Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Explanation

In yesterday's blog I posted the tax return information from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The reason for this is to highlight that the HSUS is not officially affliated with any local animal shelters and humane societies. While very little of their overall budget does actually go toward care of dogs and cats, most of their millions that are donated annually go towards supporting their political agenda. Most of their political agenda is aimed towards stopping life-saving research involving laboratory animals.

This research is necessary to find cures and vaccines for fatal diseases. Case in point, tuberculosis (TB) is the leading killer of humans throughout the world. This disease is the final nail in the coffin of billions that are living with HIV and AIDS in poverty stricken countries. There is no vaccine for TB and no effective cure. This disease can lie dormant in your body for years before it takes its opportunity to infect you. Usually this opportunity comes when your immune system is already compromised, like from HIV. In most 1st world countries, TB is not a huge problem. This is due to proper public health education, better sanitation of drinking water and waste, and through adequate testing and quarantine. And yet, TB is the biggest killer in the world.

Currently there is research ongoing using laboratory animals to find a vaccine for TB. There is also research being conducted on the antibiotic-resistant strains of TB that have recently popped up around the world. This research is very close to finding a vaccine to protect all people from TB. This research would not be possible without the use of the humble laboratory mouse. Mice are used as research models for TB because they are easily reproduced, have quick generation times, have naturally short lifespans, are capable of genetic manipulation, and have immune systems that react to TB in the exact same way that a human's immune system does. The laboratory mouse is the perfect analog to the human. Without these mice, millions will continue to die fromTB and millions more will continue to get infected every day.

Wouldn't you rather use a mouse for research than watch millions of people die? The HSUS doesn't think so. They would like to stop animal testing in all research. By stopping the use of animals as research models, they would effectively terminate all research that is centered around infectious diseases. Disease research can not operate without a suitable animal model. There is no way around it. For more information on this topic and more information about the HSUS, please read "Animal Research Wars" by Michael Conn.

Here's my recommendation: If you would like to donate to the care of animals in shelters, donate to your LOCAL shelter. Local animal shelters are always looking for donations of money, animal feed, kitty litter, and volunteer time. Don't donate to the HSUS which uses most of its budget for political agendas and inflated salaries. Do donate to your local shelter which uses all of its budget to care for animals in your community.

While I do not support my local humane society's "no kill" policy, I do support my local humane society. The humane society was on call at 2am when my dog got hit by a car on the local highway. They waited until we could get there and take our dog home. It was raining and cold and they sat by the side of the road comforting my dog until I could get there. I will never forget that act of kindness by employees of the humane society. This was a service they didn't need to do but did so because of their heartfelt care for the animals of the community. I donate to them every year. I give them boxes of dog biscuits when I have too many for my two dogs to eat. I give them leftover kitty litter when I have extra. I also donate money when I have some to spare.

Please donate to your local animal shelter. Don't donate to the HSUS unless you are fully aware of their agenda.

2 comments:

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

our local Watauga Humane Society is my favorite charity. I try to send $$$ and donate at some events.

Spinner said...

This all boils down to humanity caring more for animals than for other humans.

I don't think that I would donate money to any charity. I would however donate food to food banks and dog or cat food to shelters.

We have a local lady who will go with you to a spay/neuter clinic and pay all of your expenses. She does this for anyone who needs assistance.