There is a newly launched, NY-based, non-profit organization providing food stamps for pets to qualifying pet owners. In just two weeks, the organization has received 12,000 requests for assistance.
This is not surprising considering the poor economy, joblessness, and the amount of people receiving food stamps (which cannot be used for pet food). This organization, however, is run by a private citizen, Marc Okon, concerned for the welfare of animals owned by those in need themselves.
Considering that Americans spent $53 billion on pets in 2012, up 5% from 2011, it is a good bet that this pet food stamp program will catch on. Americans love their pets, often more than they love their neighbors. That’s also why PETA rivals the ACLU in fighting on behalf of perceived victims.
The lesson here, however, is that private citizens (Americans) DO care and if the government curtailed handouts, any assistance gap would eventually be filled by caring citizens. That is also evident by the many homeless kitchens and church food drives providing needed food assistance in their communities. They do not rely on taxes. They rely on the American Spirit.
The current, and rising, record number of people receiving food stamps (over 47 million) is labeled as necessary help from the government. However, there are many instances where the government’s “help” stopped or inhibited private citizens’ attempts to feed the homeless on their own. Left alone and fully encouraged, a citizen-based approach could make food stamps disappear or, at the very least, decline in numbers.
Food stamps for pets will most probably be embraced and succeed, especially if the government can stay out of it. Since pets do not vote, yet, the government has no interest in getting them hooked on assistance. However, pet owners do vote and they may find themselves getting government handouts for their pets in the near future. That will depend on the next election’s polling.
David J. Hentosh