Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Dogs and pigeons


I was at a used bookstore today in a “dog friendly” part of town. A woman browsing came into the store with her dog, which I just can’t imagine in a big chain store, or even most small stores in most towns. Dogs being accepted inside buildings – something unusual in this country that should be usual.

I asked if I could pet her dog, and she agreed. Kismet, as the pup was called, was a very calm, sweet dog. To stop petting her was to receive the quintessential puppy eyes, which worked as well as she must have known it would. She didn’t go without attention for long.

A conversation natuarlly started between Kismet’s human and myself. We talked about shelters, what changes would help keep animals from shelters, and the attitude of people towards dogs in certain parts of Mexico and China, where dog culls happen.

Her comment was that in Mexico they had the attitude that dogs were like pigeons, and when they became “pests” it was a normal part of life to poison all the dogs to “take care of the problem.” The people she was talking about in Mexico didn’t see how dogs were any different than pigeons, and that outraged this woman. I didn’t press her on it.

I agree with those people in Mexico, after all, just from a somewhat different perspective. There is no difference between dogs and pigeons – they should all have a right to life, neither should be poisoned, neither should be seen as “pests” or “problems” to be “taken care of”. Humans create problems, and humans need to change their behavior rather than use death and destruction as a solution to a perceived problem.

pigeon in salta


6 responses to “Dogs and pigeons

  1. cherie May 7, 2007 at 5:27 am

    I missed that conversation! I totally agree with you, though, and even I as a vegan have to evaluate my paradigms and my initial reaction to ideas at times, being brought up in a society that is speciest.

  2. Neva May 7, 2007 at 11:36 am

    I don’t think there’s any evidence that culls ever reduce populations over the longterm either. Widespread spaying and neutering help. Sometimes a drastic drop in population just spurs increased breeding and so the endless, cruel, barbaric cycle repeats.

  3. Deb May 7, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    cherie: it is true that society has these speciest (and sexist and racist, etc) patterns so ingrained that it takes effort to recognize them in our own thoughts, despite our best intents.

    neva: it is hard to imagine, ecosystems being what they are, that the culls would have a permanent effect. That they do this periodically seems to answer that question in Mexico for this case, anyway. And that is a really good point. Even if we weren’t concerned with the fact that it is wrong to kill others to try to solve a problem, the truth is that the killing doesn’t solve the problem regardless.

  4. Kenneth Cassar May 8, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Well said! I would discourage the use of the word “cull” though. It sanitizes the reality. Non-human animals are not “culled”. They are killed. It might seem an unimportant point to make, but try saying “pigeons were culled” and then “pigeons were killed”, and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll notice the difference.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Deb May 8, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks, but to be honest “pigeons were killed” sounds sanitized to me. When I hear “cull”, I think of the massive exterminations of dogs in china (for one example). Try “dog cull in china” versus “dog kill in china” and you’ll see what I mean.

  6. Kenneth Cassar May 9, 2007 at 6:17 am

    You can use “mass killing” but I do get your point.

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