Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Euthanasia (Greek, "good death") is the practice of killing a person or animal, in a painless or minimally painful way, for merciful reasons, usually to end suffering. This article discusses animal euthanasia; a separate article covers euthanasia in humans.
An animal is euthanized when it is killed in a manner deemed to be humane, and in the case of a pet, in accordance with the emotional needs of the owner.
It can be done with inhalant agents, noninhalant pharmacologic agents (administered by a lethal injection), and physical methods.
Pet and livestock owners might decide to do this when the animal is suffering significantly due to injury or terminal illness, is overly aggressive, or when the owner/guardian no longer able to keep or care for the animal and is unable or unwilling to find a new home for it. Additionally, many stray and feral animals, in particular, cats, are euthanized due to the lack of adoptive homes. In this latter case, the simple presence of the animals may be considered objectionable by those who live or work nearby, and who trap the animals (or request the assistance of animal control services to do so) and surrender them to the local animal shelter.
Euthanasia is typically performed in a veterinary clinic or hospital, or in an animal shelter, and is usually carried out by a veterinarian, or a veterinary technician working under the vet's supervision.
Some in the animal welfare or animal rights movements consider the use of the term "euthanasia", with its connotation of being done to ease suffering, to be a misnomer when applied to the euthanasia of homeless (or soon-to-be homeless) animals that are otherwise healthy and free of behavioral disorders. Some breeders also kill puppies that do not conform to the standard of the dog breed to prevent the perpetuation of the perceived flaws or faults. However, most modern breeders simply neuter the animals and place them in homes as pets.
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