Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekly Charity O' The Week #3 - Happy Spay Day!

Happy Spay Day!*

Spay Day USA is a Fake Holiday in the Fine Tradition of Fake Holidays, thought up by the nice folks at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as a day to promote the neutering of pets. Their cute tagline this year is : It's Not Just Rabbits that Breed Like Rabbits.

Neutering domestic animals is something I feel VERY strongly about, and 5 out of 6 of the animals in my care have been neutered. The lone exception is Toot, our little "Crack Baby", whose previous life trauma seems to have made spaying unnecessary.

First, A Linguistic Quibble:

We use the phrase "Spay Or Neuter" all the time, but it is redundant. "Neutering" is the rendering sterile of an animal by surgical means. The process for neutering a male animal is called "Castration" (or "gelding"). The process for neutering a female animal is called "Spaying".

So Bob Barker Should have been reminding us, for all those years, to have our animals "Spayed or Castrated", or just to have them all, regardless of gender, "Neutered".

The Danger of Smeat:

I went to the Spay Day Website, prepared to donate, then found out that my donation to Spay Day was really a donation to the HSUS. I have a serious problem with the type and amount of correspondence I get from the HSUS.

After I responded to their URGENT ACTION NOTICE to write the NFL about Michael Vick's Canine Atrocities back in July, and gave them my email address (so that they could send an email on my behalf), I have gotten an URGENT ACTION NOTICE in my e-mail inbox every time a restaurant anywhere wants to kill and cook a non-free-range chicken. (Like killing and cooking a happier chicken is Humane? It's tasty, but not Humane.)

As you may be aware, Charities are exempted from the Federal "No-Call" list, and while I don't know for sure, I am relatively certain when the federal "Can SPAM Act" was passed (yes, that is the name of a real law!), they got a similar exemption. So the junk correspondence that charities
send, is sort of not technically SPAM. So I am calling it Smeat. As I donate to more and more charities this year I will keep you posted with warnings of particularly Smeaty organizations as I encounter them.

Smeat cuts into a charitable organization's efficiency, big time, and it also just ticks me off. I found it interesting that the Spay Day website touts the HSUS "4 star rating" with Charity Navigator, with a link you can follow to see that a whopping 13.8% of its expenses (Over $11M!) go to fundraising. The average for their sector is only 10%. The American Red Cross, a much larger organization, has fundraising expenses of only 2.5% ($140M), and The League For Animal Welfare, a smaller organization, and Spay Day-related charity, has fundraising expenses of only 6.6%.($0.35M)

Obviously if you spend no money on fundraising, you are going to have no funds sooner or later. But 11 million dollars is going to hassling me about causes I don't particularly care about. I do care about the living conditions of livestock (I am placing a deposit on a Free Range Turkey this week), but I draw a distinction between torturing dogs for entertainment, and limiting the freedom of birds destined for extra-crispy breading and a side of cole slaw. The "Urgency" is just not the same on those two items. I don't wear fur, but I do wear leather, and don't see the difference.

If you are vegan, and want to donate to HSUS, then today, on Spay Day, is as good a day as any to do so. However my 52 dollars this week** is going to my Local Humane Society, the Franklin County(TN) Humane Society, where my money is needed more, and where they stick to rescuing animals that I don't eat. Or wear. If you started a Network For Good account back at Charity #1, and want to keep things simple for tax purposes, then I will recommend the League For Animal Welfare mentioned above. Just click on the "Network For Good" button over on the left, and you will be good to go.

*since it is a presidential election year, it is actually Super Spay Day.

**actually, I am only giving $50 to The Franklin County Humane Society, Because I have already given $54 to Charity #4. It all evens out.


Art said...

Props to Frank for supporting these causes. Unfortunately, human beings also breed like rabbits (seemingly). Fortunately, we render human males sterile through a much more gentle surgical process.

Frank Gibson said...

Yes, Art, usually. But after my sister was "diagnosed" with her 4th and 5th kid, simultaneously, some members of our family were threatening a not-so-gentle surgical process for her husband.

(Hi, Jeff! Love ya, Buddy!)

Frank Gibson said...

A reader suggested that the term "Gay and Lesbian" falls into the same weird pattern as "Spay and Neuter" One of the two terms is inclusive, but the other term singles out females. Why do girls always get their own words?