Randy N. Warner

If more than 8 million homeless companion animals are being killed every year, and shelters, schools and society in general assign the lowest budgetary, and operational priority toward overpopulation education, then is there any question as to why we continue to witness   the vicious cycle of suffering and death?

Overpopulation is essentially a product of ignorance and indifference and only proactive and aggressive community and youth education programs offer the promise of breaking the vicious cycle.

We must not lose perspective, and we shall choose those campaigns that will save more animals in the long run. The animals who exist today are a very tiny percentage of the animals who will be killed and tortured in the coming centuries and millennia. Paying excessive attention to those who suffer today is condemning millions more to suffer the same fate. We canít save them all, but we should be smart in dividing our time and efforts to seeing maximum results for when it comes to precious lives, today's reality cannot serve as tomorrows excuse.



Due largely to sparse and painfully ineffectual shelter outreach efforts most of the public has little or no understanding of the horrendous magnitude of the overpopulation tragedy. Compounding the problem, when the public is reached, the message they receive is "sanitized" with enough euphemisms to fill Grand Canyon. Why isn't the unadulterated truth, stripped of any veneer, imaginatively and assertively brought to the public? Perhaps the unvarnished truth would make some uncomfortable, but that is precisely what we should be doing ó removing the killing from behind closed doors and informing the public about their role in the massive slaughter of our so-called closest companions.

According to interviews with authorities nationwide, the areas having the biggest problems in animal welfare and animal control are these regions that are generally low socioeconomic areas where there is often a large non-English speaking ethnic community and widespread difficulties with basic literacy skills.

Whether picked up on the street or surrendered at the shelter, the vast majority of these animals experience the kind of psychological trauma and terror that we find so abhorrent for caged laboratory animals but tolerate in our own facilities. Some are exposed to various forms of physical mishandling and abuse, and all suffer from the anguishing ordeal of being processed and warehoused in a foreign and frightening environment.



A true civilized society would be a place where life is affirmed, both in teaching and practice, not one which is comfortable with being permeated with the odor of death.

A new and larger vision is needed, a vision in which society hold themselves accountable for meeting demanding performance standards that preserve life ó not destroy it.

Development of appropriate resources to enhance education programs must be a top priority. The principles of care and social responsibility that underlie responsible animal care education programs and are also important in human relationship education not currently being taught in schools.

Our movement has to begin anew with each generation because we fail to effectively reach the preceding one, and the animals and the Earth pay dearly for this refusal to invest in the promise of a brighter day

Education is certainly one of the important tools in achieving effective urban animal management programs in any community. It is also one of the most potent weapons the citizens  and various government organizations associated with animal welfare and animal control have to address problems in these areas.

The most potent and cost-effective outreach vehicle is the development of a creative volunteer program.   The focus of this  crucial outreach instrument is youth education. This area receives tremendous lip service about youth representing the future, but it invariably receives the lowest budgetary priority.

We must take the initiative by approaching every school, media outlet, club, civic organization, professional association, shopping center, and wherever people will listen.   When it comes to precious lives, today's reality cannot serve as tomorrows excuse.   Our current society is entangled in a convoluted system that places a higher operational priority on "painless" execution than preventive education.


No matter how much positive education the community is exposed to, there will always be an element of our society that is unresponsive to community pressures and that fails to conform to conventional and respected codes of behavior when it comes to animal treatment and management.

But the concept of 'education' must go beyond instruction given in schools by teachers or education officers to knowledge, training and skills in a particular field given to the community at large by every available practical means. Not only does this mean using simple posters, flyers and the media but it also embraces the precept that effective education often occurs through the process of prosecution.