I recently was to deal with an abandoned hoard of rabbits that were going to be killed, and I had to research how to get them to homes. One option was a local no-kill rabbit-specific shelter. They were full, which is understandable. I asked them how long it takes them to adopt out rabbits. The representative estimated that they adopt out one pair of rabbits every few months.
Contrast this with the pet stand in a nearby swapmeet that gets an estimated 25 rabbits to homes every couple of weeks.
The shelter is definitely a better place
to get a pet, for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which involves the importance of rescuing an animal from euthanasia. In fact, we support banning pet stores
that sell commercially-bred pets in malls. Pet stores, including this pet stand at the swap meet, get their animals from breeders and pet mills
For animal enthusiasts, it can be frustrating to know that anyone would think of buying a pet from a breeder or store when there are so many that need to be saved. However, it turns out that sometimes consumers are incentivized to buy new animals.
Let’s compare the Rabbit Resource Center with the pet stand:
Requirements for adoption:
How many rabbits gotten to homes each year (estimated):
Rabbit Resource Center
Strip-mall on side-street
-Must not be for a child or class room
-Must take at least two, or already have one at home
-No non-spayed or non-neutered rabbits at home
-You must commit to having the animal its entire life
-Must fill out 3-page application
-Follow-up home visit
Pet Island Pet Stand
Heavily Trafficked indoor swap meet
Animal volunteers are caring people who want to make sure that the animals go to the best home available. Policies are in place to make sure that animals that are adopted out go to suitable guardians who will take good care of them throughout their lifetime. It is important to see where the animal is going, and make sure that the adopter knows what it means to adopt a pet. This makes sense, except when shelters and rescues go overboard.
The pet overpopulation problem is a desperate scenario, so we should treat it with some desperation. When I adopted out the rabbits I had in my care, I put as much effort as I could into finding homes for them fast, and the only stipulation was that I would trust the new guardians. They were given to friends and friends-of-friends and, as I’ve followed up with them, I know they are all healthy and happy in their homes. What would have happened if I had given them to a rescue?
An Examiner article
details an account of someone in the market for a pit bull being denied by a rescue group. The potential pet-guardian found a perfect rescue pet, but the policy mandated that he keep the dog in a crate while he is not home. The rescue suspects that any dog left to wander the house while the guardian isn’t around will chew on property and then be returned to the facilities. The adopter insisted that he would not return the dog if that happened, and he refused to crate the dog while he was not home. When he was rejected, the dog went to the shelter, and the adopter instead purchased a dog from a breeder.
Think of all the ways that the rescue could have handled the situation differently. They could have made an exception. They could not enforce that particular rule. They could let the adopter take the dog for a trial period to see how the animal acted at home. They could at least give the dog over for some time; even if he does return it, where’s the harm?
Here are actual rules that some shelters and rescues enforce regarding adopters:
- No adopters with children (minimum age varies)
- No adopters who work (so you must spend most of your time home with your pet)
- Adopters must have a gated yard
- Interview with your vet (no first-time pet guardians)
- No one wheelchair-bound (must be able to walk the dog yourself, you cannot delegate or hire someone)
- No other pets at home
Regardless of whether the animal you’re trying to adopt is at a kill-shelter or no-kill, you’re saving a life. Even the happiest, friendliest, cutest animals are killed every day at kill-shelters when they run out of room. Before the shelter kills an animal, though, they often call no-kill shelters. If there is any room there, the animal will be transferred. Every time an animal is taken from a no-kill shelter, it means that one from a kill shelter will be saved.
The Rabbit Resource Center consistently gets calls from animal shelters asking if they have room to take in more red-listed (few days to live) animals, and they rarely do. If they could adopt out their animals in a more efficient manner then they wouldn’t have to pass up so many opportunities to rescue shelter rabbits.
Here are some suggestions on how shelters and rescues could benefit by acting more like pet stores:
- Invest in well-trafficked areas, such as shopping malls, so people can see the animals.
- Instead of tons of rules, talk to each adopter and assess whether the situation is right for the animal.
- Bring in rescued purebreds and charge money for them. Oftentimes, people think that the more expensive something is, the better it is. (That’s certainly not true with animals, but people still think that.)
