As farmers continue to look for ways of cutting costs during the drought, “man’s best friend” has become the latest victim, and rescue groups are desperately trying to cope with a wave of abandoned working dogs.
As their name suggests, working dogs are forced to earn their keep and are usually trained to control other animals such as sheep or cattle.
As drought-affected farmers “destock” – a euphemism for killing livestock or letting them starve – there is less work for these dogs to do.
Whenever animals are used for profit, people sacrifice their welfare in exchange for money. No animals – not even dogs – are immune to this.
Most working dogs are not treated as “part of the family”, the way other companion animals are, and once they’re no longer considered useful, they become just another hungry mouth to feed.
Rescue group herd2home cofounder Perri Chappell told the ABC: “Something I’ve noticed this year is that we are getting requests to surrender to us working dogs that can actually work, whereas usually people would normally only be dumping those that have issues or can’t work.”
Another rescue group, Australian Working Dog Rescue, said that since January, it had rehomed more than 300 dogs from New South Wales alone, while even more were transferred within the state.
Shelters and rescue groups around Australia are already overflowing with abandoned animals. Those who are not adopted – at least 200,000 healthy cats and dogs each year – are euthanised simply because there aren’t enough good homes for them.
It’s time we recognised that animal agriculture is no longer a viable industry – ethically, environmentally, or economically.
Farmers with an eye on the future are turning to plants, which can be raised with far less land and water as well as far fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and without involving mass suffering in the process.How to Help Animals During the Drought