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These Things Happen

A woman stopped me (as many do) during a walk to tell me about her dog. She told me with sadness that her blind elderly dog had wandered into a nearby lake and drowned, because a gate was left opened by an employee.

I said that I hoped she fired the careless employee, and her reply was, “No, of course not. These things happen.”


My jaw hit the ground. A second ago she was telling me how much she adored her dog, and now she was shrugging her shoulders and saying "these things happen" about him drowning. I was stunned that she could be so flippant about the death of someone she professed to love so much.

Unfortunately, I was so shocked that I failed to call her out by saying, “Would you be shrugging your shoulders and telling me 'these things happen' if it had been a human child who'd drowned because of someone's carelessness?”

Despite my regret at not saying that, in a way asking the question would have been pointless, because I already know that the answer would have been an emphatic “No.” If the victim had been a human child, there's no way she'd have shrugged it off with the words "these things happen".


The woman’s comment clearly showed that, despite her declaration of love, she didn’t hold the life of her dog to be particularly important. Sadly, to her he was "just a dog". In other words, her attitude was a case of speciesism.

Sadder still is the fact that many people agree with this woman’s mindset. Many people are speciesist and anthropocentric, believing humans to be more important than any other being on the planet (the rest are "just animals").

Fortunately there's a growing number of people who, like me, reject speciesism, and consider all beings - both human and non-human - to be precious. I hope that as more and more people turn their back on speciesism, I'll never never hear the phrase "these things happen" about the death of a dog ever again.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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