Animals can be our best friends.
Or they can suffer from our ignorance.
It is all too often assumed that a love of animals is a characteristic certain individuals are born with and others without. However, our love and respect for animals is often socially constructed based on the community members views of domestic animals as a nuisance and dispensable. Animals in the community then become a nuisance and are treated as such. When we view livestock only as a meat supply and profitable industry they are treated according to these views. What these limited views result in is an increase in unwanted and abandoned domestic animals and mistreated livestock as well as an uninformed community. In order to create a better living environment for animals of all kinds we need to view them as living creatures deserving of our respect. It is important to appreciate all animals not just those that serve a purpose of humans such as a source of food, entertainment, or service animals (such as search and rescue dogs and other service animals such as seeing eye dogs and police K-9's).
In the Billings area alone there are over 17 dog laws. These dog laws remove the freedom of choice of both pet and livestock owners to make ethical decisions regarding the care of their animals. By removing laws and placing the responsibility of the animals welfare back into the hands of the owner, animals would be looked at more as family members (domestic pets) and as valuable contributions to our society that warrant our respect (livestock)instead of the nuisance that they have become in the eyes of far too many community members. For more on the Juridic Burdens placed upon our society by the numerous dog laws that are in effect today please see the Juridic Load entry under Leash Laws.
Our proposal to help increase the love of animals (mainly directed towards domestic pets) in the Billings community is to hold an annual pet adoption parade comprised of local unwanted, neglected, or abused animals from local no-kill animal rescue shelters and the Humane Society. There are a number of local agencies such as the Rimrock Humane Society, BARK, Help Every Pet, and
Last Chance Cat Sanctuary, to name just a few, that on any given day have a number of loving pets looking for a loving home. In addition to these agencies we would also find local veterinarians willing to donate their services in order to vaccinate and spay/neuter the adopted animals should the adopted parents choose to do so. We would hold the parade each May when people are ready to spend more time out in the fresh air. We would like to hold the parade in downtown Billings followed by a pay-by-donation BBQ in the Courthouse courtyard, visible to passing traffic in an effort to gain as much attention as possible from those community members who missed the parade. The BBQ would consist of vegetarian cuisine as well as meat donated by local organic farmers, preferably farmers whom are members of the local co-op. Any donations raised by the BBQ and pet adoptions will be put into a fund to build a no-leash dog park where pets and their owners can play freely without the burden of the leash laws or the constraints of the leash itself. Currently, the closest no-leash dog park is in Bozeman where they have two such parks. Missoula is the only other city in the entire state that has a no-leash dog park. In order to protect the animals that would be adopted out form being placed in an abusive or neglectful home we would enlist the use of [[http://www.petabuse.com]] which would identify any convicted animal abusers simply by retaining an identification card and entering the name into the data base. At the BBQ we would also premiere our new meat labels that would inform the consumer of meat and other animal by products of the living conditions of the animals prior to being slaughtered in an attempt to persuade the community to contribute to local farming industries that have favorable conditions as opposed to large farming/ranching monopolies that are more concerned with profits than with animal welfare.
Vaccination Costs = $500
BBQ supplies =$500
Spay/Neuter Costs =$2500
Parade Permits =$150
Through our pet parade we hope to increase compassion and love for animals within the Billings community. We hope to instill a sense of accomplishment in the community by showing that if we act in a cooperative fashion we can achieve our goal. We also hope to instill a sense of respect for animals within the community that reaches beyond the respect we show to our own pets and those that serve a purpose in the community as either service animals, animals used for entertainment and the enjoyment of humans. It is our belief that if we as a community began to treat animals as we would fellow human beings we would see a large decrease in the amount of animals that are abandoned, neglected, and/or abused. We as humans need to remember that we are not the only ones on this earth and without animals acting as both companions and as a source of life sustaining nurishment the world would be a pretty sad place.