Quantcast

Current issues/controversies?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Hopey_001

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
2
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
I'm researching the field I most want to start studying in, and haven't really been able to get good answers on current issues and controversies. I'm looking more for things that pertain to companion animal veterinarians, but I keep coming up with other fields. Following this, it seems like every profession has problems with its system (pay for teachers, crazy long hours for nurses), but I can't really come up with anything that's "wrong" with the veterinary system. Is it perfect or just unnoticed by outsiders? Answers or pointers to them would be greatly appreciated!
 

KCgophervet

Lab Animal Vet
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
5,439
Reaction score
8,246
I'm researching the field I most want to start studying in, and haven't really been able to get good answers on current issues and controversies. I'm looking more for things that pertain to companion animal veterinarians, but I keep coming up with other fields. Following this, it seems like every profession has problems with its system (pay for teachers, crazy long hours for nurses), but I can't really come up with anything that's "wrong" with the veterinary system. Is it perfect or just unnoticed by outsiders? Answers or pointers to them would be greatly appreciated!
:laugh:
 
  • Like
Reactions: 12 users

KCgophervet

Lab Animal Vet
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
5,439
Reaction score
8,246
Try looking up the debt:income ratio, compassion fatigue, suicide rates in professional careers... there's plenty "wrong" with veterinary medicine.

Oh and low pay and long hours also apply.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Abnerrs

Heckin Bamboozled Again
7+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
22,018
Reaction score
9,137
Try looking up the debt:income ratio, compassion fatigue, suicide rates in professional careers... there's plenty "wrong" with veterinary medicine.

Oh and low pay and long hours also apply.
I'd add burn out (different than compassion fatigue), hazing/ill treatment of colleagues and staff, poor opinions from the public, perfectionism in veterinary professionals, long work hours etc etc etc
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

Abnerrs

Heckin Bamboozled Again
7+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
22,018
Reaction score
9,137
I'd add burn out (different than compassion fatigue), hazing/ill treatment of colleagues and staff, poor opinions from the public, perfectionism in veterinary professionals, long work hours etc etc etc
oh poo. You added the long hours at the end and I totally missed it!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

LadyOtheFarm

Embryos and Genomes
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
4,597
Reaction score
4,439
Didn't we make a current issues thread last year?
 

LadyOtheFarm

Embryos and Genomes
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
4,597
Reaction score
4,439
Found it!
2015-2016 Current Events in Veterinary Medicine
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

cheathac

Purdue c/o 2021!!!
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Messages
1,168
Reaction score
1,278
I was asked in one of my interviews on my thoughts of how the profession is a mainly "white profession." So, at least some in the field think it's a problem of a lack of diversity. Boy did I have fun answering that question. Deer in the headlights :laugh:
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
The trend of giving new schools accreditation while current schools increase class sizes, all while the debt to income ratio gets worse every year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

lailanni

c/o 2012
10+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
1,033
Reaction score
188
Suicide is a huge issue (as mentioned above). Depending on the data you use, vet med has the highest (or one of the highest) suicide rate.

Also ditto on debt. Basically, if you pay for vet school via student loans and are a single person household (and don't own a profitable clinic) you're going to be broke for the rest of your life. And not in a cute "I can't regularly shop at Whole Foods" way. In a "I'm never going to buy a house, my car is older and how am I going to retire?" kind of way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

pinkpuppy9

Tired DVM
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2013
Messages
5,605
Reaction score
3,938
I was asked in one of my interviews on my thoughts of how the profession is a mainly "white profession." So, at least some in the field think it's a problem of a lack of diversity. Boy did I have fun answering that question. Deer in the headlights :laugh:
That's a tough interview question to answer, but entirely accurate. I'd estimate that Illinois has 10-15% or less of our entire student body being part of a minority group. Some would bring up the point that the minority 'issue' starts from grade school though, not graduate school. You can't expect someone who is squashed down from age 5 to always be able to get into a position where he/she can successfully apply to veterinary school.

I like hearing talks about how the profession has been a female majority since the 80s or so, but many government/leadership positions are still occupied by middle aged+ white men. I don't know if there's a current statistic on that, but I know we only have 10 or 12 state vets that are female right now, for example.

I think part of it is the fact that many vets never quite retire, so the male vets that are really reaching up there in age are still working. Women can't take positions that aren't open, I suppose. Another interesting POV I've heard is that when more and more women were accepted to veterinary school, they were essentially groomed for small animal GP. I've only heard that once, though, but it makes sense in my experience. I've heard recent residents talk about how frustrating it can be to break into a majority male specialty.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

cheathac

Purdue c/o 2021!!!
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Messages
1,168
Reaction score
1,278
@pinkpuppy9 Yes, it was by far my most difficult question I was asked. Not sure I really answered it well, but I was told I was given it to throw me off and see how is answered it. I answered saying choosing students that have diversified backgrounds (not just based on race). I tried to say that diversity is more than just race and is something that can be controlled to some extent (experiences). I keep rethinking it over how I should've handled it but gave it my best shot.
 
Members don't see this ad :)

pinkpuppy9

Tired DVM
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2013
Messages
5,605
Reaction score
3,938
@pinkpuppy9 Yes, it was by far my most difficult question I was asked. Not sure I really answered it well, but I was told I was given it to throw me off and see how is answered it. I answered saying choosing students that have diversified backgrounds (not just based on race). I tried to say that diversity is more than just race and is something that can be controlled to some extent (experiences). I keep rethinking it over how I should've handled it but gave it my best shot.
Oh yeah, I'm sure I would have massacred it just by overthinking my answer :laugh:
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

vetmedhead

Hang onto me and we'll quarantine the gloom
5+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Messages
13,342
Reaction score
38,840
@pinkpuppy9 Yes, it was by far my most difficult question I was asked. Not sure I really answered it well, but I was told I was given it to throw me off and see how is answered it. I answered saying choosing students that have diversified backgrounds (not just based on race). I tried to say that diversity is more than just race and is something that can be controlled to some extent (experiences). I keep rethinking it over how I should've handled it but gave it my best shot.
I got a question like this once and discussed how it is also important particularly if you are working with a clientele base that is predominantly of a different racial/ethnic/sociocultural background than your own and some issues relating to lack of cultural competency, lack of understanding of concerns for those communities, and an occasional lack of trust in various health professionals in the same communities. If vet med truly wants to help lots of animals then diversity is important to the field purely from the perspective of cultivating a base of professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and competencies. A diverse group of professionals will be more adept at engendering trust/understanding/a good working relationship with communities that really need it.

