Position Statement - Euthanasia
Approved by the Board of Directors 7/14/10
The National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS) seeks an end to the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals.NFHS recognizes that until there is a reduction in shelter intake and/or an increase in placement, euthanasia is an unfortunate reality in the work facing some organizations in the fields of sheltering and animal welfare.
Organizations adopt varying philosophies that can be employed to address the animal welfare challenges in their communities, including but not limited to open admission, limited admission and sanctuary.NFHS believes it is up to each individual organization to determine how it can best pursue its mission on behalf of animals in its community.
The methods and philosophy an organization chooses will influence whether and how frequently animals may be euthanized by the individual agency.When the difficult decision is made to end an animal's life, it must be done humanely to ensure no further suffering for the animal.We believe that compassionate euthanasia by lethal injection* is the most humane and dignified method - anything other than this is unacceptable.NFHS has developed a best practice that outlines acceptable and unacceptable practices when performing euthanasia, which it believes will aid in ensuring a humane, peaceful end of life.
Despite the current reality of euthanasia as an outcome for some animals, we believe it is possible and imperative that we bring an end to euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals.The need for euthanasia has not been created by the shelters that are caring for the unwanted animals.Rather, euthanasia is a community and societal problem that we must work collaboratively to solve.Ending euthanasia can only be done through a coordinated effort that engages the entire community in bringing an end to the disparity between healthy and treatable animals available for placement and the communities' capacity for placement of those animals.
The National Federation of Humane Societies is committed to supporting organizations in their efforts to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals.The 2020 Vision was developed by NFHS to provide tools and resources, including a Mentor Program, Asilomar Implementation and Tracking, and Organization Modeling to animal welfare organizations who are seeking support and assistance.
*Refer to NFHS best practice guidelines for detailed information at www.humanefederation.org