Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR): A Humane Solution to Feral Cat Overpopulation

Ed Boks and feral cats
The formula to end the killing of feral cats works

Feral cat overpopulation poses a significant challenge in various regions, including Hawaii, where colonies of free-ranging cats have become a contentious issue. The practice of Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) emerges as a humane and viable solution to address this problem. Despite protests and criticism, TNR stands out as an effective approach that not only addresses feline overpopulation but also addresses the concerns raised by ecologists and wildlife advocates.

The Cat Conundrum in Hawaii

Hawaii, with its warm climate and history of non-native species introductions, faces a unique challenge regarding feral cat overpopulation. The abundance of free-ranging cats, descended from or abandoned by pet owners, has led to ecological issues, such as the predation of local birds and the spread of diseases.

The Deadly Impact of Free-Ranging Cats

Free-ranging cats in Hawaii have been identified as a significant threat to native wildlife. They are skilled predators, capable of killing a substantial number of animals annually. The impact on endangered bird species, such as the ua’u and a’o, is particularly devastating, contributing to Hawaii’s unfortunate title as the “extinction capital of the world.”

Moreover, the spread of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by stray cats, poses a threat to wildlife and humans alike. The parasite has been linked to the deaths of endangered Hawaiian monk seals and various bird species, highlighting the urgent need for intervention.

Countering TNR Criticisms

Critics argue that TNR is an ineffective solution and that other approaches, including euthanasia, should be considered. However, the evidence supporting TNR as an effective population control method cannot be dismissed. Critics, including PETA, claim that TNR fails to address the root cause and can even encourage abandonment. Contrary to these claims, TNR has demonstrated success in reducing feral cat populations when implemented consistently.

Christopher Lepczyk, an ecologist at Auburn University, argues for a multifaceted approach, including adoption, enclosed sanctuaries, and euthanasia. While these methods may have merit in specific situations, TNR remains an essential component, especially considering its humane nature.

The Human Dimension of the Cat Crisis

One critical aspect often overlooked is the human responsibility behind the cat problem. Dumping pet cats on the streets is identified as the primary cause of feral cat colonies. To truly address the issue, efforts should be directed towards educating pet owners about responsible ownership and providing accessible spaying and neutering services.

Christopher Lepczyk suggests that making it easier for licensed vets from other states to practice in Hawaii could alleviate the cost barrier to spaying and neutering. Additionally, a fundamental shift in people’s understanding of pet ownership as a privilege rather than a right is crucial to tackling the core issue.


The Trap/Neuter/Return approach emerges as a humane and effective solution to the challenges associated with feral cat overpopulation. While critics may point to alternative methods, the evidence supporting TNR’s success in reducing cat populations, combined with addressing the root cause of abandonment, highlights its importance in finding a balance between animal welfare and ecological preservation. It is essential to recognize the interconnectedness of human actions, responsible pet ownership, and effective population control measures to achieve a harmonious coexistence between cats and native wildlife.

The Compassionate Path: A Journey to a Well-Balanced Life

In a world often dominated by hustle, competition, and the pursuit of success, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. As someone who has spent a considerable portion of my life dedicated to animal welfare and community building, I’ve come to believe that compassion is not just a virtue but a guiding principle that can lead us to a more well-balanced and fulfilling existence.

Compassion for Others

One of the cornerstones of a balanced life is extending compassion to those around us. This doesn’t just mean our friends and family; it extends to all living beings. Whether it’s a homeless animal searching for a warm bed or a fellow human being facing hardships, the ability to empathize and extend a helping hand fosters a sense of interconnectedness.

Consider the joy that comes from adopting a pet from a shelter or volunteering at a local community center. These acts of kindness not only benefit those on the receiving end but also enrich our own lives by reinforcing the bonds that connect us all.

Compassion for Oneself

Equally important is the practice of self-compassion. In the pursuit of our goals and dreams, we often forget to be kind to ourselves. We push ourselves to the limits, expecting perfection and punishing ourselves for perceived failures. Embracing self-compassion involves recognizing our own humanity, acknowledging our flaws, and treating ourselves with the same kindness we readily offer to others.