But also yes, this is a very difficult question to answer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Baer

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
98
Reaction score
32
That's a tough interview question to answer, but entirely accurate. I'd estimate that Illinois has 10-15% or less of our entire student body being part of a minority group. Some would bring up the point that the minority 'issue' starts from grade school though, not graduate school. You can't expect someone who is squashed down from age 5 to always be able to get into a position where he/she can successfully apply to veterinary school.

I like hearing talks about how the profession has been a female majority since the 80s or so, but many government/leadership positions are still occupied by middle aged+ white men. I don't know if there's a current statistic on that, but I know we only have 10 or 12 state vets that are female right now, for example.

I think part of it is the fact that many vets never quite retire, so the male vets that are really reaching up there in age are still working. Women can't take positions that aren't open, I suppose. Another interesting POV I've heard is that when more and more women were accepted to veterinary school, they were essentially groomed for small animal GP. I've only heard that once, though, but it makes sense in my experience. I've heard recent residents talk about how frustrating it can be to break into a majority male specialty.

Part of that probably comes from the fact that a lot of females go into small animal practice while the males tend to go towards large/mix type fields which ends up being a good background when it comes to government type positions. When responsible for all aspects of veterinary medicine across the state, do you want a vet that had a wide variety of experiences or one that lived in small animal?

Some of that can be blamed on the system too. Just a few weeks ago at my interview at virginia/maryland Dr. Pelzer (director of admissions) brought it up that when she was first in her position it was common for males only to get in if they were doing large animal. So no matter how you look at it, the field has its issues with fairness and equality.

Personally, I agree with your point that it starts early. Most of the people going into the field were groomed into early on and maybe that exposure is limited to whites. For some anecdotal evidence, I don't know of too many blacks that are really animal friendly and from my time of working at a vet clinic I don't recall many black clients either. I was in the army for 4 years and exposed to people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Looking back on it, I only remember 1-2 non-whites that actually liked animals..the rest were pretty vocal about disliking it. Who knows though, that could go back to the previous point that they are groomed for it.
 

vetmedhead

Hang onto me and we'll quarantine the gloom
5+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Messages
13,342
Reaction score
38,840
Part of that probably comes from the fact that a lot of females go into small animal practice while the males tend to go towards large/mix type fields which ends up being a good background when it comes to government type positions. When responsible for all aspects of veterinary medicine across the state, do you want a vet that had a wide variety of experiences or one that lived in small animal?

Some of that can be blamed on the system too. Just a few weeks ago at my interview at virginia/maryland Dr. Pelzer (director of admissions) brought it up that when she was first in her position it was common for males only to get in if they were doing large animal. So no matter how you look at it, the field has its issues with fairness and equality.

Personally, I agree with your point that it starts early. Most of the people going into the field were groomed into early on and maybe that exposure is limited to whites. For some anecdotal evidence, I don't know of too many blacks that are really animal friendly and from my time of working at a vet clinic I don't recall many black clients either. I was in the army for 4 years and exposed to people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Looking back on it, I only remember 1-2 non-whites that actually liked animals..the rest were pretty vocal about disliking it. Who knows though, that could go back to the previous point that they are groomed for it.
I would argue as well that there may just be cultural differences about the role of a pet and pet keeping practices in general. Not going to comment very much on people of color specifically since I haven't worked very much with those groups in a veterinary setting, but I worked with a lot of people from Mexico at my job and many of them thought of their pets as property and tended to think of their animals in terms of cost to fix and ability for the animal to be of use. This is very similar to how most food animal producers think of their animals but a lot of people I worked with had a difficult time working with people who had this mindset because they had a hard time understanding that pragmatic point of view and really conceptualized pets as family members/creatures of immense emotional wealth and subsequently had a difficult time working with those clients.

But that mindset isn't a bad thing at all actually, because I had lots of great conversations with people about why certain services (spay/neuter, vaccines, etc.) were beneficial from a cost analysis perspective and why good animal welfare was good for keeping an animal that could work around for a long time. It can be hard to work with people with a different perspective than you (pets as companions vs pets as property) but it is very effective to reframe those conversations so they focus around a common goal which you should realistically have in common with those people (animal welfare, for example). Some of those people were the absolute easiest to work with because they responded well to very pragmatic arguments about the health care of their pets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
The trend of giving new schools accreditation while current schools increase class sizes, all while the debt to income ratio gets worse every year.

Yup, along with the related issue of high numbers of applicants. If the number of applicants decreased as debt increases/salaries stagnate, schools would stop opening and increasing seats (and some would close- see what happened with dental schools a few decades ago). But pre-vets keep applying to OOS/expensive IS/private schools (any schools, really!), so schools keep opening, keep adding seats, and have little incentive to control costs.

Not sure I really answered it well, but I was told I was given it to throw me off and see how is answered it.

I doubt it was a trick or meant to mess with you. I'm not sure if I thought it up or saw it on the interview feedback section, but I had that question on my list to prepare for. If you think of it as "why is diversity important?" it's basically the same question but might be easier to answer.

Personally, I agree with your point that it starts early. Most of the people going into the field were groomed into early on and maybe that exposure is limited to whites. For some anecdotal evidence, I don't know of too many blacks that are really animal friendly and from my time of working at a vet clinic I don't recall many black clients either. I was in the army for 4 years and exposed to people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Looking back on it, I only remember 1-2 non-whites that actually liked animals..the rest were pretty vocal about disliking it. Who knows though, that could go back to the previous point that they are groomed for it.

For a number of reasons, people of color are less likely to own pets than white people (at least in the US). I'm sure some of it is due to cultural differences and some due to third variables like urban vs. rural/suburban living, income levels, etc. I'm sure it's a factor (one of many) in the veterinary field's lack of diversity.

Off-hand, I can think of plenty of PoC who have/like pets and the only people I know of who really don't like animals are white. Just different experiences, I guess.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

cheathac

Purdue c/o 2021!!!
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Messages
1,168
Reaction score
1,278
Yup, along with the related issue of high numbers of applicants. If the number of applicants decreased as debt increases/salaries stagnate, schools would stop opening and increasing seats (and some would close- see what happened with dental schools a few decades ago). But pre-vets keep applying to OOS/expensive IS/private schools (any schools, really!), so schools keep opening, keep adding seats, and have little incentive to control costs.



