Why Getting to Zero instead of No Kill


Getting to Zero and the No Kill Equation include similar strategies and both aim to save all healthy and treatable animals in a community, a 90% save rate or more. 

G2Z was developed in Australia.  During a similar period, the No Kill Equation was developing in the USA. Despite being developed independently, they include similar strategies. This comparability shows the international relevance and effectiveness of these strategies.

The Getting to Zero Model has 4 key structures that help with the implementation of a range of approximately 40 strategies (which include the 11 No Kill strategies). 

The following list shows how the 11 No Kill strategies are included in the 4 G2Z structures:

G2Z 1. Community Desexing Clinic and 2. Shelter Clinic help achieve:

1. TNR Program

2. High volume low cost desexing

G2Z 3. A Rehoming Centre incorporates:

3. Rescue groups

4. Foster carers

5. Comprehensive Adoption Programs

6. Pet Retention

7. Medical and Behaviour Prevention & Rehabilitation

9. Volunteers

11. A compassionate director (see the 3 key principles of G2Z)

G2Z 4. Community Education, Legislation and Support Programs include:

8. Public relations/community involvement

10. Proactive redemptions e.g. Animal Management Officers returning animals to their owners and providing advice and support rather than impounding

The term “Getting to Zero” was chosen instead of the term “No Kill” to use in Australia because:

  1. No Kill is a term often used by individual shelters and rescue groups who adopt a policy of not killing/euthanasing any animals. To do this they can only take in animals when they have space. This is not the reality for pounds that have varying numbers of abandoned animals to manage, regardless of whether or not they have space. 
  2. The term Getting to Zero was coined to ensure that the aims and mechanics of the program are clear to supporters, donors, participants and advocates. The more information and the clearer picture of the true situation people have, the more progress can be made.
  3. The term “No Kill” implies that no animal is killed/euthanased, ever. This is not likely to be immediately attainable for pounds and therefore is not something local governments can commit to in their strategic plans. However committing to “Getting to Zero” is realistic i.e. moving towards the goal of ending the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs, acknowledging that to achieve this in a whole community it takes time, and that there  will be up to 10% of stray and abandoned animals who may be euthanased and killed i.e.

a) euthanased in the true sense of the word to relieve irremediable suffering from illness or injury; or

b) killed because they are irremediably aggressive (i.e. have attacked  or shown a propensity to attack  and severely injure people and other dogs and cats without provocation) or have such severe behaviour that living happily in a home as a family pet is impossible for them.

While there are some differences, Getting to Zero is not in competition with No Kill. G2Z fully supports the No Kill Equation strategies and the wonderful array of resources that this movement offers. There is much to be done, and we are all working to save lives.

Some differences between Getting to Zero and No Kill

Getting to Zero identifies “pet overpopulation” as more animals needing homes at any one time in a particular municipality or community than there are responsible homes offered for those animals. The No Kill movement denies that "pet overpopulation" exists because there are more people looking for new pets each year than there are shelter/pound animals available. However there are other issues that impact on this situation as there are also many breeders and sellers competing with pounds and shelters, and there is not a steady flow of abandoned animals which always matches the number of people looking for a new companion at any one time, particularly in cat breeding season. While the numbers of abandoned animals are only small compared with the number of pet owners, dogs and especially cats breed faster than the growth in human populations and households.  In saying that, Getting to Zero is aligned with No Kill in that these mismatches between demand and supply are solvable over time by working with the community to prevent unwanted animals being born; increasing adoption of pound/shelter animals, rather than breeding more; and helping people take better care of existing animals for their whole lives.

Getting to Zero supports legislation which sets standards to reduce the numbers of animals being abandoned, and poorly treated, and increase the numbers of animals who can be cared for to prevent suffering or death. This includes positive well-promoted legislation for breeders, Councils and the general public to encourage social responsibility and care for animals,  supported by programs to assist with compliance, such as owner training, information and guidance for breeders, desexing subsidies, desexing and microchipping incentives in registration and stray return/pound release fees and, where necessary, free services.  It is an ongoing process to develop and refine legislation and the implementation strategies are just as crucial as the legislation design itself. The No Kill Movement also supports legislation to require Councils to take responsibility for the prevention and care of unwanted animals. 

The Getting 2 Zero Model provides for a comprehensive and sustained ongoing cooperative improvement community- wide. It includes and benefits government animal management departments, pounds, shelters, rescue groups, pet shops, breeders, wildlife groups, animal welfare groups and caring individuals by preventing stray and abandoned animals and ensuring that those who stray or are abandoned can still enjoy life.