Permanently disabled vs Euthanasia

If a wild animal does not make a full recovery then it cannot be released, as only a perfectly healthy animal can survive in the wild. This applies not only to physical injuries and illness, but also to psychological problems such as imprinting or humanising. In this case the future of the disabled animal must be very carefully assessed. Many organisations have different policies on this. Ours is to judge each case individually, based purely on the quality of life the animal will have if kept in captivity. An animal that has lived its life in the wild and learned to fear humans will rarely settle to become comfortable in their presence, while an animal which has been hand reared may adapt better. Some species also adapt better to certain disabilities than others depending on their natural behaviour. As in all other aspects of rehabilitation, it is the individual animal’s welfare that must be considered first, over its rarity or desirability to be kept. For example, a common Mallard duck with an irreparable broken wing will live a relatively normal life on a private lake protected from predators, while a rarer Peregrine Falcon with the same injury living on the floor of an aviary will not. As such we do not have a “no kill policy”. If a disabled animal will have an excellent quality of life in captivity then a suitable home will be found for it. If due to its behaviour or the nature of its disability the quality of life would be compromised by being kept, then it is more humane for the animal to be euthanized.

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