One of my most vivid memories from childhood is my mother's constant reminders of Thumper's rule (from the Bambi movie). Thumper was the little rabbit that said "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all." When my mother sensed I was about to say something bad she would give me a stern look and warn me saying "Thumper, Thumper.." as a reminder that I should hold my tongue and be silent.
It took many years to shake that off and I still believe it's good advice when an aunt gives you an ugly sweater for Christmas; or you are eating a not-so-tasty dinner at the neighbors. But I don't think that it applies to our work as animal advocates. We would still be wallowing in the mire of the status quo if it hadn't been for the courage of those who have led the No Kill movement. Those few who bravely spoke out about atrocities and mis-management at animal shelters when nobody else was doing it.
Thanks to their efforts, shelter deaths have been reduced from about about 17 million in the 1970's to where it stands today, estimated to be somewhere between 3 and 4 million. That being said, I personally draw the line at character assassination. Not my style, and I'm not sure it is helpful.
Nowadays, I've come to believe that a better rule to live by is one that my friend's husband suggests. He says: "Don't point out a problem, unless you can also offer a solution." And solutions are everywhere! There are now 27 No Kill communities in the United States that are serving as a blueprint to stop the killing. There are more seminars, webinars, articles, and conferences, than ever before; and with a click of a button, we can share the information where it is needed.
When more people speak out, more progress is made. We can reduce the number of shelter deaths to zero. Please, get involved, speak up when you see something wrong, and offer the solutions that can help end the needless killing of shelter animals.
Sorry Mom, I've broken Thumper's rule a few times!
To solve any problem, here are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, who could I ask? - Jim Rohn