Euthanasia vs. Killing
Euthanasia is an act of mercy in which an animal that is suffering from a painful disease, or condition that has no cure, is specifically put to death or allowed to to die. This act is usually accomplished in the most painless way possible or, in the case of passively allowing the animal to die, she is given pain medication to ease suffering.
When an animal is killed for any other reason than in an act of mercy, this is not euthanasia, even if the procedure is followed the exact same way. In other words, an animal is only euthanized when she is untreatably injured or terminally ill.
In the case of cats killed in shelters and animal pounds, the reasons are often anything but to ease suffering from illness and pain. Today’s facilities are overrun with strays, and in order to make room for new ones, many are often put on “death row” where they have a limited amount of time to be adopted before they are put to death. This could be anywhere from three days to a few months. Though this may serve the shelters purpose, it does not best serve the millions of healthy cats destroyed needlessly.
When it comes to the animals put to sleep, put down, or destroyed in these places, it is not an act of mercy, it is killing.