Colorado veterinary leaders approve statement supporting the socially conscious animal communities and opposing the no-kill movement in animal welfare

09 Apr Colorado veterinary leaders approve statement supporting the socially conscious animal communities and opposing the no-kill movement in animal welfare

(Denver, CO) – In a unanimous move, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Board of Directors has approved a position statement supporting the socially conscious animal community movement and opposing the no-kill movement in animal welfare.

The statement comes after a no-kill organization running an animal shelter in Pueblo relinquished its license amid a state investigation into shelter conditions and high number of animal deaths.

“As veterinarians, we have a responsibility to prevent and relieve animal suffering,” said CVMA President Will French, DVM. “The idea of the no-kill movement is misleading, and often increases animal suffering with unintended consequences. A Socially Conscious Animal Community is a more positive approach to animal welfare that treats animals respectfully and alleviates their suffering. As a board, a socially conscious approach is more in line with our mission of enhancing animal and human health and welfare in the state.”

The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) strongly supports the socially conscious animal sheltering movement and opposes the no-kill movement in animal welfare. 

The socially conscious animal community movement strives to create the best outcomes for all animals by treating them respectfully and alleviating suffering. Fundamental goals of Socially Conscious Animal Communities are achieved through shelter and community commitments to:  

  • Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care
  • Place every healthy and safe animal
  • Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals and ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed
  • Align shelter policy with the needs of the community
  • Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions
  • Consider the health and wellness of animals for each community when transferring animals
  • Enhance the human-animal bond through thoughtful placements and post-adoption support
  • Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision-making, mutual respect, continual learning, and collaboration

Protecting animal health and welfare, preventing and relieving animal suffering, and promoting public health are causes every veterinarian supports. Policies and legislation that remove professional judgement and knowledge in animal welfare and public health are counter to those causes; we cannot and will not support them.

In Colorado, we have worked hard to build a thriving collaboration among animal shelters, animal welfare professionals, and veterinary professionals. Our established Colorado animal shelters have a reputation for doing amazing things in the name of animal welfare:

  • Collaborating with the veterinary medical profession to achieve high standards of care.
  • Collaborating between shelters to maximize resource use.
  • Reaching out to community partners to minimize the number of animals relinquished by people in need.
  • Reaching out to other regions to share expertise and provide new forever homes.
  • Finding placements for all adoptable animals. 

The no-kill movement increases animal suffering and threatens public health with unintended consequences: 

  • Animals in need are turned away from shelters because shelters are not able to meet required live release rates if they are admitted.
  • Animals languish in cages until they die to avoid euthanasia.
  • Dangerous dogs are placed in the community or remain indefinitely in shelters because of release requirements
  • Shelters can no longer accept lost or homeless animals from the community because cages are full of behaviorally or medically-challenged animals who cannot be placed in homes.
  • Animal welfare is at risk because shelters are beyond capacity-of-care.

CVMA believes a socially conscious sheltering approach provides greater benefits for animals and for the community; as such, we strongly support socially conscious sheltering and oppose the no-kill movement.

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The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) exists to enhance animal and human health and welfare and advance the knowledge and wellbeing of Colorado veterinarians.