Unlike Agur, son of Yakeh, whom King Solomon supposedly credited with not understanding only 4 basic truths (dealing with the vectors of a bird’s flight, snake’s slither, ship’s glide, and a man’s path to the heart of a woman), I know if there were a WQ (Wisdom Quotient) test, I would draw a blank at a hell of a lot more than 4.
While I could do with some wisdom in my ripe old age, some truths — if that’s what they are — I really don’t want to get. I am just stubborn that way.
I will be in a minority, I bet, but hey, even the Supreme Court puts out a dissenting opinion. And though I am not nearly so lofty an authority as that, I have my soapbox, and I’m not afraid to use it.
And so, to bring this matter full circle, you know one of those things I don’t get? It’s putting your pets down. I have been fairly outspoken about my contempt for PETA’s sweeping euthanasia practices. And though I have received an initial response from one of PETA’s functionaries, espousing its humane methods of dealing with its rescuees, to my offer to interview its head and founder Ingrid Newkirk, to get PETA’s side of the story, so far, there has been radio silence.
But really, this isn’t even the point of this post. PETA has its own problems, and though it’s overweening intentions are probably good, touching on all of those accompanying issues — not the least its increasingly radical reputation that, even in my limited experience, makes other parties leery of doing business with this powerful non-profit — would take more than a single blog post to address. And to be honest here, more than a single blogger.
Here, all I want to talk about is our own pets — and our own individual choices. That, and the stand of every, even the most progressive constituency, on human euthanasia. Certain countries, and in the last couple of years, even a couple of states here in the US, have permitted the limited use of euthanasia. But the main and thus far uncontested caveat is that the euthanasia can only be performed if the victim has asked for it — and has retained a sufficient use of mental faculties to, if need be, prove to the courts that said procedure is being requested out of her / his free will.
I do not see our blind handicapped senile members of society being volunteered for the mortician’s services on a regular basis. Well, I don’t — with the exception of such sterling authority figures as Baroness Warnock, 84, of Britain. Duly concerned with the drain on UK’s nationalized health care put on it by its neediest recipients, the first government-connected expert to speak in favor of euthanasia, she really puts a foot in her mouth — and calls for something very similar to the Soylent Green premise — minus consuming the forcibly euthanized folks.
The senile, says the baroness, “have a duty to die”, but does not specify just how they are to acquiesce to the the procedure, limited as they are by the very condition that’s making them “eligible” for the “final solution” in Lady Warnock’s argument.
And the media, just as we journalists and bloggers like to do, is all over that — I would like to hope — slip of the tongue like white on rice. Yet that same media is keeping nicely quiet — where it is not outright supportive — on the subject of putting to sleep elderly, handicapped, or sick animals that still have a chance of leading some kind of life. And perhaps even overcoming their condition with enough dedicated medical treatment — or even simple TLC.
There is no medical insurance for pets to speak of. No good clinics. There are no high-tech machines in most cities to perform the necessary medical tests and human hospitals would never allow an animal in as a patient, the ending of one of my favorite movies, K-9, notwithstanding. There aren’t many procedures in use for pets with chronic disorders — which is ironic, because most of these life-saving techniques have been extensively tested out on our furry or snouted friends before ever crossing into the primate genus, let alone being introduced for human use.
So, what is it about the most innocent members of our society that makes them not just easy to abuse, but, also, easy to let go of under the guise of doing them a favor?
Would we really be doing a favor to our affectionate, scared, loyal, mostly healthy 17-year old furbaby Rhett by putting her to sleep because we cannot stand to see her puttering around the house walking into everything because she’s had… some kind of intercranial event, impossible to tell which without an inaccessible MRI test? Such indignity she’s been subject to! Such emotional hardship for us — and physical, too. After all, while she can sniff out the food just fine, she DOES need help finding water so that she can be kept hydrated.
How about another furbaby tearfully terminated because he lost control of his bladder and bowels, and it was ever so demeaning for him. Why, can’t have him feeling less than a man, can we?
I imagine the proprietors of nursing homes across the country going bankrupt if we spared our human relations the same indignity of disease or old age not yet correctable by science.
Yet, we do not. And the press, unless something drastically changes in our collective psyche, is, and would continue baying for blood if anyone truly pushed such an agenda forth.
- Why then it is all right to “let go” of not yet comatose pets without THEIR express permission? Because, you would say, they are incapable of giving it? Since the senile of Lady Warnock’s unfortunate speech lack the same quality, are they to, also, be relegated to the same social rung? How about little babies?
Just because someone lacks the capacity of having a say, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to have it if the circumstances permitted. As such, from my very own soapbox, I call for assuming a default “no” unless there is a signed living will — or a scientifically translatable meow begging the caring owner to hurry the non-human member 0f the family to his or her grave.