- Put lower fees on animals that have been there a long time. Make sure that no animal costs more than he or she would at a breeder.
- Put low fees on animals, but charge for mandatory spay/neuter vouchers for those that are not fixed.
- Showcase a variety in front. There may be someone who has been looking for a tortoiseshell tabby for a long time and sees you have one.
- Hire business people: Advertisers to promote them, behavioral economists to improve sales, etc.
There are also many things that pet stores do that shelters should never emulate. I understand that one reason that shelter fees can be high is that they actually take care of their animals and don’t try to mass-produce them. That should remain standard. Pet stores are also often dishonest about where they got their animals, and the health and background of them. While a pet-store-like model could increase efficiency, shelters must always maintain their primary goal above (though not instead of) profit: to help animals.
I want every dog, cat, rabbit and pet to find the best forever home in the world. But a system that makes it harder to rescue a pet than to support puppy and kitten mills is completely backwards. When so many are killed for want of a home, animal volunteers must remember that a good but imperfect home is better than the back room.
"Animation is simply a form of expression, and can be used to great effect for any genre or target audience," said Sam Matthews, the son of a children's film maker.
Matthews watched animated shows and movies growing up (as many of us did), but his tastes have changed with his age (as many of ours have.)
"Western culture has come to regard animated media as being strictly for children, but influences from other cultures are starting to shift this trend for westerners," said Sam. More and more animated shows and films are being created to be entertaining for adults watching it with their kids, and some are even being created for adults only. Adult Swim is an entire network created to showcase (mostly) animation targeted at adults. However, most of these shows seem to be targeted at inebriated 16-29 year olds, and it barely skims the breadth of the history of adult animation.
You've probably heard of South Park and The Simpsons, and the whole line up of Seth MacFarlane shows (Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show). There is also a huge amount of anime targeted towards adults. Here is a list of the top 6 western shows and films for grown-ups that you may not have heard of, but which are fairly great.
*Also, recognize that the clips are to various extents NSFW!*
6. Clone High (2002-2003)
Why it's for adults: It's about historical figures children wouldn't remember. Some references to beer and sex.
Why it's great: Clone High was a series that ran for one season about teenage clones of historical figures, like Abe Lincoln and Ghandi. The characters were well-developed, and the humor was at once understandable and smart (In shop class, Caesar warns a careless clone of Jesus Christ, "Be careful with that nail gun, Jesus!")
5. The Plague Dogs (1982)
Why it's for adults: Animal abuse, some violence, sad ending.
Why it's great: The Plague Dogs was written by the same author of Watership Down, and it follows the escape of two dogs from a testing facility. The film features an attempt to escape human oppressors, a descent into insanity, and a terribly emotional ending.
4. Superjail! (2006-2008)
Why it's for adults: Extreme violence, references to sex and alcohol.
Why it's great: Superjail! is a series on Adult Swim with incredible, psychadelic animation. Each episode starts with a somewhat benign plot in a super huge jail (in a volcano in another volcano), but things soon go awry. Colors swirl, insanity ensues, and the inmates are massacred in terrible, bloody numbers, but it's completely hilarious in the emphatic randomness.
3. Spicy City (1997)
Why it's for adults: References to violence, sex, and drugs, language
Why it's great: Spicy City was the first animated adults-only show, created by cartoon bad-boy Ralph Bakshi. What's noticeable here is not the animation or the adult themes but the intense philosophical issues related to the mind and body. In one episode, characters who are in love destroy their bodies to exist together in a virtual game, and in another a man searches for his daughter but accepts a clone as substitute. If any series will make you think, it's this one.
2. Ren and Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" (2003)
Why it's for adults: Gross humor, smoking, references to sex
Why it's great: Yes, it may be hard to believe that the beloved cartoon series of your youth was made into a short series for Spike TV, but the result was at times pretty great. While some of the episodes are reminiscent of the gross humor for which Ren and Stimpy are famous, (taken to an even higher degree,) the more adult humor was even funnier. The most amazing part of this series, though, was the incredible animation. The characters' actions are emphatic and humorous, and their elasticity and caricaturized faces demonstrate real mastery of animation.