This might involve taking time for self-care, engaging in activities that bring joy, and understanding that setbacks are not roadblocks but rather stepping stones on the path to personal growth. By cultivating self-compassion, we not only enhance our own well-being but also become better equipped to radiate positivity and understanding to those around us.

Compassion for the World

Living a well-balanced life goes beyond our immediate circle; it involves a sense of responsibility for the world we inhabit. This planet is home to an incredible diversity of life, and each species plays a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of ecosystems. Compassion for the environment translates into sustainable practices, mindful consumption, and a commitment to leaving the world a better place for future generations.

Get involved in conservation efforts, support organizations dedicated to preserving the environment, and be mindful of the impact your choices have on the world around you. By extending our compassion to the planet, we not only contribute to its well-being but also experience a profound sense of interconnectedness with the natural world.

In conclusion, a well-balanced life is not achieved through the relentless pursuit of individual success but through the cultivation of compassion. By embracing compassion for others, for oneself, and for the world, we embark on a transformative journey that leads to a life filled with purpose, fulfillment, and a profound sense of harmony.

Wishing you all a compassionate and balanced journey,

Ed Boks

The Timeless Connection Between Humanity and Equines

In the bustling hum of urban life and the echoes of history’s whispers, there exists a profound and enduring tale of kinship – the timeless bond shared between humans and equines. As we venture into the depths of this intricate relationship, the narrative unfolds, revealing a tapestry woven with threads of companionship, resilience, and shared destinies.

Tracing the footprints of time, the pivotal role of equines in the trajectory of human civilization becomes an undeniable focal point. Across the vast landscapes of ancient civilizations, their sinewy grace propelled the wheels of progress, cultivating trade routes, and nurturing the roots of cultural exchange. The nomadic tribes, guided by the rhythmic cadence of hoofbeats, forged pathways that transcended geographic boundaries, leaving an indelible imprint on the very essence of human heritage.

Amid the tumultuous pages of history, the valor and camaraderie displayed by these noble creatures on the battlefield echo through the ages. In the midst of conflicts and conquests, equines stood as pillars of unwavering support, carrying the weight of humanity’s ambitions and fortitude upon their sturdy frames. Their unwavering loyalty and unwavering strength became synonymous with tales of courage and sacrifice, etching their legacy into the collective consciousness of human valor.

Beyond their historical significance, the modern-day landscape bears witness to the multifaceted roles assumed by equines in the tapestry of contemporary society. Within the realms of therapeutic riding programs, the profound connection between equines and human well-being blossoms, fostering a sanctuary of healing and emotional restoration for individuals navigating various challenges. Here, the unspoken language of equine-human interaction becomes a beacon of hope, transcending the barriers of communication and cultural divide.

Amid the arena of equestrian sports, where finesse and precision dance in harmonious tandem, equines continue to captivate audiences with their regal presence and unparalleled elegance. A spectacle of artistry and grace unfolds, underscoring the symbiotic relationship between rider and horse, a testament to the enduring partnership that transcends the confines of competition.

The cultural resonance of equines reverberates through the annals of artistic expression, where their untamed spirit and ethereal beauty have inspired the verses of poetic odes and the strokes of masterful canvases. Through the lens of literature and folklore, their majestic allure becomes a source of inspiration, weaving tales of mythical proportions that traverse the boundaries of time and imagination.

As we contemplate this profound and timeless connection, let us embrace the profound lessons it imparts – the virtues of empathy, resilience, and the harmonious equilibrium that binds humanity with these magnificent beings. Let us honor and preserve this enduring narrative, ensuring that the legacy of this cherished bond perseveres for generations to come – with heartfelt reverence for the sacred bond between humanity and equines.

Celebrating the Diversity of Equines

Today, I want to expand upon our recent discussionEd Boks and horse concerning equine welfare and the rich diversity found within the equine family. The intricate tapestry of their roles in our lives, from their remarkable qualities to their profound impact on human society, offers a captivating narrative that deserves our appreciation and admiration.

So, in today’s blog, I want to venture further into the heart of what makes each type of equine so unique, as well as share some inspiring words that have sought to capture their essence across the ages.

Join me in celebrating the variety and significance of these magnificent creatures as we delve into their distinct roles and virtues, each contributing its own melody to the symphony of life.

