Sunday, April 29, 2007

How Humane is Houston?

The Humane Society of the United States just released the "humane index" which is an attempt to determine the overall humaneness of America's largest metro areas (Houston is the fourth largest city in the US in case you weren't aware). The results? Houston ranks a disappointing 22 out of 25 :-( Of course, at least we beat the Big-D who came it right behind us at 23. No big surprise, San Francisco ranked number 1 followed by Seattle. So how is this ranking determined? Twelve categories were used to determine the ranking, and in some cases was normalized based on the population of the city to ensure a fair comparison. I include a brief description of each category in parentheses as defined by HSUS. Here is a breakdown of the categories and how Houston ranked.....
1. Bird "Shooters" (ratio of wildlife watchers to hunters) - #24 Ouch, yeah that sounds about right though. I used to sit across from a guy who had pictures of himself and a dead turkey and dead deer that he shot on his desk. Have you ever been in to Gander Mountain....it's disgusting.
2. News Hounds (animals issues in the media) - #12
3. Fur Shame (fur retailers per capita) - #2 Yay for us!! But wait, isn't it a little hot in Houston for fur? Still, something to be proud of
4. Egg-Citing Policies (cage-free egg policies) - #20 The brunch crowd around here loves their frittatas.
5. Captive Entertainers (number of captive marine mammals and elephants on display) - #8 So we do alright here, but why focus solely on elephants and marine mammals? Not sure....
6. Citizen Advocates (local engagement with HSUS) - #25 You don't have to "engage" HSUS to be an animal advocate.....personally I think local grassroots organizations are where it's at. Not a fair measure.
7. Puppies in Windows (% of pet stores selling puppies) - #24 No excuses here. If you want a dog, adopt. Always spay and neuter.
8. Wildlife Whisperers (number of wildlife rehabilitators) - #3
9. Big Top Cruelty (number of circus shows per capita) - #13 The circus is headed to Houston this summer....don't go!
10. Humane Eats (veggie restaurants per capita) - #12 With the number of restaurants in Houston alone, a vegan could never go hungry. But we must support those places and be sure to let your restaurants know that you would frequent them more if they offered vegan options
11. Congressional Compassion (animal protection legislation) - #24 Get out there and vote!!
12. Seal Protectors (number of restaurants boycotting Canadian seafood) - #23 Red Lobster sucks

I am not sure how accurate this ranking system is, or really even what the purpose is. Including a category on what percentage of businesses and grocery stores use cage-free eggs is simply a reflection of where a large percentage of HSUS's money has been spent. I believe this money would be better used promoting veganism.....period. Cage-free eggs are just a status symbol, these chickens still have their beaks seared off, undergo force molting, rarely (if ever) see the sun, and are still sent to the slaughterhouse. And as I mentioned, measuring activism by how many people are involved with HSUS is severely limited, there are so many other organizations on the national and local level. As far as I'm concerned, you can have a greater impact by going vegan and influencing your friends and family to move towards veganism than writing a check to the HSUS. So Houston...... I don't think we're doing that bad.

1 comment:

Veg-a-Nut said...

That is a very eye opening site. I live in the San Diego area and we did not do well in some areas.