1. Fritz The Cat (1972)
Why it's for adults: Sex, drugs, violence
Why it's great: Fritz the Cat was well-known when it came out, as it was the first X-rated animated feature film. The story involves a college student, who is also a cat, who is caught in the 1960's intersection of sociopolitical activism and hedonism. While the adult elements are salient, the plot is very good as well, and it should make you think. It was directed by Ralph Bakshi, and it marks the historical moment when western animation extended its reach to adult humor and themes.
"Even with realistic treatment of the subject matter, an animated format disconnects the audience from their preconceptions, and allows purer emotional connection between the audience and the story teller," said Matthews.
These pieces are alternatively humorous, beautiful, insane, shocking and emotional. Hopefully these examples exemplify the reasons that adults can enjoy cartoons just as much as our younger selves.
As a college student, I am often faced with many wonderful opportunities and choices. There are so many organizations that whoever has the right stuff can join, internships you can apply for, and scholarships you can get. Sometimes I feel that there are so many opportunities for us students, the hardest thing is deciding which ones to try.
Of course, that's not to say that there aren't stipulations for getting these opportunities. In order to ensure that you are an ideal candidate, you can attend seminars about success, read self-help books, and try to gain experience to make you a well-rounded and healthy person.
Though we're all far from perfect, personally I try to gain a lot of substance. I've gone to the career center to learn to exploit my strengths, and I've got communication skills coupled with an ability to keep a positive atmosphere when things are tough. I know how to give an interview, with enthusiasm and professionalism. The two most important characteristics an applicant can have to an employer are honesty and leadership skills, and I both value honesty and have experience with leadership classes. Not bad for a sophomore?
However there is one vital element that I lack, an element that cannot be taught in a seminar or learned in a book. This element has barred me from probably a good three-quarters of the scholarships and internships for which I have wished to apply. No, what I (along with so many others) am lacking is much more important than a positive attitude.
What I am talking about of course is the elusive dark skin.
How could I have missed that? I guess I am just not talented enough to apply for the American Academy of Science's Minority Science Writing Internship, nor can I get the Flip Wilson Journalism Scholarship. Sure I'm a journalism major with a passion for science and an ability to write a biography for Flip Wilson, but I just don't have enough of that golden melanin to be deserving.
So I encourage you pasty-faced losers, don't let this happen to you. Don't get so caught up in things like education and experience, because a true test of character is reflected in your complexion. Sure, you might get skin cancer before you're tan enough to be considered a minority, but it's worth the risk. Besides, us white people should be ashamed of the way we were born, anyway.
Here are some heroes of ours who did some terrible stuff in their lifetime. Sure, there hearts might have been in the right place--it's pretty hard to live with your heart anywhere but in your chest--but it's interesting to know that these supposedly amazing people had some seriously devastating slip-ups due to their ignorance.
1. Mother Theresa
Here's one person that is so well known as a good person that her name is used synonymously as someone who sacrifices a lot to be kind. But, as a devout Catholic, she went around telling people not to use condoms and thus nearly created the momentum of the AIDS epidemic.
When Ghandi's first wife got sick, Ghandi had faith in God's power to heal. His dying wife begged for medication, but he refused to let her have it, saying that God would save her. As you may have guessed, she suffered through her illness and soon died. Later Ghandi got sick, and did not trust God would save him, and took the medicine.
Oprah has done quite a bit in the means of donating to nonprofits and raising awareness. However, as the new owner of Discovery Health, she doesn't appear to know anything about medicine. She promotes "alternative medicine," such as homeopathy, which is literally nothing but water, as opposed to traditional western medicine. Multiple people, including children, have died from completely preventable illnesses, who decided (or whose parents decided) to skip real medicine and go with whatever quackery Oprah is pushing.
In some senses, you could argue that these individuals are, consequentially, murderers. You could argue that they were just not critical thinkers and unintentionally abusive of their powers. Either way, hero worship is dangerous if the worshipper can't tell that everyone makes mistakes. Also, these people illustrate the dangers of ignorance, and the idea that we should reject ideas that reject reality, no matter how much we want to believe them.