sábado, 28 de abril de 2012


America has 3,800 animal shelters, but only 1,500 for battered women. Puppies are blameless and easy to care for; people are more complicated. Allison Schrager, an economist, examines our inclination to help animals over our own species ...

A woman who fundraises for a charity dedicated to helping battered womenrecently told me about her challenges raising money. Called the Retreat, the charity is located in East Hampton, a posh beach community, full of people who make philanthropy a part of their financial and social lives. Yet she struggles to find donors. In response to her requests, she often hears, "Well, no one I would know would be a victim of domestic violence. Besides, I already give money to the animal rescue charity." The animal rescue charity is one of the best endowed in the area.
I find many things troubling with this statement. First, contrary to popular perception, domestic abuse occurs in all socio-economic groups. The assumption that such violence afflicts only the poor or deserving is both fatuous and misguided. That potential donors admitted that they would prefer to help animals over battered women also reveals some odd instincts in the realm of empathy and philanthropy. Granted, we often say things we don't mean when being solicited for money. Yet the donations given to animal rescue could instead support a charity that helps people. If we value people more than animals can we ever justify giving to an animal-welfare charity?

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