What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Photographs juxtapose human and canine evacuees from New Orleans?

Claim:   E-mail juxtaposes photographs of human and canine evacuees from New Orleans.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2005]

What’s wrong with this picture?

A truckload of evacuees arrives at the Metairie evacuation center outside New Orleans

Over 150 dogs and other animals were evacuated from an animal hospital after their owners had left town without them

Origins:   These photographs may not both depict what their captions proclaim, but they do represent a general sort of truth. Whether that truth matches the social commentary implied by their juxtapositioning is another matter.

In general, many New Orleans residents imperiled by Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flood had to be quickly rescued and delivered to shelters by any conveyance available, including vehicles like the one shown above. It is also the case that in the weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit, hundreds of lost or abandoned pets have been flown to animal shelters around the U.S. where they can be cared for until they are reunited with their previous owners or adopted by new ones (although the second photograph displayed above appears to show abandoned dogs evacuated from an animal hospital in a bus rather than an airplane).

Whether those two broad facts should be considered, as implied by the interrogative title accompanying these photos, indicative of a society that cares far more for its rich and white citizens than its poor and black ones, or cares more about animals than human beings, or some combination thereof — or whether they’re merely reflective of differences in circumstances and species — is a subjective exercise for the viewer.

Last updated:   20 September 2005


  Sources Sources:

    Bender, Kristin.   “Oakland Shelter Cleans Evacuated Pets.”

    The [Bay Area] Daily Review.   19 September 2005.

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