OK, I’m going to take two separate but somewhat related ideas and bring ’em together. Stay with me.

I watch a lot of Animal Planet and National Geographic. I love animals and am fascinated by non-human creatures. One of the shows I often watch is Animal Cops… a show that pretty much creates disdain for many humans and makes me want to adopt or foster every abused and neglected animal in the Western Hemisphere.

Sometimes the animals in the show are so far gone that it is determined they would be better off and it would be more humane to put them down then try to treat them. On the show they always say that the animal needs to be “Humanely euthanized”. It’s something I’ve lived through personally 3 times before with my own pets, and while it was something that still haunts and tortures me, I know it was the right thing to do.

Let’s look at the word Humane, which is defined as:

1. Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion: a humane judge.

2. Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns.

OK, so when an animal is suffering, assisting in their death is considered humane… KIND, COMPASSIONATE, a direct reflection of our values as humans.

Why is it, then, that assisting a human in their own death is not considered humane, it is criminal?! This is something that has bothered and bewildered me for quite some time.

When my grandpa was dying, it was especially difficult for my dad to watch. My grandpa was suffering… truly painfully wasting away, in a state of constant pain unless he was unconscious. Some life, right? At one point my dad said if it wouldn’t send him to jail, he would smother his father with a pillow while he was in a drug induced coma to put him out of his misery. It may sound harsh to you, but I know that it was said out of complete love and, well, humanity. My dad then tried to make me promise to do the same for him.

On a personal level, I have always felt like quality of ANY life was far more important that quantity. I have a living will and advanced directives that let my family and doctors know when I want life saving treatments to continue, to stop, and when to essentially “pull the plug”. What I’m saying is that my whole quality vs. quantity isn’t just talk,¬† I’m walking the walk. I’m also one of those people that realize death is just a part of life, and it will come to everyone. The when and how are the only variables. For me I can’t see any benefit from prolonging my life for a day, week, or month, if there is not a chance of recovery. Having blood pump through my veins and air go into my lungs is not what defines “living”, at least for me. However, if someone wants to fight to the end, I think that is wonderful and incredibly brave!

Ultimately, I believe it all comes down to choice. I believe that each person should have a say in what happens to themselves. It should be a personal choice when it comes to fighting for your own life, or being able to let go. I’m not saying that if someone is terminally ill, we just go in and kill them. What I am saying is that if someone wants to fight, it should be their choice. And if a person decides that they are ready to meet their maker, that too should be that individuals choice.

At what point did we as humans let the fear of death and medical advances that keep people alive regardless of a persons wishes put personal freedom, respect, and true humanity on the back burner?

I’d love for you to weigh in. Because I find it absolutely insane that we think of ending the life of a suffering animal compassionate and humane, but we cannot do that for our fellow-men.

Explore posts in the same categories: General Stuff

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