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chelle21689's avatar

In your opinion, what is the difference between euthanizing a suffering/terminally ill human vs. euthanizing a suffering/terminally ill animal?

Asked by chelle21689 (6898points) April 17th, 2010

Let me know and be detailed! =)

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31 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

The length of the prison sentence. It is not the same in that an animal has not got laws protecting it. Many animals are probably put down that could be cured or helped, and that is regretful. If the same happens to a human is it horrific. I feel that if the person who opts for suicide doesn’t waver in that desire, and they are definitely beyond help, then they should be allowed to do as they wish. Animals can’t make a choice – we have to do it for them, and it can be an agonising decision.

My mother had cancer and committed suicide. She did it once the cancer reached her spinal cord and brain. She said goodbye to most of the family and then died that night. I held her hand as she died.

Your_Majesty's avatar

It won’t be different. We’re animals after all.

dpworkin's avatar

Humans have a choice, which makes it a more highly moral act if one euthanizes a human.

Ron_C's avatar

One is legal and humane the other is an example of religious cruelty creeping into the law. I just hope that I find a compassionate doctor when my time comes.

Of course the last thing I want to feel before I die is surprise.

janbb's avatar

I would hope that we get to the point in my life and deathtime that euthanizing terminally ill people is as acceptable as euthanizing animals, as long as we can insure that the wishes of the dying person are fulfilled. I remember my vet saying as we gently and lovingly put Prince to sleep that he wished we could do the same for humans as he watched his father die an extremely long and painful death.

Pandora's avatar

I think some worry that some people will give up hope of trying possible cures that may be extremely painful and opt out for euthanasia. Plus some may have the choice taken away from them from family members who simply don’t want to take care of the dying person.
Then there is the matter of children who may not be able to consent and the parents each deciding a different out come. One parent wants as much time as possible and the other doesn’t and thinks its murder.
At the very least I think that for adults they should have the option of putting it on their drivers license. Euthanasia is ok if I am terminally ill or so busted up that my mind is gone.
Then no one can fight over it being done. If the person opts out than that is their choice.

lunabean's avatar

i think if a person wants to be put out of their misery they should be able to. i don’t think people can just say “hey, he’s got a only month to live so…why not just get it over with instead of making him wait?”

MagsRags's avatar

If you’re not a human, Sarah Palin would be happy to assist you. Actually, if you’re an animal, she’d rather you were healthy and put up a bit of a fight first.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

People euthanize their pets when the cost of maintaining their lives becomes greater than the owners desire to pay. Some owners will care for their pets in a hospice sort a fashion, keeping their pets as comfortable as possible until the end. Most pet owners don’t do this though because the cost is prohibtive.

Humans don’t have that option of imposing euthanasia on others because the other human still has free will.

Taciturnu's avatar

There is none, in my opinion. I hope someone would fulfill my wishes if that were what I chose.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The issue of assisted suicide or euthanasia is slippery. When does the right to die become an obligation to die? The right to die by ones own hand should never be interfered with in any way. My life is my own property, to dispose of as I see fit. There should be no outside pressure, either for or against taking one’s own life when the quality of becomes unacceptable in the opiniion of the individual. In the issue of assisted suicide, it has to be very clear that this is truly the individuals desire.

MagsRags's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land agree completely when talking about physical illnesses. When it comes to psychological illnesses the slope is even slipperier since suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of the illness that may respond to treatment.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@MagsRags But what if the individual doesn’t want treatment? Some might prefer to die rather than having their minds tampered with by chemicals or “therapy”. Even the mentally ill own their lives and shouldn’t be interfered with unless their behaviour represents a physical threat to others.

MagsRags's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I know you have dealt with some of these issues personally and I think still are. I don’t have enough personal experience to feel justified in expressing an opinion. Except bet you could see that coming with physical illnesses, at a certain point, it’s safe to say that the person isn’t ever going to get any better. I haven’t seen that to be true with mental illness. It seems that there are a lot of folks walking around who have attempted suicide at a time in their life when they couldn’t imagine ever feeling any better. And yet many of them do feel better, some with and some without psychiatric treatment.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@MagsRags Granted, there are those who have made feeble attention-seeking gestures. Those who have truly had enough tend to do the job correctly. What I oppose is society interfering with my natural right to do as I please with my life as long as I harm no other. An individuals right to remove himself from this world should be repected, regardless of state of mind. It’s the most basic human right, to do with your own body as you see fit, even to the point of destroying it. Forcing a person to live who does not wish to is a terrible violation, similar to rape, torture or enslavement.

syzygy2600's avatar

I hope you’re not trying to compare an animals life to a humans, because that’s pretty disgusting and devaluing to human life.

jerv's avatar

Humans can give informed consent. In that though, animals are no different than human children, which means that children should have the same rights as animals unless we wish to impose or continue a double standard.