These magnificent creatures have captured our hearts for centuries, and their unique characteristics and contributions to human society deserve recognition and our gratitude.

In my previous blog, I emphasized the importance of safeguarding the well-being of our equine companions in the face of economic challenges. Now, let’s delve into the extraordinary qualities and roles that different types of equines play in our lives.

Horses: Icons of Strength and Grace: Horses have long been admired for their elegance, power, and their deep connection with human history. They have served as loyal companions in times of war and peace, conveying a sense of nobility and freedom.  “Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization, we will find the hoofprint of the horse beside it.” – John Moore

Donkeys: Endurance and Resilience: Donkeys, known for their resilience and hardiness, have been essential companions for farmers and laborers across the globe. Their ability to thrive in harsh environments and carry heavy loads has made them invaluable in many developing regions. “The donkey is a modest animal, needs no glory.” – George Eliot

Mules and Hinnies: The Perfect Blends of Traits: Mules and hinnies, the offspring of horse-donkey crosses, embody the best of both worlds. Their unique blend of strength, endurance, and intelligence makes them ideal partners for challenging tasks in agriculture, transportation, and recreational activities. “When you’re sitting on a well-loaded wagon, a good mule is better than a good road.” – Unknown

Zebras: The Beauty of the Wild: Zebras, with their striking black and white stripes, epitomize the beauty of the wild. Their unique social structures and adaptations to their natural habitats make them a symbol of the untamed spirit of nature, captivating the imagination of animal enthusiasts worldwide. “Where the zebra’s tail, is the devil’s trail.” – Rudyard Kipling

Przewalski’s Horses: Guardians of Genetic Diversity: Przewalski’s horses, the last surviving wild horse species, serve as a critical reminder of the importance of conservation efforts. Their genetic uniqueness and resilience highlight the need to protect and preserve the biodiversity of our planet’s ecosystems. “The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.” – Émile Zola

These remarkable equine types, each with their distinctive characteristics, remind us of the deep interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. Their contributions to our history, culture, and everyday lives serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving and cherishing our bond with them.

In celebrating the diversity of equines, it is crucial to recognize the significant role they play in our shared history and their ongoing contributions to various aspects of human life. It is our responsibility to ensure that their welfare remains a top priority, regardless of the economic challenges we face.

Let us continue to advocate for their well-being, support conservation efforts, and foster a deeper understanding of the invaluable role these magnificent creatures play in our lives. Together, we can preserve their legacy for future generations to appreciate and admire.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the welfare of equines, and may our admiration for these remarkable animals only continue to grow.

Ensuring the Welfare of Equines in Today’s Economy

Ed Boks and horseToday, I want to address a topic that’s very close to my heart – the welfare of equines in our uncertain economy.

In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to ensure our beloved horses, donkeys, mules, and all various subspecies, hybrids, and regional variations within these categories, receive the care, respect, and attention they deserve.

Our economy has been undergoing significant changes, and these changes have affected the equine world. From rising costs of hay and grain to increased land development, equine enthusiasts face a myriad of challenges. However, with dedication, knowledge, and collaboration, we can continue to provide the best possible lives for our equine companions.

Here are some essential considerations for ensuring the welfare of equines in today’s economy:

  1. Proper Nutrition: The rising cost of feed can be a significant concern. It’s crucial to prioritize proper nutrition for your animals. Consult with equine nutritionists to develop a balanced diet that suits your equine’s needs and your budget.
  2. Preventative Healthcare: Regular veterinary care is essential for preventing illnesses and addressing health concerns promptly. Establishing a good relationship with a local equine veterinarian can help ensure your animals receive the care they need.
  3. Education and Training: Investing time and resources in proper training and handling of equines can prevent accidents and injuries, saving both money and lives. There are many resources available, including local trainers and online courses.
  4. Responsible Breeding: In these uncertain times, it’s essential to consider the implications of breeding equines. Overpopulation can lead to overcrowded rescue facilities and increased expenses for the community. Responsible breeding practices are a must.
  5. Support Local Rescue Organizations: If you’re in a position to do so, consider supporting local equine rescue organizations. They often bear the brunt of the economic challenges and need all the help they can get to continue their vital work.
  6. Land Conservation: The encroachment of urban development on rural areas can limit the available space for equines. Advocating for land conservation and zoning regulations that protect equine-friendly environments is crucial.
  7. Financial Planning: Equine ownership comes with costs, and it’s vital to have a realistic financial plan in place. This includes budgeting for regular expenses and setting aside funds for emergencies.
  8. Community Engagement: Joining or supporting local equine clubs and organizations can provide valuable resources, networking opportunities, and a sense of community among fellow enthusiasts.
  9. Adopt Don’t Shop: Consider adopting from equine rescue organizations rather than buying from breeders. There are many deserving equines in need of loving homes.
  10. Advocacy and Education: Get involved in advocacy efforts to promote equine welfare in your community. Educate others about responsible equine ownership and the challenges facing the equine community today.

