A veterinarian in Taiwan reportedly took her own life after becoming distraught from having to euthanize dogs and cats.
Jian Zhicheng, a veterinary doctor who worked at the Animal Protection Education Park in Taoyuan City, died five days after she injected herself with euthanasia drugs, according to Mashable.
"A [human] life is no different from a dog's; I will die from the same drugs that we use to put dogs peacefully to sleep,” Zhicheng wrote in a suicide note.
The animal shelter Zhicheng worked at confirmed she died on May 12 but did not release her cause of death.
In a statement to the Daily Mail, a shelter official explained their policy on euthanizing animals.
“Public animal shelters are allowed to carry out mercy killings when they are running out of space, according to Taiwanese law,” the official said. “Since this is an animal shelter, it cannot refuse to take in stray animals, when there are more coming in than leaving, and in order to maintain the standard of the living quality of animals here, this is allowed.”
The protocol is similar to animal shelters in the U.S. Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized -- 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats -- according to statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“The reality is that there are simply not enough homes to go around for the millions of unwanted animals who are euthanized every year,” Elisa Allen, associate director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the Daily Mail. “It's left to shelter workers like Jian Zhicheng, who love animals so much, to do society's dirty work because so many people fail to do the one thing that could alleviate the animal overpopulation crisis: spraying and neutering animals.”
Allen added: “We offer our deepest condolences to Jian's family and urge all compassionate people to spay and neuter as well as always adopting companion animals from a shelter, rather than buying from a breeder.”