According to the Humane Society’s ranking of America’s most humane big cities, Houston ranks a miserable 22 out of 25.  San Francisco was #1 (no surprise there), followed by Seattle and Portland. Detroit outranked Houston, but Dallas, Cincinnati, and Chicago ranked lower.

Houston has more hunters, more puppy sellers, fewer places with cage-free chicken policies, fewer citizen advocates, fewer vegetarian restaurants, fewer seal protectors, and Houstonians tend to elect the least humane lawmakers.

There are a couple of bright spots for my fair city. Houston has fewer captive animal entertainers and a lot more wildlife rehabilitators. We had more mentions of animal issues in the newspaper. (I wonder about that one. It seems you rarely see an animal-related story that doesn’t involve a pit bull attack.)  We do have fewer fur retailers, but that’s because it’s hotter than hell here.

While I’m disappointed, I’m not really surprised. Houston, though I really love it here and call it my home, isn’t exactly a kinder, gentler place.  You see this in the shelters where euthanasia rates are shockingly high and incidents of heartworms are prevalent. None of the major shelters are no-kill. Drive around and observe dogs on chains or running loose. It’s like pulling teeth to find a restaurant that doesn’t put meat in everything. Texas even has one of the few remaining slaughtering plants where horse meat is sold for human consumption (but that does appear to be going away).

I guess I could move somewhere that’s more compassionate. But that wouldn’t really solve anything, except removing myself from the problem. So I’ll keep trudging along, preaching things like spaying and neutering, adopting from shelters, and being a responsible pet parent. Change is slow and painful. But I have to keep trying.

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