Adopting shelter or rescue animals helps the environment because there is a large number for “feral” cats and dogs in areas. Feral animals are born from domesticated cats and dogs that have been abandoned. The offspring of these animals then grow up wild without any human contact. Feral animals cause problems in ecosystems by hunting prey that normal wildlife needs to survive. Some studies have shown that many wild bird populations have been decreased by feral cats.
Getting rescue animals helps keep animals off the street and from reproducing to make more feral animals. It also helps decrease the surplus number of cats and dogs in the world because you aren’t purchasing an animal from a breeder, which encourages them to breed more animals. Since most shelters will spay or neuter animals in their care, adopting shelter pets ensures that shelters have the space and resources to trap and spay more pets that are homeless. This also helps decrease the number of pets that are euthanized due to the lack of room at shelters.
A common thread amongst most environmental movements is animal welfare. Groups such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Earth Protect, and the Humane Society all work with animals, both domestic and otherwise, to promote animal well-being. Many of these groups also support conservation and preservation efforts in terms of wild animals as well, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the National Wildlife Federation, and Project Wildlife.
The benefits of rescuing a pet are numerous, and in terms of the environment rescuing prevents euthanizing animals, a rather cruel outcome. Because most shelters also practice spaying and neutering on all their animals, rescuing also reduces overpopulation, curbing the amount of homeless and stray animals and therefore contributing to the decline of unnecessary euthanasia. Rescuing a pet rather than getting a purebred dog also discourages the practice of puppy mills, which tend to engage in animal abuse and are large-scale for-profit operations. So overall, rescuing a pet has great benefits in terms of promoting animal welfare and after all, animals and their prosperity are a central part of the environment!
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