I doubt it was a trick or meant to mess with you. I'm not sure if I thought it up or saw it on the interview feedback section, but I had that question on my list to prepare for. If you think of it as "why is diversity important?" it's basically the same question but might be easier to answer.

That is just what another interviewer and clinician told me. I just looked at the feedback for the school and didn't really see anything like that except for (what makes you diverse). Anyways, if I messed it up I messed it up. All my friends got questions such as "why do you want to be a vet" or "do you want to specialize." Just hoping that one question didn't destroy the whole interview. I didn't say anything that would insinuate a red flag... maybe just could've answered it better. Though, I feel like we all think that after an interview.
 

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074

Not trying to say you messed up! I think what you said is very much in line with what schools are looking for in diversity in their student body, and what they're looking for in interview/supplemental questions about diversity.

Just thought of two more:

Corporate ownership of veterinary practices and whether pets are property (especially when it comes to malpractice suits and divorce cases).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

vetmedhead

Hang onto me and we'll quarantine the gloom
5+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Messages
13,342
Reaction score
38,840
Not trying to say you messed up! I think what you said is very much in line with what schools are looking for in diversity in their student body, and what they're looking for in interview/supplemental questions about diversity.

Just thought of two more:

Corporate ownership of veterinary practices and whether pets are property (especially when it comes to malpractice suits and divorce cases).
Pets as property also comes into concern for animal cruelty laws and civil suits, where punishments/punitive measures/remunerations for harming an animal are often considered in the context of the cost of the animal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Members don't see this ad :)

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
whether pets are property (especially when it comes to malpractice suits and divorce cases).

Can also be put into the concept of animal welfare vs animal rights. It's been argued by animal rights groups that having animal under ownership takes away their rights to autonomy and having them legally referred to as companions is better.

This whole concept actually kind of scares the crap out of me because there's no clear line. If you argue that animals deserve autonomy, you could argue against anything/everything from producing animals for food to keeping wild animals in captivity to even keeping them as pets and forcing them to be sterilized.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

pinkpuppy9

Tired DVM
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2013
Messages
5,605
Reaction score
3,938
Part of that probably comes from the fact that a lot of females go into small animal practice while the males tend to go towards large/mix type fields which ends up being a good background when it comes to government type positions. When responsible for all aspects of veterinary medicine across the state, do you want a vet that had a wide variety of experiences or one that lived in small animal?

Some of that can be blamed on the system too. Just a few weeks ago at my interview at virginia/maryland Dr. Pelzer (director of admissions) brought it up that when she was first in her position it was common for males only to get in if they were doing large animal. So no matter how you look at it, the field has its issues with fairness and equality.

Personally, I agree with your point that it starts early. Most of the people going into the field were groomed into early on and maybe that exposure is limited to whites. For some anecdotal evidence, I don't know of too many blacks that are really animal friendly and from my time of working at a vet clinic I don't recall many black clients either. I was in the army for 4 years and exposed to people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Looking back on it, I only remember 1-2 non-whites that actually liked animals..the rest were pretty vocal about disliking it. Who knows though, that could go back to the previous point that they are groomed for it.
Well that's why I mentioned that anecdote. According to one vet I talked to about this issue specifically, she felt she was pushed away from LA medicine during school, and LA medicine was her goal. She wanted to go LA, was told "why don't you stick with with small animal stuff." In her opinion, female students weren't given the time of day on the LA side of things. That's just what one person has to say, though. She graduated in the early 90s. It could have been the clinicians at the school she went to as much as it could have been a social thing.

Also, when I referred to it starting early on, I was talking about the crap education system in this country (and more so in cities), but what you're saying stands as well.
Yup, along with the related issue of high numbers of applicants. If the number of applicants decreased as debt increases/salaries stagnate, schools would stop opening and increasing seats (and some would close- see what happened with dental schools a few decades ago). But pre-vets keep applying to OOS/expensive IS/private schools (any schools, really!), so schools keep opening, keep adding seats, and have little incentive to control costs.



I doubt it was a trick or meant to mess with you. I'm not sure if I thought it up or saw it on the interview feedback section, but I had that question on my list to prepare for. If you think of it as "why is diversity important?" it's basically the same question but might be easier to answer.



For a number of reasons, people of color are less likely to own pets than white people (at least in the US). I'm sure some of it is due to cultural differences and some due to third variables like urban vs. rural/suburban living, income levels, etc. I'm sure it's a factor (one of many) in the veterinary field's lack of diversity.

Off-hand, I can think of plenty of PoC who have/like pets and the only people I know of who really don't like animals are white. Just different experiences, I guess.
This. I shared an apartment with a girl who was pre-vet, lived in the heart of Detroit (aka not a good area), and told me all about how her family thought her wanting to be a vet was just this awful thing. In the city, the idea of having animals around = dirty. That's obviously not true for everyone, but in general the experience city-livers have with animals isn't positive (rats, roaches, feral cats and dogs, etc.).
 

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
This. I shared an apartment with a girl who was pre-vet, lived in the heart of Detroit (aka not a good area), and told me all about how her family thought her wanting to be a vet was just this awful thing. In the city, the idea of having animals around = dirty. That's obviously not true for everyone, but in general the experience city-livers have with animals isn't positive (rats, roaches, feral cats and dogs, etc.).

Good point. I just meant that living in a city makes it more difficult to have a cat or dog (let alone a horse or cow), and less exposure to animals means less exposure to/interest in veterinary medicine.
 

WizardOfPaws

Full Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
32
Reaction score
50
I was asked in one of my interviews on my thoughts of how the profession is a mainly "white profession." So, at least some in the field think it's a problem of a lack of diversity. Boy did I have fun answering that question. Deer in the headlights :laugh:

Oh man. I feel like if I get asked this question at my interview, I might scare them off a little and seem radical.

It's strange because people tend to walk on eggshells around diversity questions especially race-related ones. People also tend to think of issues like those exist inside a vacuum without considering the situations that may have led to the issue being an issue in the first place.

