The Ethics of Animal Shelters
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Ethical dilemmas and decision-making are a persistent feature of the everyday operations of animal shelters and animal protection organizations. These organizations frequently face difficult decisions about how to treat the animals in their care, decisions that are made all the more difficult by limited funding, material resources, and human labor. Moreover, animal protection organizations must also determine how to act within and toward the wider social and institutional environment in which non-human animals are routinely exploited. The first section of The Ethics of Animal Shelters contains practical recommendations developed by ethicists in response to the ethical challenges identified by employees of the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These challenges arise across the organization's activities, including its internal structure; shelter operations; public campaigns and advocacy work; dealing with the public, animal agriculture and governmental agencies; and their work with feral animals. The second section offers philosophical analyses of the ethical challenges unique to animal shelters. Issues explored include the killing of shelter animals; shelter animals' diets; medical decision-making procedures; adoption policies; and the role shelters might play in transforming social attitudes and norms.