The American No Kill Resolution
One hundred and fifty years ago, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and other humane organizations were founded to establish standards for humane treatment of animals, to promote their rights, and to protect them from harm. This marked the formal beginning of the humane movement in the United States.
The scope and influence of these early humane organizations were testament to the public’s concern for animals. It did not take long for them to set their sights on the abuse of homeless animals and cruel methods of killing by public pounds. It was common practice at the time for city and town dog-catcher to beat, drown, or shoot homeless animals.
Many humane agencies responded by entering into animal control contracts with towns and cities to ensure that the killing was done more humanely. But in taking on municipal animal control duties, these agencies abandoned their lifesaving and life-enhancing platforms when those beliefs conflicted with their contractual responsibilities. In the current era, where laws require killing by even more “humane” methods, these contradictions have become starker.
Increasingly, the practices of both humane societies and municipal animal control agencies are out of step with public sentiment. Today, most Americans hold the humane treatment of animals as a personal value, which is reflected in our laws, cultural practices, the proliferation of organizations founded for animal protection, increased per capita spending on animal care, and great advancements in veterinary medicine. But the agencies that the public expects to protect animals are instead killing some four million animals annually.
Lifesaving alternatives to the mass killing of animals in shelters have existed for decades. These lifesaving methods are based on innovative, humane, nonlethal programs and services that have proven that the killing can be brought to an end. Too many of these agencies, however, remain mired in the kill philosophies of the past, unwilling to or hampered from exploring and adopting methods that save lives. This is a breach of their public trust, a gross deviation from their responsibility to protect animals, and a point of view that we, as caring people and a humane community, can no longer accept or tolerate.
We assert that a No Kill nation is within our reach—that the killing can and must be brought to an end. It is up to each of us working individually and together to implement sheltering models that have already saved tens of thousands of animals in progressive communities. If we work together—with certainty of purpose, assured of our own success, with the commitment that “what must be done, will be done”—the attainment of our goals will not be far off.
II. No Kill Resolution
Whereas, the right to live is every animal’s most basic and fundamental right;
Whereas, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and other humane organizations were founded to establish standards for humane treatment of animals, to promote their rights, and to protect them from harm;
Whereas, traditional sheltering practices allow the mass killing of sheltered animals;
Whereas, every year shelters in the United States are killing millions of animals who could be saved, and are also killing millions of free-living animals who do not belong in shelters;
Whereas, life always takes precedence over expediency;
Whereas, the No Kill movement in the United States has successfully implemented new and innovative programs that provide alternatives to mass killing;
Whereas, lifesaving change will come about only if No Kill programs are embraced and further developed;
Whereas, failure to implement No Kill programs constitutes a breach of the public’s trust in the sheltering community;
Now, therefore, be it resolved that No Kill policies and procedures are the only legitimate foundation for animal sheltering; and,
It is incumbent upon all shelters and animal groups to embrace the philosophy of No Kill, to immediately begin implementing programs and services that will end the mass killing of sheltered animals, and to reject the failed kill-oriented practices of the past.
III. Statement of Rights
We acknowledge the following:
IV. Guiding Principles
No Kill is achieved only by guaranteeing the following:
· The right of sanctuary for aggressive dogs where behavior intervention cannot alter a poor or grave prognosis;
These conditions can be achieved only through adherence to the following:
V. No Kill Standards
The implementation of these lifesaving procedures, policies, and programs must be the immediate goal of every shelter, and animal control and animal welfare agency:
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