I'm black, female, and gay so I can only speak from my experiences. I know that my grandmother is absolutely terrified of animals, especially dogs, and she passed that fear down to most of her children. A lot of people just take that at face value but if you ask why she'll tell you that they sicked dogs on her and her friends during some civil rights protest in the 60s. That was only fifty years ago, so the fear of an animal from an attack like that would definitely take more than a generation or two to overcome.
Her story is pretty common, we've all seen the pictures in history books. We know the terms like "chattel slavery" and the "3/5 rule"
It's sad but that's history and it has to be acknowledge, so I can definitely understand why a lot of black people don't go into the veterinary field. We're still re-learning and getting over some generational trauma

Also consider that many PoC weren't even allowed to obtain "quality" higher education until fairly recently. Desegregation of schools happened in 1954 but a lot of colleges and universities, especially southern ones, still didn't admit students of color until another ruling that took place in 1961. It was a slow going process and many did not want to be the first because making that leap was dangerous and involved a lot of pressure to be a perfect reprentative of your entire race ☹️

A lot can be said for first generation students too. If you're from an immigrant family, there's usually pressure to succeed and be better. Many non-western countries don't consider veterinary medicine in the same tier as human so telling your family that's the career path you've decided is rough. You don't want to be considered a let down or a waste of your parents sacrifices.
Also some immigrants are coming from places where they were treated the same, if not worse, than the animals. My roommate's mother was "loaned" out by her family to be a maid at the age of 7. Her mother was sent 300 miles away from home with the promise of school and warm meals, but she treated like trash. Like Cinderella without the prince and more beatings. She even had to sleep in the barn. That was her life for 8 years! Then she crossed the border, worked 3 jobs, applied for residency, and never looked back. She's not fearful of animals but she is definitely indifferent and has passed those feelings onto her children.

This is turning into a huge rant (see why this would be an awful question for me at a professional interview), but anyway. I definitely agree that starting programs early on and nurturing a love for nature and animals would benefit the future of the profession.

I think making sure people actually try to listen to topics about diversity and making changes would be great too. I went to a predominantly white Texas university (85%). I was the only person of color in all of my animal-science classes and the school didn't even offer cultural courses (African-American studies, gay and lesbian history, etc.), but I did join the diversity committee. Whenever we held presentations for classes people were extremely disrespectful and willfully ignorant. I would always see one or two faces in the crowd that looked embarrassed when their friends would say rude things but never said anything to them

I mean, it's a complicated issue without touching on the topic of gender disparity, economic status, or urban/rural living.

I did get to start my personal statement with quote from a client at an equine vet I shadowed junior year . This grown man rocked up next to me and says "We don't see much of your kind around these parts." Once I explained why I was there he says, "I'll be damned."
It was hella awkward, a bit creepy, and a teensybit endearing. I don't think he meant it maliciously or anything but it did put a fire in my belly to finish show that I belonged & could keep up
 
  • Like
Reactions: 11 users

Staffie

Full Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
119
Reaction score
134
Oh man. I feel like if I get asked this question at my interview, I might scare them off a little and seem radical.
...

This is turning into a huge rant (see why this would be an awful question for me at a professional interview), but anyway. I definitely agree that starting programs early on and nurturing a love for nature and animals would benefit the future of the profession.

Actually, I don't think you came off as radical at all. I think you were very articulate and showed that this is something that you have thought about and understood, possibly on a deeper level than any interviewer you may be sitting across from. That's a good thing, and you shouldn't be ashamed to say any of this during an interview if you were asked a question like that. It shows your understanding of a complex social issue that many of your future vet school peers likely don't have, and I think that makes you a very valuable member of the class so that these points of view are heard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

cheathac

Purdue c/o 2021!!!
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Messages
1,168
Reaction score
1,278
Awesome response! @WizardOfPaws By no means radical at all. This is why I love SDN... getting to hear other viewpoints and controversies within the profession. So that we all can become aware and act accordingly. Have you heard back from any schools yet?
 

WizardOfPaws

Full Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
32
Reaction score
50
Actually, I don't think you came off as radical at all. I think you were very articulate and showed that this is something that you have thought about and understood, possibly on a deeper level than any interviewer you may be sitting across from. That's a good thing, and you shouldn't be ashamed to say any of this during an interview if you were asked a question like that. It shows your understanding of a complex social issue that many of your future vet school peers likely don't have, and I think that makes you a very valuable member of the class so that these points of view are heard.

Thank you! I really do think joining the diversity committee helped me develop my views further and learn to voice my opinions better.
I definately recommend everyone join one (or at least listen when they hold presentations) and taking some cultural elective courses. I took black studies, gays and lesbians in writing, Mexican-American history, and women's studies during my summer breaks at home. Really eye-opening.

Awesome response! @WizardOfPaws By no means radical at all. This is why I love SDN... getting to hear other viewpoints and controversies within the profession. So that we all can become aware and act accordingly. Have you heard back from any schools yet?

Thank you! I've been an avid follower of the forums for years and just recently made an account. I love learning about different people's opinions and seeing how their views change over time.
I actually received an interview offer from Midwestern for March. I'm extremely excited!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
Oh man. I feel like if I get asked this question at my interview, I might scare them off a little and seem radical.

It's strange because people tend to walk on eggshells around diversity questions especially race-related ones. People also tend to think of issues like those exist inside a vacuum without considering the situations that may have led to the issue being an issue in the first place.

I'm black, female, and gay so I can only speak from my experiences. I know that my grandmother is absolutely terrified of animals, especially dogs, and she passed that fear down to most of her children. A lot of people just take that at face value but if you ask why she'll tell you that they sicked dogs on her and her friends during some civil rights protest in the 60s. That was only fifty years ago, so the fear of an animal from an attack like that would definitely take more than a generation or two to overcome.
Her story is pretty common, we've all seen the pictures in history books. We know the terms like "chattel slavery" and the "3/5 rule"
It's sad but that's history and it has to be acknowledge, so I can definitely understand why a lot of black people don't go into the veterinary field. We're still re-learning and getting over some generational trauma

Also consider that many PoC weren't even allowed to obtain "quality" higher education until fairly recently. Desegregation of schools happened in 1954 but a lot of colleges and universities, especially southern ones, still didn't admit students of color until another ruling that took place in 1961. It was a slow going process and many did not want to be the first because making that leap was dangerous and involved a lot of pressure to be a perfect reprentative of your entire race ☹️

A lot can be said for first generation students too. If you're from an immigrant family, there's usually pressure to succeed and be better. Many non-western countries don't consider veterinary medicine in the same tier as human so telling your family that's the career path you've decided is rough. You don't want to be considered a let down or a waste of your parents sacrifices.
Also some immigrants are coming from places where they were treated the same, if not worse, than the animals. My roommate's mother was "loaned" out by her family to be a maid at the age of 7. Her mother was sent 300 miles away from home with the promise of school and warm meals, but she treated like trash. Like Cinderella without the prince and more beatings. She even had to sleep in the barn. That was her life for 8 years! Then she crossed the border, worked 3 jobs, applied for residency, and never looked back. She's not fearful of animals but she is definitely indifferent and has passed those feelings onto her children.

