by Beryl Gorbman
For the last few years, I’ve volunteered at the Spay and Neuter clinics held in Merida Yucatan. An organization called Planned Pethood runs these FREE clinics twice a year. There’s a Planned Pethood hospital in Merida with several of the best vets it has ever been my pleasure to know. Planned Pethood headquarters is in Denver CO and was started by a vet named Jeff Young.
Jeff points out that massive sterilization of feral dogs, cats, etc. is the only way to control the growing populations of roaming animals, lost, sick and starving all over the world. He says that when we do our bit, like picking up a troubled beasty from the streets, it’s great and will keep the animal from being euthanized by the City, but the broad problem of animal overpopulation in much bigger than that.
When we see the “humane” appeals on TV, our hearts melt at the pictures of the pitiful creatures and we respond to the cloying, sentimental voice-overs by pulling out our check books and sending them money. However, our efforts would be more effectively directed at preventing the problem in the first place. The “humane” organizations are enormous, money-making machines, appealing to our heartstrings and pocketbooks and playing down the real problem.
Dr. Jeff works in a number of places in the world (all over the USA, Romania, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Australia, etc.), and we are fortunate that the Yucatan is one of his clinic sites. He assembles groups of about twenty volunteer vets from the USA and other countries for each free spay-neuter clinic he holds. With volunteer assistants, these dedicated vets work tirelessly to fix as many animals as possible in the three to five days of the clinic. All surgeries are free and long lines of people come from everywhere. On diferent days, they are in different villages of parts of our city, accessible to everyone.
Jeff doesn’t mince words when talking about the corporation-like organizations that ostensibly help with animal overpopulation. He says that any group with the word “Humane” in their title is suspect.
Here is an extracted statement from one of his essays with a link to the entire piece.
Humane organizations play with words and statistics to make you
feel better about overpopulation, euthanasia and shelters (animal
warehouses). They make it appear they have done or are doing so
much more than they really are. They boast that only 4 to 6 million
animals are killed because of all their hard work. They contend only
unadoptable animals are euthanized. Unadoptable means: broken leg,
ringworm, bad upper-respiratory disease, urinary issues due to diet
etc, etc, etc (a lot of treatable issues). It has been great marketing, to
make so much, out of so little. They get rich while pretending they
generally care about the plight of companion animals. I am here to ask
you, the public, to demand that these groups start making a real difference.
The people in the pictures below collected cartsful of feral dogs from the streets of Chuburna, Yucatan, a fishing village on the Gulf. All were spayed/neutered in the Planned Pethood clinic last year.
Here’s an extended article I wrote about the clinics in Yucatan last year.
So what can you do? Rather than allowing the humane organzations pull at your heart and tap your tear ducts and checkbook, there are ways of getting directly involved in a solution that can eventually solve the problem, not just band-aid it.
If you have feral cats in your yard – run, don’t walk, with the screaming creatures in securely closed boxes, to Planned Pethood Merida, where they will sterilize the wild things at a reduced rate. Or, if there is a free clinic coming up soon, take them there and pay nothing. They’ll get a lot nicer after the little surgery and you’ll be spared the sound of mewling, unwanted kittens.
You can volunteer at the sterilization clinics, run twice a year, or contribute money to help them. See Dr. Tony or Dr. Nelson at Planned Pethood in Merida, near the end of Tecnologico, north of Costco. And while it is valiant to volunteer and donate to the wonderful rescue organizations we have near town, it’s important to remember that all around us there are extremely hungry people as well. People without enough masa to make tortillas or enough beans to fill them.