Animal welfare groups, eating each other for lunch?


UPDATE: So send me to the slaughterhouse and prove my point. Jason Treger writes that the email he received said Morris would not be serving meat at the event. It did not say vegan cuisine would be served. (Although, we can't confirm that dairy was served either.) If someone from Morris would like to send me a menu from the event to clear things up I'd appreciate it. Treger also states that his group is an animal rights group not an animal welfare group. Mea culpa.

I was surprised, well maybe not too surprised, to read a press release that crossed my transom earlier this week from one Philadelphia animal welfare organization excoriating another.

In this case the fusillade was launched by Jason Treger of the Animal Rights Group of Greater Philadelphia over a fundraiser scheduled tonight by the Morris Animal Refuge which, reportedly, was planning to serve a meat dish on the menu. (We couldn't reach Morris to get an answer).

Treger penned an op-ed piece for this newspaper on the issue, decrying what he called the "hypocrisy" of the refuge's $100-a-plate Fur Ball. He asked, how a shelter could justify raising money to save cats and dogs by serving up cow or pig or chicken.

How can these groups condemn hitting a dog or neglecting a cat while inviting their donors to eat animals that endured much worse? And are they really animal lovers if they're endorsing the killing of some species to help others?

He called on the refuge to go vegan, which, according to an email received by Treger they did. But Treger says because he couldn't confirm the email's authenticity, his group will go ahead with its protest tonight outside the Loews Hotel.

Here's my question: Why is it that animal welfare groups prefer to fight each other than fight for their causes together?

The issue was on the mind of Humane Society of Berks County top dog Karel Minor this week too. Karel writes on his blog that he was proud that animal activists had come together to oppose HR 89 (the bill drafted to "study" the economic impact of the new dog law).

All too often we are not effective at getting what we want or, just as importantly in politics, at stopping what we oppose, because we fight and bicker over who is allowed to speak for our side, who is most credible, or who knows best. Too often we will put more time into undermining those on our own side at the expense of the issue all of us on our side agree on. We treat degrees of difference as if they are orders of magnitude.

We do not mean to suggest groups can't disagree on issues, but too often the scrapping ends up hurting animals and the organizations that seek to protect them.