In 2015-2016 5,872 dogs in the RSPCA were euthanized. 67.12% was for behavioral problems, 24.69% were for medical reasons, 4.77% was for legal action, and 2.96% was infectious. A dying dog is euthanized to put it out of its misery, but what about the other 72.26%? Is euthanizing animals an act of mercy, or an act of murder? There should be laws forbidding animal euthanization in shelters and puppy mills in the United States.
Euthanasia is an option to kill animals simply because they are not wanted by the general public since overpopulation in animals is increasing. According to the article No kill VS. Traditional Shelters, Laura Maloney states that “approximately 800 dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens are killed each hour in the U.S. That means that every hour hundreds of unwanted puppies and kittens are killed without living their full lives. Their only crime is taking up space in the shelter. In the article The Puppy Mill Project, “over 2 million puppies are bred each year.” Even though most states require permits, puppy mills continue to cause overpopulation in the United States. If puppy mills are shut down, overpopulation will decrease so that less animals are being euthanized.
Animals know when it’s their time to go, and people are killing animals that still want to live their lives to the fullest. According to Lynn Malpass in Is It Truly Ethical to Euthanize Old Dogs and Cats? she has “spiritually connected with pets begging for their lives because they were not ready to go yet.” These animals knew that their lives did not need to be ended, but kill-shelters still took their lives from them. Lynn Malpass also said she “truly believes in the idea that animals know when the time is near for them, and they should be included in the decision.” Animals should have a right to choose when they die because it is their life. If it were a human, most would choose how they die, whether it be by natural causes or suicide. The only humans that do not get to choose how they die is those with deadly medical issues or if they are a criminal with the death penalty. Pets know when they want to go, and we should let them choose to be euthanized or not.
Many people believe that through euthanizing animals they are putting them out of their misery and helping to end the pain. For medical reasons, this is fine. However, most euthanization acts are because of behavior issues. Behavior can be changed in animals just like in humans. As long as an owner is willing to put in the time, money, and energy to help their pet, the animal will live a long, happy life with the ones that care for it.
Animal euthanasia, along with puppy mills, should be illegal in the United States, if not for a medical reason. Overpopulation due to puppy mills being legal is forcing vets to make room in shelters by putting innocent animals down, even though many animals don’t want to go. Making euthanasia illegal for any reason other than medical excuses, and shutting down all puppy mills will result in less killing in shelters and more happy pets with homes.
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