I think it safe to say that Stranger and I are in agreement here and he has said most of what I have to say on the issue for now, except for a directed comment.

@syzygy2600 Opinion. Some people look at what their fellow humans are capable of and consider human life less valuable than human life. More accurately and more common is the belief that human life is over-valued out of selfishness. I mean, look at the way people drive and it’s apparent that most people on the road consider their own life more important than the lives of anyone else. Look at the average American’s silly belief that nothing bad can possibly happen to them since they are special.
I won’t say what I believe nor belittle you for your statement, but I will say that I can see how others may believe otherwise and be perfectly correct to do so.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@jerv Brilliantly said, and much more succinct than my ramblings. +GA

SeventhSense's avatar

The interest of money, cost to the state and other personal concerns that often accompanies a human’s death.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

In medical cases, all should have the right to pain-free palliative care or a peaceful exit. Their choice. I personally have executed the strongest possible worded advance care directive that my lawyers think would be respected. This is to cover the possiblity of a stroke or some such where I may be physically unable to pull thr trigger to end my suffering. The directive requires that I be released from the hospital nsetting, that no artificial life support be used, and if used must be immediately disconnected, that I specifically reject life prolonging treatments (including feeding and hydration) where there is no reasonable hope of returning to an independant life.That I must be returned to my home and the means of ending my life be made available to me. Another may have to load and cock the weapon, but it is my own finger that will release the trigger. This detailed document was executed while in full possession of my faculties and attested to by two licenced mental health professionals. To further enforce the agreement, my estate is instructed not to pay any medical bills deemed to be associated with keeping me alive as a vegetable. They can monitor for a flat brain wave and are welcome to harvest whatever organs may help benefit others, but may not maintain me in a persistant vegetative state.. They can take whatever organs that might help others and bury what is left next to my beloved Meghan.I strongly refuse to be a burden on others or drain resources that could be usefully employed to truly benefit others. My greatest fear is being struck down by a stroke, etc. that leaves me unable to end it with my own hand.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The big difference is the method. With an animal, it is acceptable to slit their throat with a rusty knife, but with humans even the most humane methods can land you in jail.

Hexr's avatar

I think the reasoning behind it is the same (to end pain), but the criteria for implementing it is different. Obviously one of the major differences is choice, and humans can choose for themselves whether they want it or not. Considering those differences, euthanasia with a human is a much more complex decision. The ability to give consent is not always black and white (mental capacity), and of course there are things like living wills, and disagreements between family members. But overall, it’s the same, I believe, and I think people should have the option for euthanasia if they have specified it in a living will or have been determined to be of the mental capacity to make such a big decision.

Having said that, in both cases, it should be done in a humane manner that is comfortable for everyone involved, especially the person/animal receiving it. I do not believe animals to be lesser beings than humans, and as such, they should not be treated different.

jerv's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Not in many places. And even in those places where it is legal, it’s often not done, at least not with anybody with an ounce of compassion.
Personally, I’ve had to put a couple of cats down and I had it done by the animal shelter with a hypodermic. Seems more humane than yanking a feeding tube to me.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@jerv I was thinking of farm animals, not pets. During the drought here, many of my grandfather’s sheep broke into a lucerne paddock. It was a fatal mistake for the sheep, because it made their stomachs inflate so that they were visibly larger and their skin no longer had any give in it. My grandfather had to kill them to prevent an excruciating death, and the knife was all he had handy. Of course there are better methods, but I doubt anyone with a heart would want the sheep to suffer longer while a better method was set up. When my cat had liver failure (I think) though, we did that the humane way.

jerv's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh True, true. Of course, most farmers I know have at least one gun…

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@jerv Oh he has more than one, but they all stay locked up at the house so it would’ve taken quite some time to run all the way to the house, get the gun and run back. We didn’t have the 4-wheel motorbike with us at the time.

syzygy2600's avatar

No, it’s wrong. If you would choose to save the life of a dog over the life a human, especially a child, you are a sick person and should seek help.

MagsRags's avatar

@syzygy2600 I think you’ve misread the question and the overall discussion. This isn’t about prioritizing whether to save the life of a pet vs a human being. It’s about comparing end of life decisions as they apply to animals and humans.

downtide's avatar

I think the only difference is that the vet who euthanases an animal is not afraid that the animal’s family will then try to sue him.

Ron_C's avatar

@downtide concise and to the point. Exactly right.

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