Animal Studies Journal


Under what conditions does the killing of a nonhuman animal qualify as euthanasia? In this paper, I elaborate an original nonprescriptive definition of nonhuman animal euthanasia which avoids the conceptual confusions surrounding the use of this expression. Such a definition imposes strict limitations on the notion of nonhuman animal euthanasia. On the one hand, the nonhuman animal whose life is ended through an act that legitimately qualifies as euthanasia is normally a sentient domestic animal. On the other, the painless and merciful nature of the termination of a nonhuman animal’s life is a necessary but not sufficient condition for it to count as a genuine instance of nonhuman animal euthanasia.