This is turning into a huge rant (see why this would be an awful question for me at a professional interview), but anyway. I definitely agree that starting programs early on and nurturing a love for nature and animals would benefit the future of the profession.

I think making sure people actually try to listen to topics about diversity and making changes would be great too. I went to a predominantly white Texas university (85%). I was the only person of color in all of my animal-science classes and the school didn't even offer cultural courses (African-American studies, gay and lesbian history, etc.), but I did join the diversity committee. Whenever we held presentations for classes people were extremely disrespectful and willfully ignorant. I would always see one or two faces in the crowd that looked embarrassed when their friends would say rude things but never said anything to them

I mean, it's a complicated issue without touching on the topic of gender disparity, economic status, or urban/rural living.

I did get to start my personal statement with quote from a client at an equine vet I shadowed junior year . This grown man rocked up next to me and says "We don't see much of your kind around these parts." Once I explained why I was there he says, "I'll be damned."
It was hella awkward, a bit creepy, and a teensybit endearing. I don't think he meant it maliciously or anything but it did put a fire in my belly to finish show that I belonged & could keep up

Ha, I feel like if you answered this in an interview, they'd accept you on the spot (or at least should). I think veterinary medicine is really lacking people who did not grow up white, in the US, and relatively privileged. It seems there's a push for schools to accept students who have at least tried to spend time with and understand people from different cultures and economic circumstances, and that's a good thing. Especially as veterinary medicine becomes increasingly specialized and expensive, homogeneity of the field is really a problem. More diversity plus more understanding from everyone is exactly what we need.

Great point about things taking generations to overcome. I spent a few years working in a predominantly Native American area, and it really opened my eyes. It's one thing to know intellectually that oppression doesn't have a neat end date and another to really see how things span generations. I have to bite my tongue sometimes when I hear certain comments (and then try to politely educate), and it's tough even though I'm white so at least it's not anything directed at me.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I hope you'll continue to do so on SDN and off.

Can also be put into the concept of animal welfare vs animal rights. It's been argued by animal rights groups that having animal under ownership takes away their rights to autonomy and having them legally referred to as companions is better.

This whole concept actually kind of scares the crap out of me because there's no clear line. If you argue that animals deserve autonomy, you could argue against anything/everything from producing animals for food to keeping wild animals in captivity to even keeping them as pets and forcing them to be sterilized.

Sure, but how many people actually advocate that? Vegans make up <1% of the US population and plenty have no interest in stopping people from eating meat, keeping animals in captivity, or having pets. So we're looking at what, 0.0001% of the population?

In some parts of Europe it's illegal to sterilize a pet for a non-medical reason, but as far as I know, reasons for that have a lot to do with 1) not having a pet overpopulation problem and 2) arguments we use against ear crops/tail docks/declaws.

There's definitely a trend towards increased concern about animals' welfare, but I see that as a good thing both morally and for the profession. E.g., realistically, legislation could increase the need for veterinary care in the meat industry, but meat isn't going anywhere. (Possible exception: I think widespread lab-grown meat is something we'll see in our lifetime, and that will certainly impact the industry, but it's not something driven by animal rights activists.)

To be clear, I do disagree with the extreme views you mentioned. I'm just not concerned about tiny, tiny fringe groups in most cases. If you're a lab animal vet, then it certainly makes sense for your facility to have security protocols in place and be aware of extremists. But generally speaking, I think a lot of fear about animal welfare vs. animal rights boils down to a slippery slope fallacy.
 

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
Sure, but how many people actually advocate that? Vegans make up <1% of the US population and plenty have no interest in stopping people from eating meat, keeping animals in captivity, or having pets. So we're looking at what, 0.0001% of the population?

In some parts of Europe it's illegal to sterilize a pet for a non-medical reason, but as far as I know, reasons for that have a lot to do with 1) not having a pet overpopulation problem and 2) arguments we use against ear crops/tail docks/declaws.

There's definitely a trend towards increased concern about animals' welfare, but I see that as a good thing both morally and for the profession. E.g., realistically, legislation could increase the need for veterinary care in the meat industry, but meat isn't going anywhere. (Possible exception: I think widespread lab-grown meat is something we'll see in our lifetime, and that will certainly impact the industry, but it's not something driven by animal rights activists.)

To be clear, I do disagree with the extreme views you mentioned. I'm just not concerned about tiny, tiny fringe groups in most cases. If you're a lab animal vet, then it certainly makes sense for your facility to have security protocols in place and be aware of extremists. But generally speaking, I think a lot of fear about animal welfare vs. animal rights boils down to a slippery slope fallacy.

I think we are seeing it to a certain extent. Referring back to whether or not animals should be considered "property" or be considered "companions", there are counties in California where you cannot legally sell an animal; only shelters can request payment (adoption fee) for their animal. So a breeder could not sell their animal in these counties. This is spreading; it's been stopped in three times in Colorado. If we're going to consider animals as property, then their owner should be able to get compensation for that transfer of property.

So where will this end? Groups should who breed transgenic mice should be able to sell those animals; food producers should also be able to do so; there's certainly more. However, these places cannot exist in the areas where animals cannot be sold. So if urban areas are going to go the route some California cities are starting to go, how is this going to change the concept of "animal property"?

I agree that the layperson doesn't necessarily agree with the extremes, but they support groups whose leaders do. PETA has how many members who do go in spay and neuter clinics, but Ingrid Newkirk is a leader with extreme values that has far greater influence on where those millions of dollars goes than that layperson. One extremist with power/money can do a lot more damaged than 1,000 normal people with a fraction of the power/money.
 

