Katherine Heigl and the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation board launched The Compassion Revolution yesterday (September 23rd), with a passionate speech about the pet population crisis.

To help curb the crisis the Heigl Foundation is pledging $1 million to spay / neuter and supporting programs in the city and county of Los Angeles. A transcript and a PDF of Katherine's announcement is detailed below.

The Compassion Revolution

What you just saw are animals suffering and dying in our shelters due to a lack of homes and our lack of addressing the pet population crises. You also saw how valuable, how significant these same animals are in our lives.

We have a handout with more comprehensive numbers about this situation for each of you; but I do want to reemphasize that what’s happening to many animals in our shelters is not only inhumane and morally reprehensible, it is also economically irresponsible. In a state that’s struggling with budget and money issues it seems even more senseless to spend large amounts of money killing healthy, adoptable animals. We at the JDHF believe that together we can do something about this.

The first step is a commitment and an acceptance of the philosophy that saving lives is achievable and killing is not the answer to the pet population crisis. I want to especially thank all the press for being here this morning because you are a large part of our solution and we are thrilled and honored to share this exciting program with you.

We believe that most people are compassionate - that compassion for one another and for all living things is an innate part of what makes us human - and that people care about their animals and care about animals in general. Consider that Americans spent over 50 Billion dollars last year on their companion pets and donated hundreds of millions more to animal related charities. So how have we ended up killing between 4 and 5 million adoptable healthy animals a year? Because most people are unaware of what’s happening in our shelters. They are unaware of the existing animal population crisis, the high kill numbers and the high financial costs of this to the taxpayers.

This is where, with the press’s help, we can start to change the existing paradigm. We are hoping that the Compassion Revolution will substantially raise the public’s awareness of the terrible reality that exists for our homeless animal population. And with awareness we can begin change. Thus the term Revolution. A true Revolution means a dramatic and wide reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it. Revolution takes a large number of dedicated and like minded people to light the fire of the cause and get the attention of those in power and the support of the public. Once we succeed informing people about the animal population crisis, the JDHF will make a commitment to do everything possible to encourage and help families to do what is right for their pets and for the future animal population. Because we believe that spaying and neutering our pets is a critical part of the change we are hoping for, we are announcing today the Foundation’s pledge of one million dollars to various low cost and free spay/neuter programs in LA and the surrounding counties.

Several of these programs have already been setup in the city with the help of LA Animal Services (which you will hear about from Brenda Barnette). We are also offering the county the same financial assistance if they too will help us put together low cost and free spay / neuter programs to help reduce their high intake and high kill numbers and we certainly hope they will part in this Revolution.

We have many other exciting initiatives in development - training programs, transport programs that will also help. And as the Compassion Revolution rolls forward we will integrate and enlarge these programs under its umbrella. The Revolution is just beginning but we believe that by getting this message out and by supporting our LA community with our financial commitment, working together with shelter personal and city and county electives, we can bring about a new, hopeful supportive consensus to solving the pet population crisis without resorting to the killing solution!

Several years ago, a Native American Elder, David Monongye wrote a letter to the United Nations, urging the leaders of all nations to consider the wisdom of obedience to what the Native Americans call our "original instructions." He said, "The original instructions of the Creator are universal and valid for all time. The essence of these instructions is Compassion for all life and love for all creation. We must realize that we do not live in a world of dead matter, but in a universe of living spirit. Let us open our eyes to the sacredness of all Life, or our eyes will be opened for us."

Nancy and I are women of faith - and I’m not speaking of religious faith. We are women who have faith in the power of compassion as a very active and significant force. We have faith in the remarkable capacity of our fellow human beings for change and their ability to embrace compassion. We have faith that if we’re willing to help the shelters and their staff to create a new paradigm of cooperation, hope and support; then with all of us working together we can stop this senseless killing. We have faith in American communities and their desire to protect and care for their animals. We have faith in the premise that Peace on Earth and Peace within each of us starts with how we treat the weakest and most voiceless among us. AND, we have faith that if reminded, people WILL remember the Creator’s "Original Instructions."

AND WE’RE BETTING A MILLION DOLLARS ON IT!!

I would personally like to introduce and thank Councilman Tony Cardenes for all his hard work and support of the LA animals. We’re presenting him with a $25,000 check for the new East Valley Clinico - to match Found Animals restricted grant for Pit/Pit mixes, Chi and cats. Councilman Cardenes...

Compassion Revolution Speech