Euthanasia is one of the methods humans use to control many animal issues in our society. But is euthanization a solution, or is it a bandaid over the real issues? Are there no other avenues we could take that are more humane? Surely we can find an option that’s respectful to both the animals whose lives and the veterinarians must perform this act. Many say that euthanasia is violence and should not be an option in most cases. But what are their arguments, and how did they come to this conclusion? Here are seven reasons why animals should not be euthanized.
1. Because animals are living beings with their own rights
Although it may not be law, every animal on this planet has innate rights, just like human beings do. However, these rights don’t protect them from other animals, but from human actions and activities. Protection from animal abuse, punishment to those who do harm, the right to live in their habitat, and the right to live and thrive are all part of their rights. These rights somewhat reflect the rights of humans but on a lesser scale. Euthanasia is a direct violation of those rights because no animal has ever consented or agreed to die.
2. The killing methods are not humane
When an animal has to be killed, there are several state-mandated ways to perform euthanasia. These methods were created to kill animals without causing them any pain or suffering. But the actual practice is not always painless.
While euthanasia-licensed veterinarians try to adhere to euthanasia standards and guidelines as well as they can, it is not always successful. Those who use gas to euthanize animals do say that some animals appear to suffocate when the gas was supposed to put them to sleep.
Veterinarians who use IVs or shots sometimes aren’t able to slide the needle into the vein or muscle correctly, and they hit the animal’s bones or go through the vein. These mistakes cause an amount of pain in an animal’s last minutes of life.
3. Sterilization works much better than euthanasia
When you sterilize your animals, you prevent them from creating new animals. Although people love to have puppies and kittens as pets, there are quite a few people who will abandon them after they have grown out of their childhood. It is these abandoned animals that end up in pounds and animal shelters hoping to be adopted. If no one comes to save them from the shelter within 30 to 90 days, they are euthanized.
If anything, it should be the humans who are abandoning these animals that should be punished with prison time. Even though many places allow owners to surrender animals without a fee, people who abandon their animals don’t care and won’t drive to these places.
Besides preventing euthanasia by controlling the population of animals in cities and on the street, there are several health benefits linked with sterilization.
Aggressive animals can become less after sterilization, especially if they are males. The risk of uterine and breast cancer drops significantly in female animals, especially dogs. Also, females were no longer to get their period or go to heat.
4. People euthanize their dogs for any reason
If you go to Google and search “boyfriend euthanized my dog” or “girlfriend put down my cat,” you will find horror stories of unempathetic people asking vets to kill animals just because they don’t want them around. Some even do this to get back at the owner for something they did. There are places where vets can euthanize animals for any reason. If nothing else, there needs to be law throughout the country that says there must be a valid reason for a dog or cat or bird to be put down. No one should be able to take a perfectly healthy, happy animal and kill it because it is an inconvenience now.
5. It’s a form of population control
The best form of population control is sterilization. It prevents more animals from being created and improves the health of many house pets. However, sterilization is nothing like euthanasia. Sterilization prevents pregnancy permanently, but euthanasia is the killing of a live animal. Animals who have lived, have friends, have favorite foods, and enjoy sitting in the sun, they suddenly have their life ripped away from them. Even if they are on the streets or abandoned, this is no way to treat a living being. Humans are not trying to solve the homeless crisis with executions, but by finding these people a home and a job. So, if animals are abandoned, they need to live in shelters and sanctuaries until caretakers find a home.
Another way to control the population of animals without relying on euthanasia is to limit the number of breeders in a state. Many purebred puppies and kittens are created by breeders who are profiting from human demand. By limiting the number of breeders, we can limit the availability of pure breeds, ensuring that all animals that are bred can immediately find a home. Unlicensed breeders should get prison time of at least 20 years, and all of their animals will be sheltered and never put on sale.
6. It is the death penalty, but an animal’s only crime is human laziness
Humans may be the dominant species on the planet, but that does not mean we should dominate over the very creatures that we share this Earth. One part of our domination that we exercise upon animals is the power to say when they should die. Only humans have this power, and we even extend this power upon other humans via capital punishment. But the reasons we kill animals are not the same reasons we kill humans.
We euthanize animals for the crime of being an inconvenience to human beings. We no longer want to take care of them, and there are too many of them. Both of these have already been discussed above. But animals are killed because humans no longer find them pleasant to be around.
The first dogs to be euthanized by the pound are usually ones that are incredibly aggressive and violent. These animals are unpleasant to be around. While aggressive animals are unsafe to roam around a city, killing them because of their bad behavior is immoral. Many dangerous animals learn this behavior from humans. Many are abused and abandoned, while some dogs are bred to be aggressive for human entertainment. Some animals don’t trust humans in general, but they usually act better with their kind.
We do not kill humans for being too aggressive. We create programs and therapies so they can receive help for their anger issues and try to keep it under control. So aggressive animals, especially cats and dogs, must obtain their own version of anger therapy and rehabilitation.
7. We have the resources to provide for them
No matter how you feel about the amount of taxes that you pay, I think most Americans can agree that a state’s collective taxes are not utilized enough to help the public. And it is usually public services that are cut first if there is a budget crisis, yet our taxes never go down. Taking care of animals is a part of those public services. Not just patrolling the streets for wandering animals, but providing affordable sterilization, animal outreach, and animal abuse shelters are all paid for with our taxes. But these critical places where animals receive help always need more funds.
Whenever the state needs funds for public services, they raise our taxes. On the other hand, our taxes don’t go down whenever they cut a public service’s fund. The money dedicated to taking care of animals is diverted somewhere else and is no longer available for them.
But this problem doesn’t just happen to animal services but for the homeless, school services, and road maintenance. So it seems like public services, in general, are always sacrificed first. But when was the last time a senator or mayor cut their salary? Yeah, we couldn’t remember either.
What’s the alternative?
One reason we should euthanize: they have a disease, and the treatment would be painful and take away their autonomy.
If an animal has cancer, seizures, a brain parasite, rabies, Lyme disease, or another extreme disease that would require them to go through intensive treatment with no hope of recovery, a severe drop in quality of life, euthanasia is an option. Surgery, chemo, medication with troubling side effects, and strong negative impact on their life are all reasons why owners choose to put down their pets.
Vets who diagnose animals with these diseases recommend that the animal should be kept as comfortable as possible. But how comfortable can they be when they are in chronic pain or are experiencing vomiting, sleeplessness, lethargy, and depression? A pain-fill, muted life is no way to live, especially if the prognosis is fatal.
Although the decision would be difficult, many caretakers and owners would choose to put their animal down then make them suffer a long and painful life with no hope of recovery at the end.
It seems that euthanasia is not a real solution for any issues that animals face. There are better alternatives humans can engage in two provide a happier and safer world for the animals with which we share this planet. If we were in their fur, we would want them to do the same.