Editorial: Choosing charities a tough call

By Andrew Austin

It is a harsh reality of the tough economic times we are in that there is simply not enough money to go around for very worthy charities that need our support.

Working out which charity is more deserving is a minefield and makes you wish that all the worthy causes out there could get enough money to continue the tremendous work they do.

The Hastings District Council yesterday decided to give $20,000 to the Hastings SPCA, which is struggling to survive in these tough recessionary times.

The money is earmarked for the SPCA's fundraising programmes which in turn are expected to help generate income.

The decision was a close call with some councillors voting against the move. Councillor Mick Lester made the point that there were many other groups deserving of funding which was why the council had a process in place for organisations wanting grants.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers was far more direct, asking whether the council would give "unbudgeted money" to organisations that look after children or the elderly if they got into financial strife.

In her opinion, those types of organisations were "far more worthy" than the Hastings SPCA.

Some people would agree with Cr Bowers, arguing that a human life is more valuable than an animal's life. No one likes to see children or the elderly suffer and that is why it is important that organisations that take care of those in need receive all the funding they can get. It would be an absolute tragedy if a women's refuge, for example, had to close because it did not have enough money to care for women and children escaping abuse.

But there are some very passionate animal lovers out there who believe a life is a life and get really upset when animals are harmed or distressed.

Do we just ignore their argument? No, we can't but we have to be realistic.

I think each case needs to be looked at on its merit and if the budget can stretch, then all the better.

I am glad I don't have to make those calls.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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