Our commitment to the welfare of equines is as important as ever. Together, we can navigate the ups and downs of our economy while ensuring that our beloved equine companions live healthy, happy lives. By staying informed, working together, and advocating for positive change, we can make a positive impact on the lives of these majestic creatures.

Thank you for your dedication to equine welfare, and may your horse, donkey, and/or mule continue to bring joy to your lives.

Compassion for Animals and the Human Condition: Insights from the World’s Greatest Thinkers

Amidst the hustle and bustle of our major metropolitan areas there is a rising chorus advocating for a resurgence of compassion toward our fellow creatures. This isn’t just a contemporary notion—it’s an age-old refrain echoing through the wisdom of the world’s greatest philosophers, prophets, poets, and statesmen.  Here are a few examples:

Aristotle: The Greek philosopher Aristotle, renowned for his keen insights into ethics and human nature, held the belief that our capacity for compassion transcends human boundaries. He contended that kindness towards animals is an integral facet of moral virtue, asserting that “being a good human” also means being kind to animals.

Buddha: Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, extolled the virtue of compassion as a foundation for spiritual enlightenment. “May all that have life be delivered from suffering,” he proclaimed. The Buddha’s teachings remind us that our capacity for compassion extends to all sentient beings, regardless of their species.

Rumi: The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, celebrated for his profound explorations of love and the human soul, urged us to see beyond the surface. “Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you,” he wrote. “Unfold your own myth.” In the context of compassion for animals, Rumi encourages us to recognize the shared experiences of suffering and joy that bind us to our animal companions.

Mahatma Gandhi: The iconic Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, a symbol of nonviolence and justice, recognized the moral imperative of kindness to animals. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress,” he declared, “can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Jane Goodall: Moving closer to our times, the pioneering primatologist Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to studying and advocating for the rights of our closest animal relatives, chimpanzees. Her groundbreaking work emphasizes that compassion for animals is not an abstract ideal but a tangible responsibility.

Abraham Lincoln: Amidst the tumultuous American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, revered for his wisdom and leadership, signed into law the Homestead Act of 1862. This historic legislation not only opened up the American frontier but also included a provision promoting compassion for animals. It granted public lands to settlers under the condition that they cultivate a portion of the land and “make improvements thereon.” Significantly, this law aimed to discourage cruelty by specifying that “no person who shall have been convicted of a violation of the laws to prevent cruelty to animals shall be entitled to the benefits of this act.”

Henry David Thoreau: In the midst of the 19th century, the American transcendentalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau withdrew to the solitude of Walden Pond. There, he found not just simplicity but profound insights into our relationship with the natural world. Thoreau famously declared, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” His writings remind us of the intrinsic connection between humanity and the environment, encouraging us to nurture compassion not just for animals but for the entire ecosystem that sustains us.

John Muir: The influential naturalist and preservationist John Muir, often referred to as the “Father of the National Parks,” was a staunch advocate for nature and it’s creatures. His writings and tireless efforts were instrumental in the creation of Yosemite National Park and the founding of the Sierra Club. Muir’s words resound with the belief that “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” His legacy underscores the interconnectedness of all life and the imperative of compassion for animals.

These luminaries from different times and traditions resonate with a common theme: compassion is not a solitary virtue but an integral part of our humanity. Our treatment of animals reveals profound truths about the human condition.

