A small percent of animal rights proponents attempted very hard to push through MSN in Chicago. Given this data, I am more glad today than ever that they failed. Their primary arguments –
* Mandatory spay/neuter is working (which those of us who did our homework knew was NOT true. But in some communities it was then too early to tell, now we have more definitive data on MSN in California.
By the way, in the few other places MSN has been attempted, it’s also failed. One example, Durango, CO.
* Proponents maintained, mandated spay/neuter would help solve a wide range of problems, from giving police another tool to lessen dogfighting (huh? Like gang members who don’t think twice before shooting people are going to neuter their dogs?); to helping to deal with too many animals in shelters. Well, certainly spay/neuter would help some, but what makes public officials believe that because they pass a law that at this point people who are not spay/neutering animals will?
Sociologists tell me you can’t mandate cultural change. As for cats, organizations such as Alley Cat Allies point out it will hurt their effort for trap, neuter, return and not benefit cats – as if such a law could be enforced concerning cats anyway. Proponents also insisted dog attacks won’t occur as frequently. Nope, according to science, neutering or not is not related to aggression in dogs to people.
A small minority in the Chicago animal world, and the deep pockets of the Humane Society of the United States, were the sole proponents, trying twice to push MSN through City Council.
I testified on both occasions. The first time, the event at City Hall was a circus and press event. Proponents flew loud-mouthed Californians in support (we now know misrepresenting what was really going on in California) and octogenarian activist Bob Barker. The price apparently wasn’t right – Clearly Chicagoans didn’t want the mandate, their effort failed.
Trying a second time several months later (now in 2009) the proponents’ strategy was quieter…If only the public knew proponents paid big $$$$$ for political lobbyists to push for Aldermanic support of MSN. I organized a coalition of Chicago animal shelters and the Illinois and Chicago Veterinary Medical Associations; we wrote this piece, (a more concise version appeared in the Chicago Tribune), standing up against the proposed mandate. MSN was again defeated in Chicago, despite all odds and major dollars spent (could those dollars have been spent to directly help animals, rather than on political lobbyists?).
Most observers believe as a part of their agenda, proponents with these Gucci-lined pockets will attempt, yet again, to pass MSN in Chicago. The fact that evidence is mounting that MSN does not and will not work will not matter. It’s a strange sort of determination to succeed – no matter what the community says. Interestingly, even the HSUS has backed off supporting future MSN legislation in California (at least for now). It’s unclear how the HSUS feels about Chicago (although why MSN could or would work in Chicago though it does not work anywhere is unclear to me).
So, if not MSN – and if I’m so smart – what do I propose? I actually do have some ideas – and they can be read here.