Tag Archives: no kill

‘No-kill’ what’s in a name?

I personally have no issues with the term ‘no-kill’ as in ‘no-kill animal shelter’.   Traditionally, this term has been used to mean an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full.

No kill image

Euthanasia would only be an option for terminally ill animals or those that were considered too dangerous for public safety ever to be re-homed. 

In the case of the latter circumstance, it probably was easy for some shelters to bend the rules and still claim no-kill status.  If you believe that all pit bulls, for example, are inherently dangerous – or your local laws deem them to be and you are running a municipal shelter – then yes – you could claim no-kill status under the definition while killing those breeds of dog as a matter of course.

Others would claim that shelters would shift adoptable animals into their shelter and ship out animals that were less adoptable to achieve their no-kill status.

Ideologically, some people state that they would rather be ‘for’ something than against it.  So names are popping up such as “Humane City” or “Humane Rescue.” Some quote Mother Theresa who said “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”.

In other words, promote what you want and not what you don’t want.

Approximately two years ago, for example, Best Friends Animal Society changed its mission statement from “No More Homeless Pets” to “Save Them All.”

Do these changes make a difference?  I don’t know; I don’t have the data on this.  Presumably marketers and public relations experts have data to show increasing levels of support.

All I know is that New Zealand is definitely NOT a no-kill nation or a save-them-all nation.  We have a way to go to require responsible husbandry, pet ownership and the acceptability of adopting animals of all ages who end up homeless.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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What is a no kill shelter?

As the name suggests, a no kill animal shelter is one where all adoptable animals are allowed to live until they are found a forever, loving home.  Only severely ill animals, or those that are truly determined to be dangerous and unadoptable, are euthanised. 

The concept of ‘no kill’ has challenged the animal welfare sector as far back as the 1970s.  An article by Ed Duvin in 1989 in a publication called animalines is reputed to have been a major turning point.  The article characterised the animal welfare sector as a ‘slumbering giant’ and pointed to the need for a coordinated national effort with a greater focus on education and the valuing of each animal’s life.  It challenged the sector to stop killing animals in the name of mercy.

You can read a reprint of that article here.

I have just had the pleasure of working at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  This is an inspiring leader in the no kill movement and I look forward to bringing you more news about Best Friends and animal welfare in future blog postings.