Recently we have met a lot of self-funded individuals trying to help animals here in Sri Lanka without a real support system in place. What starts out as helping one or two can quickly become ten or twenty animals. Trying to care for multiple animals, many of whom are sick or even dying, is stressful enough, but when the numbers keep creeping up that stress can cause suffering for the animals and the people. This is why it is imperative to consider both animal welfare and human welfare.
Animal and Human Welfare
In animal welfare, we all need to know our own and others limits. Capacity to provide care is based on numerous factors including space, funding, skills, existing commitments, veterinary availability, and physical/emotional support. Dumping animals on those who are already trying their hardest is never the answer and is letting both the animals and those rescuers down. Dumping is not just physically placing an animal at someone’s gate it can be emailing, texting, or phoning an individual until they feel that have no choice.
If an individual is already caring for a multitude of animals and they say they are full, please, please respect that. Please don’t ask them to take on just one more and please don’t send them multiple messages telling them unless they do the animal will die. That’s a dreadful burden to place on the shoulders of those who already care deeply and give so much of themselves. I receive such messages all the time and whilst I have the support of a (small) team, I still find it overwhelming some days. We of course help as many animals as we can but we have limits. Financial and resource limits mean that we cannot say yes to everyone; a subject I covered in last years blog post “Why running a charity is more like running a business than you would think”.
There is always strength in numbers. Those of us who care about animals, whether we run a charity, volunteer, or are just affected by the plight of a single dog on the roadside, need to remember to care about one another as well. This ensures that we all have the strength to face the many challenges that we all face daily.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”