Policy statement – The use of euthanasia on animals in Greece

GAWF / Animal Action Hellas policy on euthanasia is that we are against its use on healthy animals, irrespective if such use is suggested in relation to addressing over population of stray animals in any circumstances. GAWF / AAH Policy position is to address the issue of population control of strays through promoting strategies and the delivery of ‘Capture, Neutering & Release (CNR)’ programmes.   

However, using euthanasia on stray animals is permitted under Greek law in certain circumstances, if they are considered dangerous, suffering from an incurable disease or incapacitated and unable to sustain life. The legal provisions are:    

Law number 4039/2012 (Government Gazette A 15) – ‘For home pets and stray pets and to protect animals from exploitation or use for profit’.

Article 9 – Capture and management of stray companion animals, Par. 4 states that: “If  stray companion animals are found to be dangerous or that they are suffering from incurable disease or that they are completely unable to self-sustain life due to old age or physical disability, and that preserving them in life is obviously contrary to animal welfare rules and that no local animal welfare association accepts to undertake their care, supervision and adoption process, then they are subjected to euthanasia.”

Law 4039/2012 and Article 9 relate to ‘stray companion animals’, but it does not specifically address equidae, although there are incidences of stray donkeys, mules or horses. It is the professional judgement and experience of GAWF / Animal Action Hellas Equine veterinarians that when cases of stray donkeys, mules or horses arise where euthanasia is considered the right course of action based on quality of life (QOL) issues, then the practice is to seek a unanimous decision from all parties involved, which normally would be local welfare groups, authorities (e.g. police, municipality), lay people etc, under the guidance of a vet. Where there is an owner of a donkey, mule or horse, normally only that owner is authorised to take a decision with regards to euthanising an animal, under the guidance of a vet.

Agreed by the GAWF Board of Trustees – 12 June 2019