We should never use the word euthanasia if we kill a healthy animal, slightly sick or it’s medically recoverable. If we willingly put an end to the life of a healthy animal we always must use the words destroy or slaughter.
By using the word euthanasia indiscriminately, we become accomplices -often involuntary- of a practice that means killing cats, dogs, other domestic animals and exotic or wild animals, beyond ethics and the animal condition that justifies it.
To distinguish between euthanasia and destroying, we must focus on the reason or motive, not just on the method (wich can be euthanasical or not). If the animal isn’t wanted and considered “surplus” or “excess”, we can’t rehome him or feed him due to a lack of resources, or because we haven’t invested in rescue, fostering or finding a new home, we are destroying him. Killing him.
Euthanasia is a word only suitable to the living beings that after being medically diagnosed suffer an unsolvable disease that leads them to suffering without any other possible option. Only if the veterinarian confirms an incurable disease that leads the animal to a useless pain we can talk of euthanasia. The owners or responsible persons must take the decision interpreting the animal’s will and prioritizing his well-being over any other consideration. Understanding that the animal doesn’t need to suffer an unnecessary pain linked to the absence of health perspectives. For scientific, legal and moral reasons, obviously the procedure must be done by a veterinarian. They are the only authorized persons to induce death with painless and non distressful procedures.
To destroy is the right verb to talk about healthy animal deaths due to many reasons, usually for a bad economical administration, bad population control management, irresponsible ownership or lack of intellectual and moral skills that leads to consider some animals as a “surplus”.
Of course profit is also a reason, when animals are used as supplies or resources.
1. Euthanasical destruction o euthanasical slaughter happens in a painless and non distressful way. For companion animals the procedure must be done by a veterinarian. For other animals CEE compels to do it with the minimum sufferance, but a lot of religious and cultural exceptions don’t guarantee the euthanasical procedure during the slaughter.
2. Non euthanasical destruction or non euthanasical slaughter means killing animals without a fast, painless and non distressful procedure for the victims.
When, from some forums not really committed with the no kill policies and with the Protection Animals Laws, insinuate or ask for the return to the killing of abandoned companion animals, or those non easily rehomed or with positive in a test (but not really sick) for population control reasons they must use always the words to destroy or to kill. Please don’t hide your uncompassionate and reactionary proposal behind the word euthanasia.
Using the word euthanasia dilutes the transcendence of an unmoral fact like the unjustified death of a sentient being. Clearly, we have enough technical and intellectual resources, and enough information has been developed on the last decade, sterilization and identification campaigns and a better law enforcement, so we must think that is just the plain laziness and the populism what pushes some irresponsible people to try to legitimate the destruction of animals. Everybody, professionals, veterinarians, politicians, protectionists and animal lovers must say enough and start using the right words.
The so called “sweet death” is not always a fair death: it can be a murder too.
We say no to destruction, to slaughter, to kill the domestic, exotic and wild animals in captivity, but specially in a non euthanasical form.
PhD student on Bioethics (UB) and Animal Law Master (UAB)