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Millions of healthy dogs and cats are killed in American animal shelters every year. Shelter officials defend this mass killing as necessary to prevent animal suffering and to provide a public service. More animals exist than homes to take them in so a painless death is considered a gift. They call this “euthanasia” or “putting to sleep.”

Disposable Animals: Ending the Tragedy of Throwaway Petsby Craig Brestrup challenges this approach to serving the needs of animals and asks if it may not sabotage animal welfare’s message of respect for animal life.

When those working for animal welfare say, on the one side, that animals’ companions must take responsibility for their lives and that animals are not disposable commodities, but on the other side, they readily take those animals off the owners’ hands and into already full shelters and kill some to make room for the new-Are they not contradicting themselves and in the process facilitating irresponsibility and the disposability syndrome?

The heart of the book elaborates on this critique and offers sug gestions for alternative and uncompromised ways of caring for companion animals. Following this focus, Disposable Animals discusses other species and their treatment by our society and puts these practices within a cultural context. It concludes with a vision of a new and more inclusive ethic for human relations with animals and nature.

MuttShack Foundation for Animal Foster and Rescue promotes the creation of temporary foster homes to shelter animals about to be euthanized. Their rescuer (MuttShacker) rehabilitates and socializes them and helps them find a new home.