Webster's Dictionary defines euthanasia as " the act of killing a suffering individual painlessly for reasons considered merciful." I certainly concur with performing euthanasia under the conditions of the definition.
However, when I hear that 4 - 5 million dogs and cats are being euthanised in the United States every year in our shelters, I know they are using a misnomer. 95% of these animals are being killed- not euthanized. They are not suffering, they simply are. In other words, they are being killed because they are considered unwanted and/or there is just not enough space in the shelters to keep them. The major problem is pet overpopulation. We are a nation of pet lovers but when dogs and cats are being bred indiscriminately, without regard for the pet overpopulation problem, we are being callous and inhumane. Everyone loves puppies and kittens but every time a dog or cat is allowed to have a litter, the adult cats and dogs in shelters and rescue groups have less of a chance of finding a home. The easiest way to end this merciless killing is to spay and neuter our companion animals. Since cost is no longer a factor (due to the multitude of low cost spay/neuter clinics around the country), there is no plausible reason not to fix your animal. The second best way to stop this killing is to commit to your pet for a lifetime. Don't take him to the shelter because he barks too much, or because you are moving, or because you and your girlfriend are splitting up. In many shelters around the country, that is a death sentence.
I know I have blogged about this before but until we end this unmerciful slaughter of our companion animals, I will keep putting it out there. Please help by adopting your next "furry kid" from a shelter or rescue and be sure you spay or neuter your companion animals.