Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Orleans Pets 1, Humans 0

Watch this CNN clip and tell me this isn't a colossal waste of resources.

And here's the story to go with it.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The first major airlift of dogs from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast left Louisiana on Sunday, carrying about 80 pets to new temporary homes in California.

The Continental Airlines flight from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was chartered for about $50,000 by Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, in a movement dubbed "Operation Pet Lift."

Some dogs were placed in cages in the cargo section while others rode in the passenger cabin, where they barked and wagged their tails.

"They'd been in cages far too long. We felt like they needed to be free so they sat on our laps, and we played with them the whole way," said Christine Penrod, Madeleine Pickens' sister, who accompanied the animals on the flight.

About half the dogs were headed for San Diego, with the rest bound for San Francisco. Sunday's move was organized by PetRelocation.com, based in Austin, Texas.

"The goal was to help rescue 200 dogs," Pickens' spokesman Jay Rosser said. "They're overjoyed that they were able to rescue 80, but clearly disappointed and dismayed at the bureaucracy, which prevented them from taking the full 200."

First thing first, thank God this wasn't paid for by FEMA or any other government agency for that matter. A private donation is slightly easier to stomach, but not by much. $50K to charter the flight for 80 some animals; that's about $625 of fuel, airline space, and valuable time for animals.

Now I don't want to see stupid comments about how I hate animals. I have a dog; I love my dog, but as Dennis Prager always says if both my dog's life and a strangers were both in danger and I could only rescue one, I'd rescue the stranger (although if it were a swimming situation I'd rescue both because I'm a damn good swimmer).

My question with this is where's PETA? You'd think they'd be all over this sort of thing. Well a quick check of they're website has this gem about their fundraiser to raise funds for media awareness:

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, items from Pamela Anderson, John McEnroe, Stella McCartney, and others were sold in a silent auction to benefit PETA's Animal Emergency Fund, which supports PETA's aggressive work with local media outlets to advise residents not to abandon their animals during natural disasters and to provide them with vital information to keep their companion animals safe during storms. Among the items auctioned off for the Fund were a walk-on part on Anderson's TV show, Stacked, autographed tennis rackets from McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, and cruelty-free items from McCartney's fashion collection.

...and an open letter to Dubya to "Urge President Bush to Ensure That Animals Are Included in Future Disaster Response Plans:"

President Bush,

Thousands of animals perished after Katrina because animal protection agents were made to sit idle, awaiting permission from authorities to enter flooded areas. Although FEMA guidelines on animal handling had been carefully crafted in cooperation with PETA and other animal organizations, our government threw them out the window, going so far as to order citizens to abandon their animals under threat of arrest and even violence.

We must learn from this failure and work to ensure that such horrors never recur. In these United States, we can do better for our citizens and their animals.

Please make it a priority of your investigation into this situation to ensure that animal protection and rescue are part of the plan in future disasters.


[Some wacko who thinks BBQ chicken is the latest Holocaust]

"Our government threw them out the window."

I actually laughed out loud at that line. I'm picturing Police, Fire Fighters, and Coast Gaurds running through the house looking for that little old lady who has 20 cats throwing them out the windows one by one. (I don't know why this video comes to mind...)

Oh the horror! Oh the humaity... no the animality!!

But back to the main point, the people deserve the money here. Unfortunately we have to prioritize and put the animals way down the list. Life's not fiar. That's just the way it is.