Here is an ongoing argument among my friends: Group A says you should adopt a pet only from a no-kill shelter to support the shelter, while Group B says you should adopt a pet only from a kill shelter to save the animals from death. Which is preferable?The question to which I don't know the answer: to what extent does adopting an animal from a specific shelter actually support the shelter?
If these were regular businesses, it would be obvious. For example, there's a Shoppers Drug Mart and a Rexall in my neighbourhood. If I decided to stop shopping at Shoppers and shop exclusively at Rexall, Shoppers would make less demand and profit and Rexall would see more. If everyone made the same decision, Shoppers would cease to exist. If Shoppers saw that everyone was shopping at Rexall, they might think "What is Rexall doing that we aren't?" and try to emulate that.
But do animal shelters work that way? If people adopt their animals, they have room for more animals. If people don't adopt their animals, they don't have room for more animals unless they kill some. That part is clear.
But does adopting the animals serve as an economic incentive? If nobody adopted from the no-kill shelter, would the no-kill shelter cease to exist? Would it be incentivized to become a kill shelter? Would anything else bad happen to it or to its animals?
Conversely, if nobody adopted from the kill shelter, would it cease to exist? Would it be incentivized to become a no-kill shelter? Or would it just keep on killing animals it can't fit?
It seems to me that the primary factor in whether animals end up in a kill or no-kill shelter would be which shelter people choose to surrender animals to. It doesn't seem like adoption decisions would enter into it. What am I missing?