Our dog died today.
Not from natural causes. She had reached the age of 15, old for a large dog (golden retriever), and for the last few months had obvious hip problems, mobility trouble. My parents tell me she had trouble eating the last few weeks, after I went back for college, and that she was whimpering and yelping a little in her sleep.
Today, they took her in to the vet’s office, and decided to put her down. They killed our dog. That’s what it is, no matter how you wanna dress it up. Our dog was killed by an affirmative act, against nature.
Usually, I don’t credit animals as being morally considerable. Lacking future-oriented mental states, their cannot actually give value to their continued existences, thus are morally considerable only to the possible extent that they do feel pain and thus value it’s absence.
But some animals, supposedly apes, dogs and dolphins among them, are said to exhibit some behaviours indicative of future-oriented mental states, of a self-concept. Is it right to make that choice for them? Hell, we don’t let human beings voluntarily make that choice, at least not with MD assistance (and rightly so, IMHO.)
My dad told me that when he was in college, he had a dog who was very sick of heart-worms, back before that was curable/preventable with a simple pill like it is today. At the vet’s he simply couldn’t bring himself to have the dog put down. The dog died that night anyways, and probably with more pain. That’s why my parents made the choice they did. But that dog of my fathers all those years ago died like nature intended. Our dog today was killed by human action.
Personally, I do not believe in euthanasia for the higher animals just as I do not believe in it for humans. But putting humans aside, what do you folks think about animal euthanasia?