If you haven’t noticed, major cities across the nation have fallen in love with animal adoption and pet rescues. All sorts of issues plagued animal rescue services in the past, but this is rapidly changing. Animal euthanasia rates are down significantly. Likewise, social activism and cultural trends have helped fuel a higher percentage of pet rescues. And with these changes, the pet industry is thriving, especially in a booming economy.
In considering these recent shifts in animal adoption, it’s worthwhile exploring what has accounted for these changes. Without major legislation or regulations, these social advances have occurred spontaneously for a host of reasons. Thus, approaches taken by animal rescue services and related organizations could offer insights about resolutions for other social issues. Regardless, these trends are certainly welcomed for not only pets but communities at large.
Animal Adoption by the Numbers
In looking at statistics, it wasn’t that long ago that high euthanasia rates plagued animal shelters. In 1970, roughly 12.5 million pets were euthanized annually and a quarter of all dogs were loose on the street. Today, about 1.5 million pets are euthanized with numbers continuing to fall. In fact, this rate has further declined 75 percent in the last 10 years alone.
While euthanasia rates are lower, animal adoption is on the rise. Notably, a third of all dogs and cats now come from pet shelters. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of all households have at least one dog and a quarter have at least one cat. Of these households, between 15 and 20 percent have added a new pet in the last year. Naturally, higher animal adoption rates lower euthanasia for animals, which has further improved the situation.
All animals deserve as much respect as humans.
Advancing Professionalism and Activism at Animal Rescue Services
Even before animal adoption rates were on the rise, animal rescue services were making changes to improve the situation. A major change has involved programs to promote spay and neutering of pets. This reduces the number of strays on the streets that may contribute to pet over-population. Likewise, animal rescue services have advanced ways to assist pet owners with veterinarian bills and landlord issue. In doing so, there is a reduction in the number of animals returning to pet shelters.
In addition, animal adoption and protection activism have made a tremendous impact on the positive changes seen. The “no-kill” movement has grown significantly among animal adoption activists. In fact, they encourage a live-release percentage of 90 percent among animal rescue services and pet shelters. The challenge is balancing this figure against a rising number of sheltered animals. But many shelters have been able to achieve this rate while greatly improving past animal conditions.
Millennials Leading the Way of Cultural Shifts
Millennials now represent the largest segment of pet owners and animal adopters. Of all pet owners, they represent 35 percent with Baby Boomers a close second at 32 percent. As a result, many of Millennial ideals are influencing the perception of animal adoption. For one, 90 percent of owners consider their pet a member of the family. Likewise, there is a perception of animal adoption a way to be respectful to life and its diversity. This is playing a major role in shifting cultural norms in a positive direction.
No matter how you look at it, these new social trends appear to be quite favorable. The combination of enhanced professionalism, activism, and social responsibility have culminated in a better environment for pets. Likewise, the rise in pet owners and animal adoptions are driving other pet services and businesses. While overcrowding, public safety, and public health continue to be issues for animal rescue services, they are much more improved today.