman wants to incite the public, don't you see?

Why do you even bother expending energy with the obvious? He already knows the stuff. This gentleman isn't going to agree with your point of view. He and his followers are going to end up calling you PETA bread, as they would me too because I agree with you. His opening statement was calling everyone who doesn't agree with him a PETA-type follower. As it is, he thinks anyone who doesn't agree with him, an employee of LAAS, or an ACO. You know he is trying to be derrogatory when he says that. Just Look at the opening statement of this section of the blog.

If you don't agree, that's where you're going to be categorized. He's got everyone who doesn't agree with him in a box all ready to be shipped out.

You are not going to get anywhere wrtiting about how you feel about the humane treatment of animals. He already called PETA a bunch of hypocrites. He's going to end up calling you a hypocrite too, so why even satisfy him or any of the Winogradians?

At least I enjoy reading your comments when I see them. Brings me back to reality and helps me to know there are real people out there who feel the same way as I do. But it takes so much energy, you know?

Anonymous said...

I've been a vegetarian for about fourteen years, had a fair number of cats and dogs and volunteer at a rescue and I despise PETA. The good they do is FAR outweighed by the bad. They make animal rights activists and vegetarians seem unbelievably frivolous and moronic. Their idea of a smart PR move is to ask the Mayor of Hamburg, NY to change the town's name. They spend time and public attention on idiotic time-wasters that completely tarnish the whole animal rights movement. Not to mention their happiness to throw women under the bus at every possible opportunity.

Anyone who thinks Winograd is rigid hasn't looked at PETA. I have noticed that there is a strain of rescuer who's very enamoured with death and suffering, and if you've seen the HBO documentary on Ingrid Newkirk it's pretty easy to see that in her. I'm not saying death and suffering don't exist, but she seems to have spent a lifetime courting it.

And they could do considerable good with their undercover investigations, but because they themselves have done so much to destroy their own credibility, it can't help but give people who could go either way on issues of cruelty a very easy way to dismiss them. Not just the public, but prosecutors as well.

I cannot fathom their hostility to no-kill as a concept. I understand people who try to voice reality-checks about timelines, but to be opposed to it as a CONCEPT, and then say you care about animals is flat-out contradictory. As is saying you love animals but also saying all Pit Bulls should be banned and killed.

I think they're bullies. I think they are a huge example of what's wrong with the Animal Rights movement, and I think their attack on Winograd (who I don't think is a savior, but I do think is a voice who should be included in the debate) has at least as much to do with wanting to be THE definitive voice on all animal-related issues as it does with voicing a different opinion.

Ed Muzika said...

I am having difficulty walking the line between criticizing Winograd and praising him.

I often refer to him as what he says about no kill and the obvious truth of what he says as well as being impressed by his analyses of shelter opperations.

I think he is not so good at assessing the resources needed to implement his recommendations, or ways to sustain no kill if and when achieved.

But mostly when I defend Nathan I am actually defending his many of his concepts and the idea of a no kill nation.

When I appeared to defend him in this post, I was actually defendign his ideas.

I find many attacks on the ideas and strategies of no kill unwarranted or based on poor logic or no facts.

If you just attack the notion of no kill what has that accomplished? If you attack certain of Nathan's recommendations without adding some codicile or alternative formulation, what has that accomplished?

If out of spite for Nathan as a self-promoting individual, I understand that and can welcome that kind of dialogue. But just assuming no kill is impossible is a diservice to all animals in shelters in the US.

I choose to start from the notion no kill is possible using Ed Boks' definition: The animals who are killed are done so based on criteria reached by a compassionate owner or vet. This is as stronger or stronger than Winogard's definition.

I don't care whether this ideal can reached or not, it is a goal I choose to support.

Without a belief it is possibe, there is no will to make it so. If there is no will to make it happen, it will not happen.

Therefore, if you want to comment here it is fine to criticize Winograd, calling him a jerk, liar, self-serving, sociopath, or whatever, but if you attack the concept of no kill without citing reason's based on fact, I wiull no longer post those comments.

If you attack parts of his plan to implement no kill, please provide a logical, fact-based argument, not just comment I am predisposed to not listen to your viewpoint.

Kelley said...

Personally, I think if PETA attacks you, you're doing *something* right.

Then again, I am a huge Nathan Winograd fan, but I would say that about Joe Blow, too.

UNIVERSAL spay/neuter *shouldn't* be achieved. Unless, of course, you want no more dogs and cats in about 10 years. About 70% spay/neuter is what you need to get a feral colony under control. I'm not sure how that extrapolates to the pet population.

I think it is clear there are enough homes - if there were not, there would not be any market for pet store pets. Shelters can and should outcompete pet stores. That doesn't mean everyone will want a shelter pet, but right now only about 15% of people adopt from shelters. We need to increase that market share.