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A word about words

UPDATED: August 2, 2017

On this blog, AnimalSheltering.org aims to create a space where different voices can be heard and ideas can be discussed in a collaborative and collegial environment. Our blog this past week highlighted destructive language can be within our community, and it also generated some questions about the work that still needs to be done to help shelters that are still operating with outmoded policies that accept the killing of healthy dogs and cats, rather than pushing progressive programs and policies. 

Because the language on this subject is so divisive (as evidenced by the varied reactions to the blog) and because The HSUS has written extensively on the use of terms like “kill” and “no kill” in the past, we are removing the blog rather than distract further from the great work being done by groups of all sorts to solve the problem.

The HSUS embraces the goal of not killing healthy and treatable pets in shelters; the resources we share here on AnimalSheltering.org are often developed specifically to help local organizations meet that goal. As the HSUS has stated for years, when “no kill” rhetoric shames open-access shelters that are working tirelessly to give every animal a chance at life, it is destructive to our cause and disrespectful to animal welfare organizations burdened with an extremely difficult job. That was the point and intention of the blog. But national organizations and local animal welfare groups must be vigilant in getting rid of outmoded practices that allow or excuse unnecessary killing, and work to institute needed changes. We all work in this field to give a voice to the voiceless, and we should never give up the dream of a nation in which every adoptable dog and cat has a loving, forever home. On that, we can all agree.

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About the Author

Animal Sheltering is for everyone who cares about the animals in their community—from shelter directors and animal care and control officers to kennel staff, volunteers, and private individuals working as activists, breed rescuers, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians and more.