Warning: This post contains strong and disturbing photos of euthanasia and animal suffering.
Every year in North Carolina, over 250,000 animals are euthanized because there is no one willing to adopt them and care for them. This averages to nearly 700 animals killed daily. NC-based photographer Mary Shannon Johnstone has been on a mission to draw public awareness to the issue of animal overpopulation. Her gut-wrenching project, titled “Breeding Ignorance,” offers an brutally honest look at the conditions inside animal shelters and the tragedy of beautiful (and often healthy) animals being put down.
Back in September we shared the story of Teresa Berg, a photographer who volunteers her time to take professional quality adoption photos for dogs in shelters. Sadly, similar efforts to save dogs through photography aren’t always encouraged. A woman named Emily Tanen was fired from Animal Care and Control of New York City back in May for her photos of dogs scheduled to be euthanized. Her crime? Violating the group’s strict photo policy, which includes a rule prohibiting showing humans in photos. The New York Times writes,
When she started working at Care and Control, Ms. Tanen said, she believed that the animals were photographed poorly and that the images failed to convey the warmth of a potential pet.
With her art background from her studies, Ms. Tanen decided she could do a better job with her $1,500 Nikon.
[...] Ms. Tanen said she tried to comply with the rules, but sometimes felt her judgment trumped her superiors’. She continued to show people’s hands touching a dog, even after receiving a warning against doing so. “I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” she said.
You can see some more of Tanen’s photographs here (be warned: they show humans).
Fired From a Shelter After Photographing the Animals (via Gizmodo)