On Tuesday, February 15, Governor Taft signed the “Choose Life” license plate bill into law, ignoring the nearly 1,000 letters and phone calls from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio activists urging him to veto the measure. When this law goes into effect in 90 days, the state of Ohio will begin raising money for fake clinics, commonly known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). In 1993, Ohio Attorney General Lee Fisher found that five crisis pregnancy centers in the state “violate the law by advertising themselves as clinics when they are not medical facilities, provide no medical services and have no doctors on staff.” Many CPCs refuse to provide abortion referrals and discourage women from using birth control. Currently, there are more than 175 CPCs operating in Ohio.

What does this have to do with animal rights, you wonder? Ironically, while humans are promoting Right to Life license plates, trying to have more homo sapien babies born into this world, animal rights activists are promoting their own license plates in Ohio promoting prevention of too many cat and dog births.

The “Pet” plates cost $25 in addition to standard license fees. By state law $10 of the fee goes to the bureau of motor vehicles. $15 will go to the Ohio Pet Fund. Proceeds from the sale of the plate will be used for the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats to curb Ohio’s pet overpopulation. Funds will also be used for education that supports the benefits of sterilization.

It is estimated that 4-6 million dogs and cats are destroyed each year in animal shelters and humane societies across the country. According to a survey by Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, two-thirds of the homeless dogs and cats taken in by these animal agencies are euthanized; only one-fourth are adopted.

It is a tragic cycle. We can’t adopt our way out of the homeless animal problem. We’d each have to adopt 45 cats and 15 dogs to deal with the crisis, and that’s just not going to happen. We need to focus on the root of the problem. Spay/neuter stops the breeding cycle.

One simple solution to the problem is just not letting our family dogs and cats breed. Many people don’t realize that cats can have a new litter every 63 days and dogs can have a new litter every 180 days. Spay/neuter not only reduces overpopulation, but also has health benefits for the animals and reduces annoying behaviors like spraying, fighting, and going into heat. But some people can’t afford the cost of the spay/neuter surgery. The funds from the sale of the plate will help shelters/humane societies/rescue groups neuter their animals before adoption, help fix stray cats, and assist limited income families with the cost of surgery.

So, the battle of the license plates promoting reproductive causes in Ohio has begun. It will be interesting to see how many people buy each plate and what the results are after a few years of these messages traveling over Ohio roads. Somehow I don’t know if we’ll be better off with more people and fewer cats and dogs.

To learn how more about the Pet plate, visit the website at www.petsohio.com.

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