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
I think we are seeing it to a certain extent. Referring back to whether or not animals should be considered "property" or be considered "companions", there are counties in California where you cannot legally sell an animal; only shelters can request payment (adoption fee) for their animal. So a breeder could not sell their animal in these counties. This is spreading; it's been stopped in three times in Colorado. If we're going to consider animals as property, then their owner should be able to get compensation for that transfer of property.

So where will this end? Groups should who breed transgenic mice should be able to sell those animals; food producers should also be able to do so; there's certainly more. However, these places cannot exist in the areas where animals cannot be sold. So if urban areas are going to go the route some California cities are starting to go, how is this going to change the concept of "animal property"?

I agree that the layperson doesn't necessarily agree with the extremes, but they support groups whose leaders do. PETA has how many members who do go in spay and neuter clinics, but Ingrid Newkirk is a leader with extreme values that has far greater influence on where those millions of dollars goes than that layperson. One extremist with power/money can do a lot more damaged than 1,000 normal people with a fraction of the power/money.

All good points. Animals are definitely in a strange gray area when it comes to them being considered property.

However, I think it really comes down to the difference between what could happen if something is taken to extremes vs. what is actually likely to happen. I couldn't find anything online about it being illegal to breed/sell pets in California (except for a ban on non-rescue sales in pet stores in some cities, which is very different from banning sales overall), but I can see that happening. I really can't see a widespread ban on selling food animals.

Overall, people with power and money in the US do not hold those views and our elected representatives are very, very pro-agriculture. A few people, no matter how rich and influential, won't be able to do much.
 

mmmdreamerz

c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
4,694
Reaction score
6,051
Oh man. I feel like if I get asked this question at my interview, I might scare them off a little and seem radical.

It's strange because people tend to walk on eggshells around diversity questions especially race-related ones. People also tend to think of issues like those exist inside a vacuum without considering the situations that may have led to the issue being an issue in the first place.

I'm black, female, and gay so I can only speak from my experiences. I know that my grandmother is absolutely terrified of animals, especially dogs, and she passed that fear down to most of her children. A lot of people just take that at face value but if you ask why she'll tell you that they sicked dogs on her and her friends during some civil rights protest in the 60s. That was only fifty years ago, so the fear of an animal from an attack like that would definitely take more than a generation or two to overcome.
Her story is pretty common, we've all seen the pictures in history books. We know the terms like "chattel slavery" and the "3/5 rule"
It's sad but that's history and it has to be acknowledge, so I can definitely understand why a lot of black people don't go into the veterinary field. We're still re-learning and getting over some generational trauma

Also consider that many PoC weren't even allowed to obtain "quality" higher education until fairly recently. Desegregation of schools happened in 1954 but a lot of colleges and universities, especially southern ones, still didn't admit students of color until another ruling that took place in 1961. It was a slow going process and many did not want to be the first because making that leap was dangerous and involved a lot of pressure to be a perfect reprentative of your entire race ☹️

A lot can be said for first generation students too. If you're from an immigrant family, there's usually pressure to succeed and be better. Many non-western countries don't consider veterinary medicine in the same tier as human so telling your family that's the career path you've decided is rough. You don't want to be considered a let down or a waste of your parents sacrifices.
Also some immigrants are coming from places where they were treated the same, if not worse, than the animals. My roommate's mother was "loaned" out by her family to be a maid at the age of 7. Her mother was sent 300 miles away from home with the promise of school and warm meals, but she treated like trash. Like Cinderella without the prince and more beatings. She even had to sleep in the barn. That was her life for 8 years! Then she crossed the border, worked 3 jobs, applied for residency, and never looked back. She's not fearful of animals but she is definitely indifferent and has passed those feelings onto her children.

This is turning into a huge rant (see why this would be an awful question for me at a professional interview), but anyway. I definitely agree that starting programs early on and nurturing a love for nature and animals would benefit the future of the profession.

I think making sure people actually try to listen to topics about diversity and making changes would be great too. I went to a predominantly white Texas university (85%). I was the only person of color in all of my animal-science classes and the school didn't even offer cultural courses (African-American studies, gay and lesbian history, etc.), but I did join the diversity committee. Whenever we held presentations for classes people were extremely disrespectful and willfully ignorant. I would always see one or two faces in the crowd that looked embarrassed when their friends would say rude things but never said anything to them

I mean, it's a complicated issue without touching on the topic of gender disparity, economic status, or urban/rural living.

I did get to start my personal statement with quote from a client at an equine vet I shadowed junior year . This grown man rocked up next to me and says "We don't see much of your kind around these parts." Once I explained why I was there he says, "I'll be damned."
It was hella awkward, a bit creepy, and a teensybit endearing. I don't think he meant it maliciously or anything but it did put a fire in my belly to finish show that I belonged & could keep up

This came off not the least bit radical, but instead incredibly well thought-out. I think I learned something, too.
 

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
All good points. Animals are definitely in a strange gray area when it comes to them being considered property.

However, I think it really comes down to the difference between what could happen if something is taken to extremes vs. what is actually likely to happen. I couldn't find anything online about it being illegal to breed/sell pets in California (except for a ban on non-rescue sales in pet stores in some cities, which is very different from banning sales overall), but I can see that happening. I really can't see a widespread ban on selling food animals.

Overall, people with power and money in the US do not hold those views and our elected representatives are very, very pro-agriculture. A few people, no matter how rich and influential, won't be able to do much.

I guess I do need to acknowledge I'm paranoid about this as a general rule. My family owns pet stores, so we see this aspect way more doom and gloom than is probably necessary. Paranoia is almost a genetic component there.

And there's so many rabbit holes this could go down, like if animals are no longer property, will emergency veterinarians be able to deny treatment, or have to act like their human counterparts? It just goes so downhill from there.
 

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
I guess I do need to acknowledge I'm paranoid about this as a general rule. My family owns pet stores, so we see this aspect way more doom and gloom than is probably necessary. Paranoia is almost a genetic component there.

And there's so many rabbit holes this could go down, like if animals are no longer property, will emergency veterinarians be able to deny treatment, or have to act like their human counterparts? It just goes so downhill from there.


Where I live, dogs and cats in pet stores can only come from rescues or shelters. A couple shelters where I volunteer place dogs and cats in them, though that actually started well in advance of the law being passed. I don't know how pet stores have been affected economically, but they do get a cut (animals are more expensive in the store than in the shelter) and they get some good press and maybe some increased business as well. At at least one store, managers' performance reviews (or bonuses? raises?) are based on how many animals are adopted out, and shelters can hardly keep up with their demand.

