The law allows the taking of sick and injured animals for treatment. However, in the case of birds - only if the intention is that they are released when fully rehabilitated.
In most cases rehabilitation and release is beneficial to both the species and the individual animal. Sadly, circumstances do occur when this is not the case. There are examples where attempting to rehabilitate an animal may cause more harm to both the individual animal, or worse - to the species. We must consider:
If an animal has a contagious disease that may spread among our other patients.
If a released animal carries an infectious disease capable of spreading into the wild population of its own or to other species.
If an animal is not fit when released and may suffer as a result.
If it is a genetically distinct strain from those in the area where it is released, in which case its offspring may be less adapted to the local environment and may suffer as a result.
If it is non-indigenous species which may damage the ecosystem.
If it displaces a resident of the same species, to the latter's detriment.
It is possible to do harm. The above considerations must be addressed seriously by both our animal care staff and by our veterinarian advisor. Fortunately, there are many instances where treatment and rehabilitation are of benefit and we strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.
One of the hardest decisions we have to take, together with our veterinarian, is to end the suffering of a patient by euthanasia. The decision is never taken lightly and the patient’s welfare is the priority.
Practical and economic constraints dictate that not all patients can be treated. If a patient is assessed by a qualified veterinarian as requiring euthanasia as the most humane outcome for the animal, sadly this action is then taken. Our veterinarian at AlphaPet has written a document explaining the decision-making process in more detail.
CARING FOR THE WILDLIFE CASUALTIES OF WEST SUSSEX AND EAST HAMPSHIRE