Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Mawkish1983
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Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:43 am

I do not want to discuss whether animal euthenasia for a suffering animal is against the first precept; my mind is already settled on that issue.

I am, however, confused by the issue of whether or not it is humane to end a suffering animal's life. Is it more humane to let it live and suffer? Human euthenasia is illegal in almost all countries, as far as I'm aware, so there is clearly a double standard here.

PETA even suggest a it is more humane to end an animal's life than to let it suffer the misfortune of being unable to find food: http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-an ... te-option/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

SarathW
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:57 am

Control freaks want to control everything in the world except their own life!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:04 am

Greetings Keith,

As I see it, the principle of not killing is based upon the premise that the being in question holds their life as being dear to them.

For a being in a great deal of pain, in great misery and distress in each living moment, I think such a being might be inclined to relinquish that sense that their life is dear to them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

Mawkish1983
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:12 am

Non-existence being preferable to a painful existence? I wonder, if animals had the cognitive ability to comprehend non-existence, would they still relinquish that sense that their life is dear to them? Is that why euthenasia is [almost universally] illegal for humans?

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:19 am

Greetings Keith,
Mawkish1983 wrote:I wonder, if animals had the cognitive ability to comprehend non-existence, would they still relinquish that sense that their life is dear to them?
I believe they can comprehend non-existence.

I used to have two dogs - Penny and Jumble. They grew up together and at about the age of 7, Jumble (who was the good one) got hit by a car and died. Penny, previously the naughty one, was devastated at the loss of Jumble, and over the weeks that followed she would sometimes wail pitifully. From the moment Jumble was hit by the car, Penny gave up her naughty ways completely. It was as if she had seen the dangers of injury or non-existence that could befall her if she behaved other than instructed, and remarkably became as well behaved as Jumble, before her.

It doesn't quite address your question directly, but it might challenge the assumptions upon which it's pinned.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Bundokji
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:24 am

I think our answer would depends on how we view pain. If we view the pain of an animal as "needless" then we might interfere and kill the animal, but if we view the pain as an "inevitable suffering" and that its a part of his learning and/or its a result of the animal's past misdeeds, then we let the it die naturally.

Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Ben » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:18 am

Hi Keith,
A few years back I was put into a very difficult position when a beloved pet became paralysed at the hip, was in excruciating pain and lost control of its bowels. Having our dog put down was one of the hardest things I have ever done and it wasn't a decision I made lightly. As for 'humane' - I don't like using the word because it means different things to different people. What I did I did because there was no other viable option. The experience gave me an appreciation for the dilemma faced by everyone facing difficult, intractable and morally fraught situations.
With metta,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
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but great rivers flow silently.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:03 am

I think it may be "humane", as that is part of what the word means. Most people who use the word would say it is "inhumane" to allow the prolonged extreme suffering of an animal. As you say, whether it is in accordance with the dhamma, or breaks the first precept, is another question entirely.

Personally, I would (and have) agree to an animal being painlessly destroyed if it had no possibility of escape from extreme suffering. I don't feel easy with this - far from it - but I have done it with my good intentions uppermost in my mind.

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Mr Man
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Mr Man » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:25 am

Hi Mawkish1983

I think an important point is that whatever the decision it always comes from our own perspective. We can never know the other beings perspective. Perhaps we could say we are acting in the animals best interest as we perceive it.

Most of us humans have taken on the responsibility for the life animals, which most probably has both positive and negative repercussions for both parties.
Last edited by Mr Man on Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by seeker242 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:53 pm

I think a good way to answer this is to look at what no animal euthanasia looks like. What are the consequences? There are jain animal shelters in India that never euthanize any animal no matter what. They have extremely injured animals, like paralyzed dogs/monkeys, those with multiple broken limbs/open joints, rabies cases are left to die of natural causes. Is it "humane" to keep a rabid dog in a cage and let it die on it's own when it has no chance for any recovery?

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:04 pm

Wow, a lot of responses since I last checked - too many for me to reply individually to. Please don't think me rude for not replying, I read every post and I can see the justification for animal euthenasia being considered not just 'less inhumane than the alternative' but also positively humane under certain conditions. Thank you all for your input.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:04 pm

There is no if and butts.
Killing is a no no.
Any killing is done with attachment aversion and ignorance.
If you have to kill your pet please do so.
But do not try to justify it.
Trying to justify the wrong act is worse than the act itself.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by daverupa » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:18 pm

A cat is run over in the road; bisected and dying, not dead yet; incredible, excruciating agony, the look in the cat's eyes...

Ending that life is not killing it; the car did that. It is fully humane to expedite that inevitability for the sake of pain alleviation.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by DNS » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:07 pm

:goodpost:

I like how you mentioned the car did the killing, that is already done, the one carrying out the euthanasia is just ending the severe pain to the animal. It was not the intent to kill, but rather to compassionately end the pain and suffering.

Speaking just from the humane point of view as called for in the OP, clearly euthanasia is the compassionate choice. Why let the dog, cat, or other animal suffer if the illness or trauma is clearly terminal, no chance of recovery and the pain is excruciating? No being lives forever, not a cat, dog, or human; we all die one day so there is no need to needlessly suffer in pain if the case is terminal with no chance of recovery.

As regards the First Precept, that is another issue altogether discussed here many times . . .
Now at that time a baby boy was lying face-up on the prince's lap. So the Blessed One said to the prince, "What do you think, prince: If this young boy, through your own negligence or that of the nurse, were to take a stick or a piece of gravel into its mouth, what would you do?"

"I would take it out, lord. If I couldn't get it out right away, then holding its head in my left hand and crooking a finger of my right, I would take it out, even if it meant drawing blood. Why is that? Because I have sympathy for the young boy."

(Majjhima Nikaya 58)

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by perkele » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:18 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:As regards the First Precept, that is another issue altogether discussed here many times . . .
Now at that time a baby boy was lying face-up on the prince's lap. So the Blessed One said to the prince, "What do you think, prince: If this young boy, through your own negligence or that of the nurse, were to take a stick or a piece of gravel into its mouth, what would you do?"

"I would take it out, lord. If I couldn't get it out right away, then holding its head in my left hand and crooking a finger of my right, I would take it out, even if it meant drawing blood. Why is that? Because I have sympathy for the young boy."

(Majjhima Nikaya 58)
What does that quote have to do with the first precept?

As regards the rest of that post: I don't agree with it.

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