As for rabbit holes, you can find them in every direction if you look. There are certainly some legal and social changes, but the idea of animals not be treated strictly as property is at least as old as animal cruelty laws.

I'm not at all trying to say that you're wrong, and your perspective is interesting- I'm just not on the doom and gloom train. You could always visit a PETA forum or something to cheer yourself up. (They're selling kittens?! Next they'll be selling babies!! :p)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
Where I live, dogs and cats in pet stores can only come from rescues or shelters. A couple shelters where I volunteer place dogs and cats in them, though that actually started well in advance of the law being passed. I don't know how pet stores have been affected economically, but they do get a cut (animals are more expensive in the store than in the shelter) and they get some good press and maybe some increased business as well. At at least one store, managers' performance reviews (or bonuses? raises?) are based on how many animals are adopted out, and shelters can hardly keep up with their demand.

As for rabbit holes, you can find them in every direction if you look. There are certainly some legal and social changes, but the idea of animals not be treated strictly as property is at least as old as animal cruelty laws.

I'm not at all trying to say that you're wrong, and your perspective is interesting- I'm just not on the doom and gloom train. You could always visit a PETA forum or something to cheer yourself up. (They're selling kittens?! Next they'll be selling babies!! :p)

Yeah, we're the old school style stores for the most part. One guy who used to work for my grandpa but now has his own store does some adoption work, but the shelter that agreed to work with him (cause only about half the shelters he contacted were interested/had enough dog flow to be interested) is also having a hard time keeping up. They send him dogs only about every three weeks or so.

As far as economically, we've been declining since the 90's cause the previous generations running the industry didn't get on the bandwagon soon enough to control the puppy mills and other issues (or really even control it from the beginning; I can rant about this for hours; biggest argument I've ever had with some of my more distant cousins who have/had stores). At least in my home state, it's reached an equilibrium level. My aunt is considering opening another store or expanding the current existing one, but that's a ways off. Our shelter system is very stable and efficient, so that's helped quite a bit. If we could just enforce our spay and neuter laws, then we'd be in business for both us and the shelters. As for other states, it's hard for me to say cause I've fallen out of touch with a lot of those people personally since leaving for undergrad. I'd like to do some sort of research on actual number of breeders/mills/backyard breeders/shelters/stores/etc and how many dogs are moved within the dog industry; but I have no idea where I would start. I got a lot of interesting information/statistics from The Dog Merchants by Kim (I think) Ellis. Ton of interesting information there.

I get the perspective of having pets as family. I would just like to see a balance of it instead of swinging all the way from just the property side to the opposite extreme. I'm certainly willing to spend more on my pets than some of my less deserving human family members. lol.

But we'll just have to wait and see! I just might be that crazy doomsday dude with the sign hanging around my neck on the street corner. lol.

PS: After this civil conversation (thanks for that by the way), I'm disappointed you're not coming to Illinois!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
20,109
Reaction score
20,906
And there's so many rabbit holes this could go down, like if animals are no longer property, will emergency veterinarians be able to deny treatment, or have to act like their human counterparts? It just goes so downhill from there.

Honestly, I worry a lot less about this than I used to in terms of my job. People talk about how, if people become 'caretakers' instead of 'owners', our liability will go screaming up.

Ok, whatever. I'll pay more for liability insurance, and pass that cost on to my clients. Bummer for their animals, eh?

Someone comes into the ER? Well, I already have a responsibility to provide basic supportive care (pain meds, fluids, heat support, whatever). So that won't change.

The move to make animals not-property is just gonna mean more cost for owners. I don't see it changing a lot for me as an ER doc. I'll continue providing gold-standard estimates (except they'll be more expensive) and then coming up with other alternatives if/when they decline. Same old, same old.

But I do wonder what it means in terms of animal welfare. If they aren't property, then perhaps the minimum standards for care go up, which is more expensive, which could translate to fewer people owning (errrrr... caretaking) pets, which ....

I dunno. I just think that in the long-run it's going to be bad for animals. They don't really generate money to care for themselves (zoo animals, etc., aside), so the degree to which we elevate them means people have to pay more to care for them ... and where's that $$ going to come from?
 

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
Honestly, I worry a lot less about this than I used to in terms of my job. People talk about how, if people become 'caretakers' instead of 'owners', our liability will go screaming up.

Ok, whatever. I'll pay more for liability insurance, and pass that cost on to my clients. Bummer for their animals, eh?

Someone comes into the ER? Well, I already have a responsibility to provide basic supportive care (pain meds, fluids, heat support, whatever). So that won't change.

The move to make animals not-property is just gonna mean more cost for owners. I don't see it changing a lot for me as an ER doc. I'll continue providing gold-standard estimates (except they'll be more expensive) and then coming up with other alternatives if/when they decline. Same old, same old.

But I do wonder what it means in terms of animal welfare. If they aren't property, then perhaps the minimum standards for care go up, which is more expensive, which could translate to fewer people owning (errrrr... caretaking) pets, which ....

I dunno. I just think that in the long-run it's going to be bad for animals. They don't really generate money to care for themselves (zoo animals, etc., aside), so the degree to which we elevate them means people have to pay more to care for them ... and where's that $$ going to come from?

The bolded were my concerns exactly; I phrased them poorly. My younger self was concerned that it may get to the point where euthanasia wouldn't be allowed (cause we can't euthanize our human kids), but with physician assisted suicide being passed in several states, that is significantly a lesser concern.
 

TrashPanda

Class of 2021! (accepted)
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
831
Reaction score
1,074
Yeah, we're the old school style stores for the most part. One guy who used to work for my grandpa but now has his own store does some adoption work, but the shelter that agreed to work with him (cause only about half the shelters he contacted were interested/had enough dog flow to be interested) is also having a hard time keeping up. They send him dogs only about every three weeks or so.

