There is quite a controversial issue circulating in facebooking animal welfare arenas as of late.
I really find it disturbing that this trend is harming animal welfare and is splitting a hardy rift down the middle.
I have had many conversations with people regarding this as I see this situation as a threat to animal welfare as a whole and most importantly as a threat to the animals, the voiceless, and the ones that we as activists, welfare workers, networkers, etc. should be protecting. By protecting I mean thinking very carefully about how we approach problematic areas, and putting the animals first at all times, even if it means being “decent” to someone who may have fallen off the wagon completely or someone who may be merely heading in the wrong direction.
Having the animals welfare at heart means that ego shouldn’t even be a factor.
This is a conversation I had just this morning about this very issue. I am not posting it as a conversation but I think it is vital that people think seriously about which direction they are going and who they are harming along the way.
How can we encourage the good; filter out issues and not be attacked in the process for trying to make a difference?
If you have an issue you need to consider here is a way of looking at it. It’s rather funny but it carries an important message:
Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.
In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied, "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
'Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.
"That's right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "Actually I just heard about it."
"All right," said Socrates, "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?"
The man was bewildered and ashamed. This is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
It also explains why Socrates never found out that Diogenes was shagging his wife
As a dedicated feral feeder and animal networker I feel I should add “Does it harm the animals involved?”.
- · When dealing with a problem area you have with an organisation / welfare / charity / volunteer it is not only classy but it shows tact to rather in box or email the manager or person in charge with your “issue”.
- · Once you have done this you should show the person enough respect to have patience and wait for them to give a dignified answer.
- · If you don’t get the answer you want, look deeper into your question, maybe rephrase it or ask a different question so that you can understand the matter at hand fully.
- · Don’t start ranting on public forums because it is not only a bad reflection on YOU but also your sudden need to moan has a ripple effect and harms the animals at the organisation you are questioning. Sponsors pull out and the animals at the said organisation are left in a predicament.
These are things that I shouldn’t have to explain because they should have been one of the fundamentals your parents taught you as a child. In fact I remember being taught these things at PRIMARY school too.
As it reads in the story above I have seen vicious stories circulating that aren’t purely factual. You honestly cannot post a story on a public forum that isn’t true, or doesn’t have all the facts.
Your half truths are acting as a journalistic piece, and unfortunately there are people who believe everything that they read.
I have said it so many times, and here I go again: “THIS IS AN UTTER DISSERVICE TO THE ANIMALS”
If you decide to support an organisation, by all means, check on things but have the initiative to use your own brain and when I say use your brain, I mean think about the ANIMALS first, and think before you leap. Think about how you want your actions to affect them. Try using the above childhood lessons to steer you from causing trouble.
Before you post an idea on a public forum think about how that idea affects the ANIMALS.
I read another post on a public forum that was steering people against sharing plea’s from friend’s public forums. This is so poorly thought out. Some organisations rely on volunteer support to get their plea; whether it be to home an animal or to generate donations, “out there”. These organisations only have these “friends’ public forums” to get the word out on social media.
Social media as we all know has brought a much needed boost to those finding homes for abandoned and unwanted animals. The numbers of animals needing homes is so incredibly high, that they need every ounce of help we can muster to give them the homes they deserve.
REMEMBER: You still go back to your cushy bed at night they don't have the luxury!
Its far better to be a classy do'er than a bitchfest warrior.
To end off, here is a thought for you.
When we had our Saturday feral meeting and walk around we found that a HOMELESS person is possibly feeding ferals in another area of the shopping centre.
Lisa just said to me thank God there are more people like us.
When I shared this story today a friend replied saying “If only all the fighting energy could be put into saving the animals, because they are the only thing that matters...”
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
It breaks my heart that so few people are willing to donate. Time, food, blankets...
Time of course being the most precious.
I appealed to my far away friends and family in SA and overseas to pay it forward this week, and now I appeal to all of you reading this.
I told them all about the homeless person and said that if a homeless person can step up and have a heart to feed homeless animals the working class can take out one day a month even to make a difference in an arena where they are inspired or feel needs change.
I keep on thinking about the picture I found that said I always thought that "somebody" should do something about that. Then I realised that I was "somebody".
The problem with the viciousness of the bitchfest going on is that possible volunteers think "Do I really want to be a part of that?" As soon as they see the fighting and the warfare it turns them away just as it does sponsors.
It’s incredibly sad, especially for those of us who have our hearts set on education and change.
Last night on TV there was a Rhino insert with Johnny Clegg about a music CD in support of rhinos. They said if every sector / person in SA put an effort in no matter how big or small they believed that we as South Africans could make a difference with the poaching situation. Johnny Clegg said purely because we are South Africans this is our problem and we should unite and take action.
Gosh if every person took positive action the world would be a better place!
Here’s another little bit of mental imagery for you.
Imagine two groups of people on either side of a see saw.
Imagine that one person on the one side gets off.
Everyone on the see saw will come tumbling down.
This is what the result of all the fighting is going to be if we don’t all play nice!
We need to work together to keep the balance in animal welfare.
Balance is a fundamental key!
Unfortunately if you don't see that and at least try to obtain it in your own life (as I know you do) you won't be able to be a worthwhile cog in the one of the most heart wrenching welfare arena's in the world.
Focusing too much on the negative gets those see saw scales to tip yet again. It’s fine and fair to ask questions like the vicious group are saying; it’s the manner in which they are doing it that is doing so much more harm than good. They are taking great ideas and basically ruining them. There is no balance or even tact there I'm afraid.
If a person wants to be part of something they can't walk around with blinkers on and nonchalantly brush off a sector of people who have the insight to see past the merry go round and can illicit change! Because there is so much arguing in aw, those who would normally be making the big changes and thinking of new and innovative ideas to change aw for the better are instead fighting off battles with a tactless bunch of individuals.
I think I could go on all day about how this nonsense is negatively affecting the animals.
I just hope that I can be a voice that initiates change. Good change, change that is manifested in a classy manner. Change for the history books.
I hope that this piece even though it is long will make you think about how you do things. I hope that it makes you think about the lives your 15 minutes of fame affects.