This session focuses on radical reimaginings of animal sheltering. How can we move away from incremental changes to transform shelters and their roles in communities? In the final chapter of “The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals,” Dr. Katja Guenther lays out the steps we must take to transform the animal shelter system. She proposes what she calls a ‘humane communities revolution’, a “road map [which] addresses the particulars of animal sheltering and uses those particulars to extend to a vision of human-animal relations that brings animal abolition into partnerships with movements for liberation of women, Black and other people of color, gender/queers, and others who live at the margins under neoliberal capitalism.”
Similarly, the Director of the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) movement, Kristen Hassen, is working with hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada to dismantle and reimagine animal sheltering. The goal of HASS is to create an entirely new system built upon the belief that the primary role of animal welfare should be to support the connections between pets and people and to fight against the structures of power that cause the needless separation of human-animal families. In this session, attendees will hear these two speakers articulate their hope for a radically different future in animal welfare and will discuss the steps that are being taken now (and still need to be taken) to move animal shelters towards transformative change.