The millions of cats and dogs that pass through animal shelters in the United States annually are commercial assets if you look at them that way. I am not suggesting that you should but under financial pressure shelter managers might, and in doing so it may encourage them to engage in less than ethical practices.
I have just written about an animal shelter in Baton Rouge, USA. A former director, Desiree Bender, has hit out at the shelter saying that they were engaged in the scandalous practice of sending animals to the School of Veterinary Medicine at The Louisiana State University (LSU) for immediate killing and dissection.
The shelter accepted $40 per animal to cover expenses and delivery. They have since stopped the practice. However, this former director, Desiree Bender, has accused the shelter on Facebook of covering up the practice of sending animals to LSU.
Bender says that a staff member at the shelter was cooking the books by making it seem that the animals were being sent to a rescue group instead of to the veterinary school.
She has painted a picture of animal abuse, if you like. Shelter staff are fighting back. Two of their numbers, Hicks and Pumilia, are suing Bender for defamation and damages.
A spokesperson for LSU said that they accept animals from shelters for euthanasia and dissection which means that accept animals from other shelters on a regular basis. These animals are both dead and alive. So this is an open admission that animal shelters in Louisiana have a deal with LSU and perhaps other vet schools to deliver living and dead animals to them for their studies. It inevitably means that the animals are killed despite no doubt many of them being perfectly healthy and adoptable.
Is this practice ethical? Should it be stopped? On a strictly commercial basis it is the right thing to do because animals at shelters are commercial “assets”. From an entirely moral point of view and from the point of view of animal advocates, it is unacceptable.
What about the carcasses of rescue cats killed at shelters being shipped out and rendered down for pet food? Crazy? No it happens.