The dumbest appeal people make for legalizing assisted suicide is that we put animals down when they are suffering. This constantly comes up in the comments to online articles, and we have also heard it in testimony from people who should know better.
Some people do put their pets down out of compassion, but many are euthanized purely for reasons of convenience.
As pet owners who lost one beloved German shepherd to natural death last summer, after a long illness, and who are now accompanying an eleven year old German Shepherd as she slowly loses her ability to walk, we can also say with confidence that the state of palliative care for animals is not good. We cannot find a veterinarian in our area who is trained in hospice care, and there are only a few pain medications available to use, many fewer than we have for human beings. It seems obvious that there would be better end of life care if the culture of euthanasia were not universal in veterinary medicine and if people would not accept euthanasia as the only alternative offered by their vets. An animal would not be assumed to be doomed to death for having a bad back, when his owner, with a similarly bad back, is still able to access a wide range of treatments and pain relief, though one wonders for how long.
If you are still clinging to the idea that we are more compassionate to companion animals than to people, these sad articles, with their accompanying pictures, should open your eyes.
Let’s keep assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal, so human beings are not pushed towards death for someone else’s convenience.
In Vermont, let’s please tell our senators we want Act 39 repealed.