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Please don’t adopt a Snow Leopard

Just seen this advert on television.
I might be over reacting, but you may know this topic is an important one not just for me but for a lot of people across the UK, most of whom you will never meet.

Be careful watching the advert below may change your life… (then again…)

Reasons to Adopt a Snow Leopard

1. Snow Leopards  are very cute.
2. Snow Leopards are a wonderful part of God’s creation.
3.  Snow Leopards are an endangered species.

But genuinely adopting a snow leopard will turn your life upside down.

Let me give you 5 reasons not to ADOPT a Snow Leopard.

1. Adoption involves offering a Snow leopard the same place in your family as your birth children this is probably an unwise move.
2. Adopting a Snow Leopard means making a snow leopard eligible to an equal share of your estate on your death this is a big investment.
3. Adopting a Snow Leopard means you promise to do your utmost to meet all the needs that a Snow Leopard may have for the rest of your life this is a life long commitment.
4.  Adopting a Snow Leopard means your children get a new sibling to share your affections – this could get awkward.
5. Adopting a Snow Leopard means taking on board all the trauma that animal may have received and may have psychologically or physically wounded them for life – this is a huge commitment for anybody.

How about instead we limit the concept of adoption to children who are in need of a family.

There are 6000 waiting children in the UK alone. We can’t really make adverts about them in the same way as the Snow leopard.
Let’s not demean what these children need most in their life by likening it to a temporary financial arrangement a charity might want you to undertake with a beautiful but in the end distant animal. Let’s not call giving financially to a charity that supports wild animals adoption; lets call it sponsorship.

Animal sponsorship has its place – but the concept of it is often based on using guilt, sympathy or fear to get you to give regularly to a programme.
If you do sponsor a snow leopard you get a nice picture to put on your fridge, you get the conscience easing feeling that you are making a difference, you may even get letters from your sponsored animal. You are helping a particular animal (ok  sometimes you are not twinned with a particular animal it is a programme you are supporting instead) to have a better life. You might want to check if the programme you are supporting really is helping in the long run – some animal welfare programmes create dependencies which mean the animal is never going to be any good in the wild again but will always need to rely on donor intervention – so you might not have done good to the animal in the long term. So please consider sponsoring a snow leopard.

But definitely consider offering a child that needs one a home for good through adoption.

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So by all means sponsor a snow leopard but lets save adoption for children there really is no comparison.

9 thoughts on “Please don’t adopt a Snow Leopard”

  1. Thanks, Krish. I have been steaming away since the advert for Snow Leopard started. So glad you are doing something a lot better than steaming.

  2. Are you actually serious? I can’t believe what I’m reading here. Adopting a child and adopting a snow leopard on a purely financial basis (and a very tiny financial contribution at that) cannot even be compared in the smallest sense.

    I think you need to go outside more.

  3. Are you an idiot? You can’t seriously be that dumb. Adopting a snow leopard, as advertised, does NOT mean bringing the animal home and raising it as part of your family. It’s a “symbolic” adoption. It’s a donation to the WWF. You don’t get an actual snow leopard. You’re donating money to them to help them in their fight to protect endangered animals, animal rights, etc.

    Therefor all of you “why not to” points are completely invalid. You have no duty or obligation to the animal. You don’t share the animal with your family. It’s not even really a sponsorship. It’s a donation to the WWF and in return you get a stuffed animal and a certificate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

    And how you can possibly relate this to adopting a child is madness. You could never support a child for $3 a month. And you can’t “adopt” a child in any country by donating to an orphanage and telling them “hey, I’ll send you $3 a month, but you have to keep the child there”. One has NOTHING to do with the other, and NO ONE is going to sit there and say “I would love to adopt a son, but see I just adopted this snow leopard for $3 a month from the WWF, so I’m kind of tied right now”.

    Please tell me this is a joke. You should be flagged for trolling.

    1. Thanks for your comment – perhaps you missed the nuance of what I was saying. I was contesting the word adoption being used about something that clearly isn’t adoption. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. It would be wrong to call it “divorce a snow leopard” just because once a month you have money deducted from your account – the similarities between animal sponsorship and adoption are equally tenuous. I am an adoption campaigner and cat lover – but I am expressing my opinion that adoption is not the right word to use. Are you saying I shouldn’t be allowed to express my opinion about this? Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion on my blog.

  4. I get what you’re trying to say, but it’s essentially a linguistic issue. It would be impractical in any language to have a completely unique word for every concept, so some words come to have multiple meanings, and “adopt” is one of them. Presumably you don’t get upset every time you hear that someone has “adopted a political stance” or “adopted an air of superiority” or “adopted a different faith”. Most native English speakers knows that the meanings in the contexts above are different than in the meaning of adopting a child, and that the meaning is different again in the context of adopting an animal. I think that’s where the confusion lies in the previous comments – most people who watched the advert immediately understood that the word was being used in a specific context and had a specific meaning, so they don’t see why you didn’t understand that.
    Being passionate about a concept (and I have an IMMENSE amount of admiration for your passion and the work you do to raise the profile of adoption in the church) doesn’t mean that you get to claim the word denoting that concept as your own and delete all of its other meanings and nuances from the language.

  5. *Most native English speakers knows that the meanings in the contexts above are different than in the CONTEXT of adopting a child, and…

  6. Indeed adoption is too strong a word to use for the act of sending money to the WWF to support a snow leopard. If I sent even a thousand pounds every month to an orphan, it may be kind and a good civic deed but it’s not adoption.
    By the same token, if the snow leopard lived in my house like a pet cat, adoption would still be too strong a word.
    It’s good to look after animals but it’s far better to look after people. After all God has placed his likeness in people not animals. Like the author, I think accurate semantics is a good place to start.

  7. Krish, so glad your wrote this – as an adoptive parent it drives me crazy that zoo and wildlife charities use this language.

    Sure, ‘adopt’ has nuanced meanings but clearly the one that charities want people to think about is the one of ‘treasure as your own’. The ‘cute’ cuddly toy and photo, the ‘adoption pack’ etc. is all indicative of it.

    But adoption isn’t so easily taken over and your sardonic post is well aimed and well timed. Adoption is not short term, not financially focused and not cute and cuddly. It’s far more important, costly, lasting and real.

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