Imagine you are alone on the street. You have nowhere to go, there is no one waiting for you or worrying about you anywhere in the whole city. You are so hungry that each movement seems to be unmanageable. There are hundreds of people going by, yet you cannot talk to them, they do not even notice you are suffering badly while lying here on a cold pavement, unaided, neglected, exhausted… If animals are able to think and feel which is quite possible, that is probably what numerous homeless dogs and cats you are passing during the day are experiencing. Is it fair though? And do we really have right to close the eyes to the fact of numerous living being suffering and struggling for life completely ignored and abandoned? I believe strongly in humans’ responsibility to protect those who are in need, and I claim that all humans have an ethical obligation to provide help to those who are so much dependent on us, to animals deprived of essential care and love.
These days millions of animals are stray, lost, or in shelters. Statistics of animals being euthanized or chucked out provided by official organizations is dreadful and, unfortunately, the numbers are rising every day. The problem of homeless and displaced animals is a huge one. Shelters today are overloaded. Domestic animals are left on the roadside doomed to take care for themselves. Pet shops and breeders carry on selling animals to the general public without considering the conditions or quality of life animals are put into after leaving the shops’ doors.
Most people enjoy taking care of animals. They even feel some sort of emotional connection with their domestic pets, treating them like rational creatures endowed with emotions, able to realize some facts and to experience sentiments. However, an animal we meet on the street we regard as being a beast, dull and primitive, deprived of any ability to feel. Just take few minutes to realize the dreadfulness of conditions they are doomed to struggle in. What if they actually are able to “think” and “feel”? Just imagine what they are going through.
Unlike homeless people, homeless animals have never had any choice. Most of them were either born already homeless or abandoned by their rightful owners. Animals that are kept in normal conditions never escape their homes. They cannot get addicted to alcohol or drugs; they cannot lose their job because of law-breaking practices or gamble their property away. Can they talk, or express dissatisfaction, or ask for help? They can only watch you passing by with those sad, hungry, sometimes wild eyes. However, their inability to express feelings, fears and pains doesn’t mean they have none. They need help just as any other suffering living beings do, and their being silent in no way means they wouldn’t cry for help if they could.
Most people justify own inaction by seemingly reasonable arguments such as “We cannot help everyone”, “We do not want to help someone unable to appreciate what we do for them”, “There should be some governmentally regulated system, spontaneous actions are ineffective”, etc. Personally I cannot understand how all those reasons comfort and prevent humans from providing at least elementary help. No doubts, the process of providing aid is much more efficient if being organized and systematized properly. However, it would be enough for one to get interested and to look around in order to notice that nowadays there are numerous nonprofit organizations that could harness one’s willingness to submit a helping hand to make the whole situation better. If being ready and able to help, you can face various options among which you are free to choose. You can make donations to official nonprofit organizations, participate in adoption programs, provide assistance to shelters, etc. – your choice will depend on what resources you own and how serious your intentions are.
We all have to finally look around and realize: homeless animals cry out for help, and we have to provide them with necessary aid. Humans should take care of whom they have tamed, since, as one little fox has once said “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” It is up to all of us to turn this world into a nicer place for domestic animals. Making city streets look better by killing off innocent creatures is just a way too cruel to be ignored. So shouldn’t we finally put our humaneness into practice and justify our right to rule the world? I guess we should, and that is our moral obligation.