The Humane Society of the United States has planned and trained for this sort of catastrophe for years, ... We issued warnings asking people to evacuate with their pets since we've seen what happens when animals are left behind. The tragedy is that so many people apparently could not leave in time. The human and animal toll is expected to be enormous.
We were on the ground Tuesday, the day after the hurricane hit, but we were excluded from going in by state and federal authorities for the first several days. We've received 2,000 e-mails and phone calls from people who evacuated from New Orleans, who left animals in their homes and are pleading with us to rescue them. That's just in New Orleans. It doesn't count surrounding areas.
In our day, there are stresses and fractures of the human-animal bond, and some forces at work would sever it once and for all. They pull us in the wrong direction and away from the decent and honorable code that makes us care for creatures who are entirely at our mercy. Especially within the last two hundred years, we've come to apply an industrial mind-set to the use of animals, too often viewing them as if they were nothing but articles of commerce and the raw material of science, agriculture, and wildlife management. Here, as in other pursuits, human ingenuity has a way of outrunning human conscience, and some things we do only because we can--forgetting to ask whether we should.