In our modern world, convenience and consumerism often distance us from the consequences of our choices. Practices such as factory farming, habitat destruction, and animal exploitation have become all too common. However, the wisdom of these great thinkers reminds us that our capacity for empathy and compassion can bridge this gap.

Compassion for animals goes beyond our relationship with them; it extends to our relationship with ourselves and our fellow human beings. It teaches us that kindness knows no boundaries, and our actions have a ripple effect through the intricate web of life. It underscores that the human condition is not just an individual journey but a shared experience.

As we navigate the lively streets of our cities and towns and the dynamic rhythms of modern life, let us heed the voices of these philosophers, prophets, poets, and statesmen. Let us embrace compassion for animals not as an isolated virtue but as a guiding principle that illuminates the human condition. In doing so, we may discover that our hearts expand, our actions align with our values, and our world becomes a place of greater harmony and understanding—a place where all beings, human and animal alike, can thrive together.

The Pawsitive Health Benefits Associated with Pet Ownership


There’s a reason why dogs are known as “man’s best friend” and cats as our “feline companions.” Beyond the joy and companionship they bring, owning a pet offers numerous health benefits that can enhance our overall well-being. From reducing stress and boosting mental health to promoting physical fitness and providing a sense of purpose, the advantages of pet ownership are far-reaching.

  1. Stress Reduction

Life can be stressful, but the presence of a pet can help alleviate that stress. Interacting with pets has been shown to reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and increase the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and relaxation. Whether it’s cuddling with a cat or playing fetch with a dog, these simple activities can have a calming effect on our nervous systems.

  1. Improved Mental Health

Pets are natural mood boosters. Studies have shown that pet owners experience reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The unconditional love and companionship provided by pets can create a sense of purpose and connection, which can be especially beneficial for those dealing with loneliness or mental health issues.

  1. Enhanced Physical Fitness

Owning a pet, particularly an active one like a dog, encourages physical activity. Daily walks, playtime, and outdoor adventures are all part of pet ownership, which can help pet owners stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise not only benefits physical health but also contributes to mental well-being.

  1. Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Numerous studies have linked pet ownership to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. The act of petting a cat or dog can have a calming effect, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, the responsibility of caring for a pet often encourages healthier habits, such as maintaining a routine and reducing stress, both of which contribute to better heart health.

  1. Social Connection

Pet owners often find themselves forging new social connections through interactions with other pet owners. Whether it’s chatting with fellow dog owners at the park or bonding over shared pet experiences online, pets can serve as social catalysts. These connections can reduce feelings of isolation and enhance overall mental well-being.

  1. Allergy Prevention

Surprisingly, some studies suggest that children raised in households with pets may have a reduced risk of developing allergies and asthma. Exposure to pet dander and bacteria in early childhood may help train the immune system to be less reactive to allergens, ultimately leading to fewer allergies.

  1. Pain Management

Pet therapy is becoming increasingly popular in healthcare settings. Interaction with therapy animals, such as dogs or cats, has been shown to reduce pain and anxiety in patients recovering from surgeries or undergoing medical treatments. The soothing presence of a pet can provide a distraction from pain and discomfort.


The decision to bring a pet into your life is a significant one, but the health benefits associated with pet ownership make it a rewarding choice. The physical, emotional, and social advantages of having a pet cannot be overstated. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving heart health and promoting physical fitness, our furry friends have a profound impact on our well-being.

However, it’s important to remember that pet ownership comes with responsibilities. Proper care, attention, and consideration for your pet’s needs are essential to ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship. When approached with commitment and care, pet ownership can be a truly transformative and enriching experience that contributes positively to your health and happiness.

The Unyielding Power of Compassion: A Beacon of Light in a Cruel Society

In a world often marked by its cruelties and injustices, the concept of compassion shines like a beacon of hope. Today, I want to delve into the profound significance of compassion, especially in the midst of a society that can sometimes appear harsh and unfeeling. In our journey through the realms of animal welfare and beyond, it becomes increasingly evident that compassion is not just a virtue; it is a lifeline for us all.

