Saturday, March 31, 2012

ORA Responds

Lately, some people, including several pound managers and staff in particular, have been angered by our use of the word "kill," referring to the putting down and killing of animals in pounds. A few sources have threatened us with a boycott of the Nathan Winograd event. Even "supporters" have asked us to remove the word "kill" from our Winograd event posters, even though the title of Nathan's lecture is "Building a No-Kill Community."

The first consideration that comes to mind is this: if they are offended by the word, then they must feel that "killing" is wrong. So why not try to change things and stop the killing rather than hide behind euphemisms? Changing the word does not change the reality; one needs to recognize the problem in order to find the will to change. To this end, we have found Nathan Winogard's following passage in "Irreconcilable Differences" aptly interesting as we continue to encounter the same blindnesses here in Toronto and in many parts of Southern Ontario.

"There is a great hypocrisy in the humane movement. While shelters decry the public's irresponsibility, shelters reject responsibility for the animals in their care. And while they tell the public not to treat the animals as disposable, they treat animals exactly that way by killing them-and literally disposing of their bodies in landfills. In fact, they will even deny that they are killing. The Humane Society of the U.S. held a workshop on "euthanasia" at their national sheltering conference in March of 2006. According to the speaker,

"We're not; we're not killing them... in that "kill" is such a negative connotation. It's... we're not killing them. We are taking their life, we are ending their life, we are giving them a good death, we're humanely destr- whatever. But we're not killing. And that is why I cannot stand the term "No Kill" shelters."

Animal shelter professionals from coast-to-coast applauded in agreement, but more disturbing is the nation's "euthanasia" expert professing an Orwellian logic: killing is not killing, killing is kindness. And when you deny all responsibility, the impetus to change your own behavior disappears."

Nathan Winograd will be in Toronto on April 14th. Do not miss this opportunity to be truly inspired. Learn how to build a no kill community, put lives first and help save our shelter animals. Register for the one day only event now by calling 416-726-8895 or by visiting ORA at

Monday, March 26, 2012

ORA in the News: Clarifying Our Position

Claudia Vecchio, 3/26/12
Founder of ORA

It is disconcerting and reprehensible that certain members of the mainstream media are more concerned with sensationalism and divulging their personal opinions than with ensuring the veracity of their message and objectively informing the public.

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, I received a call from an ORA member informing me that Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun had published an article about ORA. At first, I was pleased, thinking that the article publicized our upcoming Nathan Winograd event. “No,” corrected the caller, “the article is about ORA and the Toronto Humane Society.” Reading the article, I became very upset. How could Peter Worthington have the audacity to attribute to ORA statements we have never made? I immediately called Peter Worthington to ask for an explanation. In the article, Peter Worthington writes that ORA considers the THS a kill shelter. Worthington, while recognizing that we never made such a statement and that in fact we never mentioned the THS at all, alleged that according to the no kill principle we advocate, the THS is a kill shelter because they put down more than 10% of the animals they receive. This is quite a stretch and I will not hesitate to call it for what it is: pure and simple journalistic dishonesty.

I found out later on that Worthington was previously a board member of the former Toronto Humane Society and that he has a grudge toward the new administration. The article about The Nathan Winograd event was used for a personal attack against the THS fraudulently representing ORA as the source of the attack.

ORA would never have made any representation about the THS. We know that they are in the process of establishing a spay and neuter facility that will open in the summer of 2012, which is obviously a laudable initiative. We were pleased to see the executives and board members attend ORA’s Bill Bruce event on September 30, 2011. The fact that they are registered to attend ORA’s Nathan Winograd lecture and workshop coming up on April 14, 2012, clearly indicates their willingness to keep up-to-date on progressive programs for shelter animals.

Our grievance with some representatives of the media was exacerbated the following day. In the early afternoon of Friday, March 23, we received a phone call from a CFRB radio producer asking if we were available for an interview in approximately 20 minutes. I was working on an offer for one my listings (real estate is my full time occupation of 24 years), so I did not have a radio close by to check which CFRB program was being aired at that time. When they called us back just before the interview’s scheduled time, they told us that the discussion would be about the Peter Worthington article and our position on the THS. I explained the issues and misrepresentations in the article and at that point, they told us that the radio interview was no longer needed. Obviously they were in search of sensationalism, not the truth. They only wanted to hear from us when they thought we were the origin of the attack against the THS. I thought this was unacceptable and called in to the radio station to make our statement on the air, but I was told that they could not fit me in because they were wrapping up the segment. After requesting and listening to a recording of the segment, I realized that the show’s host, Jim Richards, although he was challenging the THS caller on the no kill compliance, failed to mention the Nathan Winograd event that was the starting point for Peter Worthington’s article.

So much for informing the public and researching the truth! The Nathan Winograd event that should have been the focus of the media attention instead became a pretext for publicizing personal disputes.

In reality the Nathan Winograd event represents an amazing opportunity for all of the stakeholders: shelters and pounds directors and staff, rescues, animal advocates, politicians and the animal caring community, to learn and work together towards implementing life saving programs for shelter animals.

For more information, please visit ORA's Upcoming Events.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Paddy's Day update at ORA:
working hard till we see the aurora!
Caring for felines,
small creatures and canines,
No rest for dedicated signoras!

Cheers, ORA Volunteers!

Less than one month away to Nathan Winograd in Toronto, so act fast and get your tickets ASAP before they're all gone: 416-726-5762 / 416-726-8895.

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals