Warning: This story may disturb some readers.
The story of Adam, a kitten, being set on fire and nearly burned to death by two teenage girls has been making headlines all over the nation. This tiny kitten was saved when a boy and his friend heard the girls laughing and saw the cat.
Adam is now at an animal hospital in California where he has undergone two operations and will need several more. He is being watched over constantly, and it will most likely take several months for Adam’s exposed areas of his body to be covered.
The surgeries and care alone for Adam will total from $20,000 to $30,000. Money is being raised by Forgotten Felines, and the veterinary surgeon, Lisa Alexander, has been operating pro bono.
Many people in the local neighborhood are angered over the attention and donations that Adam has been getting. They say that there was less attention and outrage over when a 16-year-old boy was killed in the community last year. Some question the decision to keep the cat alive at considerable expense instead of putting it out of its misery. They think the money could be better spent elsewhere.
“The mentality here is: They can put up a reward for a burned cat, but they can’t put up a reward for a kid who got killed,” said Shawna Shaffer, the apartment manager who called for help after the kitten was brought to her office.
Others voice that this fight to save a cat shows compassion and brings a community together. They say that children need to see this example of kindness and selflessness, so they too can have these qualities.
Reader comments regarding Adam’s story and the money spent on his care and operations from a Chicago Tribune blog:
Unfortunately, attacks on animals are usually the start of violent behavior for some individuals. These two girls need psychiatric treatment before they move onto hurting a person.
The article does say that the veterinarian is donating her services, so perhaps the bill won’t reach that $30,000 price. I feel that people are free to donate their money to whatever suits them. If they want to save a cat, that’s their choice.
It would be easy to make the assumption that perhaps those funds would best be spent on humane education, making that poor kitten’s life speak in an honorable and effective manner. However, the only sort of education program that is consistently effective in teaching young people is through core values mandated in the home and reinforced through social/ cultural expectations.
That said, if the community can rally around this creature and create that social norm so obviously lacking in the perpetrators (whomever that may be), then the money spent is worth every penny.
Animal abuse is reprehensible and a logical gateway activity- with the potential to escalate to the subjugation of humans. Perhaps it is not too far fetched to focus on stopping the violence where it may begin, before it impacts humanity directly?
As humans, we have an obligation to take care of our own as well as those creatures whose lives we impact negatively. How we choose to do this is at our own discretion. In a perfect world, a balance should be achieved because there will always be extremes on either side of a given cause.
This story breaks my heart, but it is unfathomable to me why so much money is being spent to keep this poor creature alive. That poor kitten has already gone through enough pain and suffering, plus, the money used to fund these operations could certainly be used a little more wisely. It reminds me a little of the outpouring of sympathy and dollars for animals trapped in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when millions of people were stranded and homeless. I guess it just makes better news?
Is not fair for people to judge the motivations/legitimacy of those who are giving money toward a fund to take care of the cat. If those folks feel a reward fund should be established for the capture of the person who killed this boy, nobody is stopping them from doing this themselves.
I hear constantly how money spent towards preventing cruelty/neglect of animals would be better spent on some other, non-animal related causes and I am completely sick of this line of reasoning. The fact is, animal protection causes are as worthy to receive charitable donations as any other, and are in fact, shockingly under-supported when compared with other types of organizations. People who feel that other worthwhile causes are are more deserving of support should look at the NonProfit Times annual list of biggest charities. Historically, there are only one or two animal related organizations in the top 100 list, and those are usually in the bottom 10%.
Furthermore, a society which protects animals and treats them humanely is one in which humans are much more likely to be protected and treated humanely. Thus, a common goal (the alleviation of suffering, protection of the weak and voiceless) is shared between animal protection groups and many other, non-animal organizations and causes.
It’s sad that kids would find entertainment in torturing a kitten like that. But a $30,000 vet bill is way, way over & above what a cat’s life is worth. Euthanize the poor kitten & donate the money to Habitat for Humanity or some other worthwhile cause, for pete’s sake! Even donate it to the Humane Society, but don’t spend that much on a single cat!
For any situation where a wrongful act or an injury occurs, there are complex societal, cultural, and moral norms at play. How much attention a teen’s slaying gets over setting a kitten ablaze has no bearing on the value of life.
The slaying of a teenager is heartbreaking and tragic. The torture of a defenseless kitten is heartbreaking and tragic too. Though there is a correlation with respect to escalation from abusive behavior towards non-human victims growing into abuse towards human victims, these are entirely separate tragic incidents and should remain so in terms of scope.
Why the high level of public outcry over the torture of a kitten in comparison to the slaying of the teenager (or over genocide in Africa, for that matter)? The public at large is far more desensitized where human-to-human violence and injury is concerned; sadly, it has become an almost constant element in the news. It is so prevalent, society feels overwhelmed and somewhat helpless.
Why do people respond to the kitten tragedy? They feel they “can” do something.
The important thing is for people not to stop trying to DO something. Go ahead, send $ for the kitten. But maybe folks can also become more socially involved in their community, in programs for schools and parks; do something to combat human rights abuses at home and the world over.
That being said, the question of how much a life is worth, human or kitten, has no one, true answer and must necessarily go unanswered.
Other Source: San Francisco Chronicle