The Human Condition

I can’t do everything, but I can do something; so, I won’t refuse to do what I can do…

As we navigate the complexities of the human condition, we encounter myriad challenges and injustices. It’s easy to become disillusioned and question the inherent goodness of our society. But in these trying times, it is compassion that stands as a testament to our shared humanity.

Compassion Defined

Compassion is more than just a warm feeling or a fleeting emotion. It is the deep, unwavering empathy that drives us to act for the well-being of others, both human and non-human. Compassion compels us to extend kindness, lend a helping hand, and alleviate suffering wherever it exists.

The Compassion Connection

Animal welfare is intrinsically linked to compassion. How we treat animals reflects our moral compass as a society. The welfare of animals often serves as a litmus test for our collective empathy and compassion. When we protect and care for animals, we send a powerful message about the kind of society we aspire to be.

The Ripple Effect of CompassionEd Boks and foster care

Compassion is not confined to isolated acts of kindness; it has a profound ripple effect. When we show compassion to one being, it creates a domino effect, inspiring others to do the same. This positive cycle of compassion can reshape communities, organizations, and even entire societies.

The Power of Compassion in Animal Welfare

In the realm of animal welfare, compassion is the driving force behind every rescue, every adoption, and every effort to alleviate animal suffering. Compassionate individuals and organizations work tirelessly to provide shelter, medical care, and love to animals in need. It is through compassion that we have seen remarkable progress in reducing euthanasia rates, promoting spay/neuter programs, and fostering humane alternatives.

Compassion in a Cruel Society

Amidst the challenges of a sometimes unfeeling world, compassion stands as a beacon of light. It serves as a reminder that even in the face of cruelty, we have the power to make a difference. It challenges us to confront injustice and extend a hand to those who need it most.

Compassion’s Transformative Potential

Compassion has the transformative potential to heal wounds, bridge divides, and foster a society where empathy and kindness prevail. It challenges us to reevaluate our choices, embrace responsibility, and actively work towards a better world for all beings.


In a world that can often seem cruel and unforgiving, compassion is our greatest ally. It is the force that compels us to stand up against cruelty, protect the vulnerable, and create a society rooted in empathy and kindness. As we journey through the realms of animal welfare and beyond, let us never underestimate the unyielding power of compassion. It is not a fleeting emotion; it is a guiding principle that has the potential to change the world, one act of kindness at a time.

Contact Ed Boks here.

Ed Boks Reflects on the Current State of Animal Welfare: A Journey Towards Compassion


Ed Boks provides proven no-kill solutions to communities and shelters

Hello, dear friends and fellow animal advocates.  I’ve spent my life working towards the betterment of animal welfare.  Today I want to share my thoughts on the current state of animal welfare, the progress we’ve made, and the challenges that still lie ahead.

A Lifetime of Dedication

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous organizations and communities, all with the shared goal of improving the lives of our furry, feathered, and scaly friends. From my early days in animal control to leading large municipal animal services agencies, my journey has been one of learning, adapting, and growing.

Progress in Animal Welfare

It’s heartening to see how far we’ve come in the realm of animal welfare. Communities worldwide have made significant strides in improving the lives of animals. Here are some highlights of our progress:

  1. Spay/Neuter Programs: We’ve witnessed the tremendous impact of spay/neuter programs in reducing the number of homeless animals and euthanasia rates.
  2. Adoption and Rescue: Animal shelters have become centers of compassion and hope, with dedicated staff and volunteers working tirelessly to find loving homes for animals in need.
  3. Education and Awareness: Through public outreach and education, we’ve raised awareness about responsible pet ownership, animal cruelty prevention, and the importance of adopting from shelters.
  4. Legislative Changes: Laws have evolved to protect animals, with stricter regulations against animal cruelty, puppy mills, and exotic pet ownership.
  5. Humane Alternatives: We’ve seen the rise of innovative approaches to animal welfare, such as trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for feral cats and no-kill shelter initiatives.

