Priorities and the Idol of Happiness


I just saw this title on an ABC.com Tweet:

Prozac for Puppy? More American Pets Are Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs (here’s the article: http://t.co/s43CO670)

In the article, I read this startling statistic:

Last year, Americans spent nearly $7 billion dollars on pills for their pets and the sales growth is dramatic, up 35 percent in just four years.

Seven billion dollars. For psychiatric medications. For pets.

Seven billion dollars. I wondered what else we Americans could’ve done with that cash so I Googled “cost of a fresh water well in Africa.”

The first site listed was for lifewater.org and it’s a sponsorship page for providing clean water for schools.
(http://www.lifewater.ca/help/sponsor.htm)

A complete clean water system (well, hand washing and a workshop to train the community) costs $4200 in Liberia and Haiti (which I know is not in Africa, but is in desperate need nonetheless) and $6000 in Kenya.

Using an average of $5100 for the sake of ease (I’m a writer, not a mathematician), that $7 billion could have provided clean water, sanitary hand washing and a workshop for 137,255 VILLAGES. Not people. Villages.

I enjoy animals. I believe that they are a creation of God’s and that God mandated that humanity be good stewards of and rule over animals. I also believe animals display a wide range of emotions, otherwise we would not say people can have “puppy dog eyes.”

However, in the priority of human ethics, the life of a human trumps the happiness of a dog any day of the week. In what sort of society to we live that people spend a collective $7 billion dollars on psychiatric meds for animals while children across the street and around the world live homeless and without food?

I believe there is room for both/and; love people AND care for your pets.

But human life takes precedence and so long as there are people in this world in such dire need, perhaps our pets should be sad right along with them.

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