Sunday, August 31, 2008

Protecting animals from suffering

Call last night from the daughter of an gentleman in great distress because his elderly jack russell was in great pain to the extent that he wasn't able to pick the dog up. These situations always seem to happen at weekends and, quite apart from the increased financial cost of getting out of hours treatment, very few vets are now able to make home visits. Sadly this is a reflection of the times we live in, and the potential liability of their employers if staff members are attacked or injured during a call-out. We were fortunate that Royston Veterinary Centre is one of the few local vets who still do call-outs in their area and that they don't use another veterinary practice for their out of hours cover.
We keep statistics of the numbers of animals which are put to sleep at branch expense and these are reported annually in the combined Annual Report of the society, together with the numbers of animals rehomed or given veterinary treatment. Euthanasia tends to be seen as a situation where the RSPCA has failed to help an animal and I believe we need to challenge this. It certainly is a failure of animal welfare if healthy animals who should have their lives ahead of them are put to sleep. We have not failed when we ensure that animals who have reached the end of their natural lives are released from suffering and indignity instead of dying in pain and fear.

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