Challenges on the Horizon

While we’ve made significant strides, there are still challenges ahead:

  1. Overpopulation: Despite our best efforts, overpopulation remains a concern in many areas. Stray and feral animal populations continue to strain resources.
  2. Animal Cruelty: Cases of animal cruelty persist, requiring continued vigilance and enforcement of animal protection laws.
  3. Wildlife Conservation: As human activity encroaches on natural habitats, wildlife conservation becomes increasingly vital. We must protect not only domestic animals but also our wild counterparts.
  4. Education: We must continue educating the public about the importance of adopting, spaying/neutering, and responsible pet ownership.
  5. Global Issues: Animal welfare is not confined to borders. We need to address international issues like the illegal wildlife trade and factory farming on a global scale.

A Message of Hope

Despite the challenges, my hope for the future of animal welfare burns brightly. Our collective efforts have shown that change is possible, and compassion is an unstoppable force. Together, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of animals.

As we move forward, let us remember that every act of kindness towards animals matters, whether it’s adopting a shelter pet, supporting local rescue organizations, or advocating for stronger animal protection laws. Together, we can create a world where animals are treated with the respect and care they deserve.


In reflecting on the current state of animal welfare, I’m reminded of the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Our journey towards a more compassionate world for animals is a testament to our moral progress. Let’s continue this journey with unwavering dedication, for the sake of the animals who rely on us for their well-being and happiness.

If I can help your organization or community, let me know at: Contact Ed Boks

Think Globally, Give Locally – Especially True for Animal Welfare

Imagine how you would feel if your boss told you he was so happy with your work that he was going to give a bonus to your coworker.  I suspect you would be dumbfounded.  Yet, in my line of work, it is not uncommon to hear, “I really love the work my local humane society or spca does – so I sent a donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to help support you.” 

One of the greatest misunderstandings and biggest challenge local animal welfare organizations face is the belief most people have that HSUS and the ASPCA are affiliated with local animal welfare organizations.

Do you know how much funding HSUS and the ASPCA gave your local humane society or spca?  If you said “nothing,” you’re likely correct – and this is true for virtually every local animal welfare organization in the United States.

Ironically, HSUS and the ASPCA raise enough money each year to fund an animal shelter in every state.  However, HSUS has no animal shelter anywhere, and the ASPCA has just one shelter in New York City – that actually handles fewer animals each year than most small local humane societies or spca’s across the nation.

The mission of the national organizations is to raise awareness of national animal welfare issues; the mission of local humane societies and spca’s is to actually care for the homeless, abused and neglected pets in their local communities.

Many mistakenly believe their gifts to national groups will trickle down to help animals in their own community.  I only wish that were true.

People come to this assumption through misleading marketing tactics.  Let me give you an example.  I once received an ASPCA direct mail solicitation that was also sent to millions of homes across the nation.  The solicitation said, “Together we can stop cruelty to animals. … As you read this letter, somewhere – perhaps not far from you – someone is inflicting pain on an innocent and helpless animal. … You may not be able to rescue that particular animal. … Please send the largest gift you can manage to help the ASPCA save animals like it.”

Clearly, the ASPCA understands that sending “the largest gift you can manage” to their New York office is not the best way to help protect “an innocent and helpless animal,” a “particular animal,” an animal “not far” from where you live.

I have no objection to national animal welfare organizations asking for support for the important work they do.  However, I do object to misrepresenting their programs by implying they are helping animals in every community in the nation.  This is especially disturbing as you watch the daily barrage of heart-wrenching television ads national organizations use to seek donations.

I believe the maxim “think globally; act locally.” However, I object to national organizations abusing this tenet by suggesting you are acting locally when you contribute to them. Don’t be fooled. When you contribute to these organizations, your money is leaving your community never to return.  If that is your intent, fine, but be sure you understand that.

Every local humane society/spca in every city, town and county, was founded to help homeless, abused and neglected animals in their own community.  Local humane societies are often governed by a local volunteer board of directors and are funded almost entirely by local support.

Most local humane societies and spca’s receive no funding from the national groups, nor are they governed by or affiliated with them.  Local humane societies and spca’s are often the largest local nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization caring for the largest number of needy animals in their community – and these animals need our help. They need your help.

If you are looking for the best way to help homeless, abandoned and abused animals in your community, volunteer with your local shelter or make a life-saving tax-deductible donation directly to your local humane society, spca or animal rescue.

For more on this, click here: ASPCA spending may not be what donors expect.