Animal Euthanasia: Murder or Death with Dignity? | Teen Ink

Animal Euthanasia: Murder or Death with Dignity?

April 15, 2018
By Semin BRONZE, Ho Chi Minh City, Other
Semin BRONZE, Ho Chi Minh City, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Euthanasia. The word comes from a greek term eu thanatos, which means dignified death. When I was little, I thought that putting animals to sleep was super cruel and sad for my fragile young heart. However, as I grew up, I realized that not everyone thought the same. Animal euthanasia has been a hot topic and has caused enduring debates. You see, some people call euthanasia a “noble” or “dignified” act. However, is euthanasia really dignified? Do you call something “dignified” when you’re killing an animal without consent? Animal euthanasia is inhumane and should not be an option for owners.


To conduct euthanasia on a person, the person conducting euthanasia has to have the consent of the person being euthanized, with the exception of the person getting euthanized being unconscious or unable to express consent. However, should the same thing apply to your pets (the owners choosing to euthanize) who can't speak or express their thoughts? The answer is no (Kiesel). If society is currently all about animal rights, isn't killing an animal without knowing its consent hypocritical?

It’s like the movie How to Train Your Dragon- in the movie, Hiccup and his pet dragon try to convince the rest of their village that humans and dragons are equal and deserve to be treated the same. Dragons have rights too!


Hiccup and Toothless end up “heroically” murdering another dragon by the end of the movie to prove their point, which is you shouldn’t kill dragons because they are the same living creatures as humans.

Very heroic.

It’s obvious that the number of animals in shelters are growing. So, shelters these days usually choose the option to euthanize animals that are not taken to new homes in a matter of days. However, shelters that promote the no-kill option can gain useful merits, and one of them is a kindhearted image (“Ten Reasons to Consider”). By compromising a positive image, shelters are capable of exhibiting that they are working hard to save animals and send them to caring homes.

Just like customers buying organic products or cruelty-free makeup, the number of people who want to adopt pets from no-kill shelters is shooting through the ceiling. There are large groups of customers who want to take the less guilty route for adopting animals (“Ten Reasons to Consider”). This means that targeting these groups of consumers will boost adoptions for animals in shelters, which is great for everyone.

People sometimes describe animal euthanasia as "death with dignity". But should dignity be used to describe killing a friend, killing a companion just because you think you should? "Dignity" should not be used to describe killing an animal without its consent, and animals don't even understand the concept of "death with dignity" (Smith). They just look at it as death. "Death with dignity" is currently used as a slogan to justify animal euthanasia and to lift the guilt off people's chests (Anderson).

Although “death with dignity” suggests a positive vibe, the message that it subtly sends is quite opposing. "Death with dignity" should be used to describe when one doesn't give up and continues resisting no matter how distressing the battle against death is, and is a  phrase that should be not applied to Euthanasia (Anderson). Legalizing euthanasia and convincing people that euthanasia is "death with dignity" and should kill to end suffering is like saying that it is better to be dead than to live.


Another thing euthanasia does is that it gives doctors too much power. The fact that doctors can conduct euthanasia gives most doctors the idea that they are superior - that they are God (Anderson). One writer believes that euthanasia gives doctors“(...)the opportunity to play God and most doctors, since many now more regard their profession as an occupation and not a passion, will seize this opportunity” (Anderson). Therefore, they might abuse their rights by conducting euthanasia in whatever situation, because patients have to do what the doctor says.


My grandmother used to have a small puppy who got brutally hit by a farming truck. She carried her trembling companion to the doctor, and the doctor said that he has to euthanize the dog. Although my grandmother objected, her friend was killed anyway. My grandmother then suffered and grieved for months.


If you still wish to support euthanasia, I say that you rethink the phrase that is mentioned over and over - “death with dignity”. Using that phrase is like wrapping a grenade with pretty wrapping paper and finishing it up with a cute ribbon on top - the phrase sugarcoats the real severity of the issue. Some people may say that animal euthanasia is for the animals and the greater good - I think that those people who say that do so because they’re not the ones getting killed without clear consent. Shouldn’t there be a better way to comfort animals other than euthanasia? Shouldn’t animals deserve more rights than this? Shouldn’t people know that euthanasia isn’t the key for animals?

The author's comments:

I got inspired from my grandmother (I included an anecdote about her in my article) and chose to write about this topic.

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