As far as economically, we've been declining since the 90's cause the previous generations running the industry didn't get on the bandwagon soon enough to control the puppy mills and other issues (or really even control it from the beginning; I can rant about this for hours; biggest argument I've ever had with some of my more distant cousins who have/had stores). At least in my home state, it's reached an equilibrium level. My aunt is considering opening another store or expanding the current existing one, but that's a ways off. Our shelter system is very stable and efficient, so that's helped quite a bit. If we could just enforce our spay and neuter laws, then we'd be in business for both us and the shelters. As for other states, it's hard for me to say cause I've fallen out of touch with a lot of those people personally since leaving for undergrad. I'd like to do some sort of research on actual number of breeders/mills/backyard breeders/shelters/stores/etc and how many dogs are moved within the dog industry; but I have no idea where I would start. I got a lot of interesting information/statistics from The Dog Merchants by Kim (I think) Ellis. Ton of interesting information there.

I get the perspective of having pets as family. I would just like to see a balance of it instead of swinging all the way from just the property side to the opposite extreme. I'm certainly willing to spend more on my pets than some of my less deserving human family members. lol.

But we'll just have to wait and see! I just might be that crazy doomsday dude with the sign hanging around my neck on the street corner. lol.

PS: After this civil conversation (thanks for that by the way), I'm disappointed you're not coming to Illinois!

This is all really interesting. I'm interested in shelter medicine, and I'm curious about the economic side of it all. I've heard minor concern about a dog shortage (at least a highly adoptable dog shortage) and while dog transports are one solution, some are already drying up. One shelter where I volunteer even does cat transports sometimes, while just a few years ago I don't think any vet there would've dreamed they would be a thing. It's great that euthanasia rates are way down and we don't have nearly the same number of unwanted puppies and kittens, but it's hard to run a shelter without a lot of unwanted puppies and kittens. I never thought about how spay/neuter would affect pet stores, but that makes perfect sense!

Of course, pet overpopulation is still an issue, but it comes down to location, adoptability, and resources. We get a lot of puppies from the south, but meanwhile euthanize a decent number of local dogs. And local government wants to pass a law to make the city no-kill with no plan for how (because it just never occurred to shelters to stop killing, so this law will solve everything, right?)

As for sources of data, I really don't know. It's very difficult to find anything better than a rough estimate for even simple things, and most sources have an agenda. Shelter Animals Count is trying to figure out how many animals enter and leave shelters each year, and even that simple information is a huge undertaking.

That book looks really interesting and is only $2.99 on kindle so I'll definitely check it out. I'm glad you mentioned it! Please let me know if you have any other recommendations. And ditto on the thanks for a civil conversation!
 

battie

U. Illinois
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
5,987
Reaction score
10,606
This is all really interesting. I'm interested in shelter medicine, and I'm curious about the economic side of it all. I've heard minor concern about a dog shortage (at least a highly adoptable dog shortage) and while dog transports are one solution, some are already drying up. One shelter where I volunteer even does cat transports sometimes, while just a few years ago I don't think any vet there would've dreamed they would be a thing. It's great that euthanasia rates are way down and we don't have nearly the same number of unwanted puppies and kittens, but it's hard to run a shelter without a lot of unwanted puppies and kittens. I never thought about how spay/neuter would affect pet stores, but that makes perfect sense!

Of course, pet overpopulation is still an issue, but it comes down to location, adoptability, and resources. We get a lot of puppies from the south, but meanwhile euthanize a decent number of local dogs. And local government wants to pass a law to make the city no-kill with no plan for how (because it just never occurred to shelters to stop killing, so this law will solve everything, right?)

As for sources of data, I really don't know. It's very difficult to find anything better than a rough estimate for even simple things, and most sources have an agenda. Shelter Animals Count is trying to figure out how many animals enter and leave shelters each year, and even that simple information is a huge undertaking.

That book looks really interesting and is only $2.99 on kindle so I'll definitely check it out. I'm glad you mentioned it! Please let me know if you have any other recommendations. And ditto on the thanks for a civil conversation!

If you want to see an amazingly stunning shelter system, Colorado is the way to go. 262 shelters that take approx. 101,000 dogs (I know way more about dogs than cats and cats mess everything up with the whole feral population problem) with less than 7,000 euthanized. When you throw in the ones who are DOA, die in care, are stolen, and go missing, it hovers around 7,300ish. 25% returned to owner with around 50% adopted. 75% find homes in a year. And these are hard facts because Colorado enacted PACFA (the pet animal care facilities act) and publish the shelter numbers on the PACFA site. We know exactly how many go in and out of Colorado shelters. When I've tried to find other statistics to see how close that 3.9 million the ASPCA quotes really is, I feel were the only state that has that in depth info readily put together. They do a lot of what you mentioned: transports between shelters in state and bringing in dogs from out of state (Colorado's favorite broken state is New Mexico right now). It's pretty amazing, to be honest. The success is, ironically, why groups like the Colorado Canine Coalition (I think that's what they call themselves) has failed to close our stores down via legislation. They try to claim our <10k dogs sold through all stores is causing pet overpopulation in our state. But then the department of ag rep who has to go to all of these meetings brings up the excel sheet and tells the city council the department of ag doesn't think there is pet overpopulation problems in Colorado. He points out that many more dogs are sold through the newspaper (between 40-60k) and no one knows how many dogs go through the internet.

As far as finding how many mills there are, it would be more difficult because the definition isn't the same for every group (Kim Ellis gets into that). There's also no legal definition. The most frustrating part of that is no one works together on it. PETA would like to define anyone with more than 50 breeding dogs as a puppy mill because of the mass production standpoint of it. The AKC disagrees with pretty much any legal definition because they don't want to alienate their base. If a breeder stands up and actually acknowledges there's a problem, they get told they are part of the problem (PETA) or are claimed to be a traitor (other breeders). Shelters in pet population stable states want to make themselves the only source of pets (without acknowledging the fact that would disrupt the stability and walk through from animal welfare to animal rights), and shelters in unstable states don't have the time or money to enact change. Stores for the last 20 years thought they would cease to exist by now, but now that's changing with states reaching a stable pet population; so we're now finally scrambling to throw our hat in the game at least 20 (arguably 50) years too late. No one is working together!!

/soapbox

But yeah, when you're done with that book, let me know. I thought it would be far more biased than it is; I feel she has a pretty fair grasp on how things work in the dog industry. You can tell she's pro-adopt-don't-shop, but I appreciate someone pointing out the hypocrisy and willful ignorance that perpetuates in the industry in a way that's based on facts and not PETA stereotypes. I'm actually trying to set up a shadow/internship thing with Hunte Corporation this summer because of her book.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Top