Killing of animals is an important task to be performed by veterinarians. Killing decisions and their implementation often raise ethical questions. As a result of an interdisciplinary workshop targeting the subject «killing of animals» with veterinarians and ethicists, a three-dimensional decision scheme was developed. Whereas the first two dimensions are focused on the animal’s past and future life and are discussed with regard to life quality and life accomplishment (the «telos»), the third dimension incorporates the reason to kill and may integrate the concept of dignity. This form of dignity and the weighing of interests are applied to example scenarios and the resulting responsibilities of veterinarians and society are discussed.