At Tenerife Horse Rescue we are committed to the well-being of every animal in our care. It can be incredibly heartwarming to see animals recover from an often horrible past to a fulfilling animal life enjoying freedom and happiness. However, the stories of our animals do not always have a good ending, sometimes we must make decisions that we would rather not have to make. Unfortunately, not every animal can be saved, which results in one of the most challenging aspects of animal rescue: navigating end-of-life decisions. In this blog, we aim to be open about the complex choices surrounding compassionate animal euthanasia decisions.
Our first and foremost consideration when contemplating animal euthanasia is the animal’s quality of life. Of course we want to prolong the quantity of life whenever possible, but not without considering their quality of life as well. One of the ways we consider an animal’s well-being is by using the five freedoms of Brambell. This theory has been the basis of animal welfare since the 1960s, when professor Brambell developed the five freedoms which an animal needs to experience well-being. These are:
The first one, freedom from hunger and thirst, is the most basic and self-explanatory. Our animals always have access to fresh water and an ppropriate diet to maintain full health. The other freedoms can sometimes be a little more complicated. We are constantly assessing our animal’s physical health, behavioural well-being and overall happiness. This involves consulting with our veterinarians to ensure a good evaluation. In instances where an animal exhibits severe behavioural challenges that compromise the safety and well-being of themselves and other animals around them, we explore alternative interventions. We will always make efforts to rehome an animal when we think a different environment would benefit their quality of life.
When an animal is facing a condition that causes persistent suffering, euthanasia becomes a humane option to prevent prolonged pain and distress. When animals have terminal illnesses or severe medical conditions, we always consider their quality of life. Our decision always involves considering the prognosis, and the long-term impact of the animal’s well-being. Recently, we sadly had to help two of our beautiful equines over the rainbow bridge, Ava and Luna. Together with our veterinarians, we had to make the painful but necessary decision to end their suffering. It is never easy, but we try to remember that they get to leave this world feeling loved, this is the very least we can give them.
At Tenerife Horse Rescue, we approach compassionate animal euthanasia decisions as a last resort. Our choices are always based on compassion, done through thorough assessments guided by professionals. This will always remain a difficult part of running an animal sanctuary, where we remain dedicated to our mission that every animal receives the care and compassion they deserve.
A very sad truth about euthanasia is that each time we humanely send an equine over the rainbow bridge it costs us over 400 euros per animal. It makes a hugely sad time even harder with financial strain. If you can help donate towards our bills, we would be so grateful. It is the only reason we can continue helping these animals.
~ Written by Carlijn