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January 2002

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Richmond SPCA

Robins-Starr
Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220
804-521-1300

Adoption Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
 
Lora Robins Gift Shop Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Donation Drop Off Hours
Mon. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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CEO MESSAGE

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

Recent letters to the Times-Dispatch have provided ample evidence of the remarkable capacity of humans to rationalize their cruel treatment of other species. Those letters have fallen back on the well worn bromides that animals are personal property, that they do not possess the rights of humans and that they do not merit the charitable support accorded humans. While one may agree or disagree with these premises, they are absolutely irrelevant to the issue of our humane treatment of our companion animals.

For example, a letter opposing the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act now before Congress attempted to make the case that horses, as personal property without human rights, should not be protected from inhumane slaughter because slow starvation is a worse alternative. Well, perhaps. However, slow starvation of a horse constitutes criminal animal cruelty in every state in the union. So, the comparison is a specious one. This writer used the euphemism “processing plants” throughout her letter neatly avoiding the accurate term “slaughtering plants” because that term might inspire a little sympathy for the poor horses from the reader.

Animals are property under state law. However, because they are sentient beings, not inanimate objects, laws have long existed prohibiting cruelty to them. As time passes and as we become a more compassionate society, those laws will and should expand to keep pace with society so as to ensure that animals are not subjected to suffering at the hands of those people, whether those people own them or not. Horses sent to slaughtering plants in Mexico or Canada are subjected to horrific cruelty that cannot be rationalized through the facile reference to ownership rights.

Another letter recently criticized the wonderful and generous attendees of our Fur Ball this year for having failed to give “as much (or more)” money to a specific local social service charity which is apparently the letter writer’s charity of choice. This writer made clear her view that animal suffering is not as important as human suffering. People who are challenged in making their case to the community for support of the organization and mission in which they believe regularly slide into the suggestion that this is a zero sum game - that the community’s support of one cause will result in a diminution in its support of another valid cause. The well documented reality is that, as people discover the deep rewards of charitable giving, they become more generous in general.

The real issue here is that there is no cause that is somehow more meritorious or “righter” than another one. Some people care passionately about the suffering of innocent animals who are powerless to prevent the cruelties visited on them. I am one of those people as you may be as well. Others are deeply concerned for the well being of people who are less fortunate than others. All of these forms of altruism are laudable. The only people validly subject to criticism are those who have the means but fail to give anything at all.

We share this world and our lives with animals who give us much and bear us no ill will. Preventing their dreadful suffering is not a matter of property rights or human rights or relative intrinsic values. It is a matter of our decency and our compassion.

Sincerely,

Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer
Richmond SPCA

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