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Save Adoptable Pets From Unnecessary Euthanasia

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Healthy, loving pets are being put down by request simply because their existence is no longer convenient. Help end this now!

The reasons people ask for convenience euthanasia range from "he got too big," to "she sheds too much," or even, "we just don't enjoy them as much as we used to." People also cite the high cost of veterinary care as a reason to put an animal down, or the difficulty of finding it a new home. What is most shocking is that there is no law or regulation that prevents vets from euthanizing a healthy pet simply at the owner's request1.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) have guidelines and policies in place regarding euthanasia2. However, determining whether or not an animal can be rehabilitated or re-homed is completely subjective and up to the individual veterinarian. Most veterinarians will do all that they can to avoid convenience euthanasia and only do so after all viable options are considered, sometimes even taking the animal home themselves.

In "The Convenience of Euthanasia3," Dani McVety, DVM, writes, "As a house call hospice veterinarian, if I am at a home of a pet that I do not feel comfortable euthanizing, and with an owner that simply cannot go on, the pet will come home with me. Yes, it's happened. And have I euthanized animals that I may not have euthanized if they were mine? Absolutely. Have I euthanized animals that other veterinarians have refused to euthanize? Absolutely. Have I euthanized animals whose owners were completely at a loss, unable to go on for many reasons, and with tears in everyone's eyes (including mine), we knew it was a difficult but good decision? Absolutely. And when those families hug me, knowing that I did not judge them for that tough choice we made together, that I did not force an altruistic or idealistic view on them, and that I partnered with them in opting for the best alternative option for their pet, a new level of respect is earned."

But many are willing to euthanize by request, and that is something that can be stopped4. Like all medical doctors, veterinarians are required to obtain certification from their state to practice. By encouraging states to refuse licenses to vets that willingly euthanize healthy animals, we can save countless lives!

About 2.7 million animals are euthanized annually, which includes approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats5. Many of those animals did not have to die.

Let's make convenience euthanasia a thing of the past by asking the American Association of Veterinary State Boards to help change state policies for licensing veterinarians. Sign below to help make sure pets are protected!

More on this issue:

  1. Lisa Moses, Monica J. Malowney, Jon Wesley Boyd, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (15 October 2018), "Ethical conflict and moral distress in veterinary practice: A survey of North American veterinarians."

  2. Jenina Pellegren, DVM360 (5 October 2016), "The Reality of Owner-Requested or Convenience Euthanasia."

  3. Dani McVety, DVM, Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice (2018), "The Ethics of Convenience Euthanasia."

  4. Simon Coghlan, Insight (5 February 2019), "The disturbing requests of 'convenient' pet euthanasia."

  5. American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2021), "Pet Statistics."

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The Petition:

To President-Elect of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards,

More and more people are visiting their veterinarian to have their healthy animal put down for no other reason than their own convenience. The reasons range from complaints about the costs of having a pet, the pet shedding more than they like, or even the difficulties that arise when moving with a pet.

The practice of "convenience euthanasia" is not only abhorrent, but it goes against every value that the AAVSB stands for. A pet is not a piece of furniture, or a conversation piece - something to be discarded when they no longer fill a void. Allowing families to bring in a healthy pet to be put down simply because they are tired of it, or don't want to take care of it anymore is horrifying, and any veterinarian dedicated to helping animals should be equally appalled at the idea. Yet, because there's nothing saying that a veterinarian cannot, or should not, perform convenience euthanasia, pets continue to be treated as such.

The AAVSB is in a unique position to help shape how states view veterinary medicine, and what criteria they use to certify their vets. As the primary source for the veterinary regulatory community, your voice resonates into every veterinary office. By joining in the fight against this barbaric and unnecessary procedure, thousands of animals can be saved.

By standing up and decrying this practice, and encouraging veterinary boards around the country to raise their standards, you will make a difference to all of us, animals and humans alike.


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