2008-02-05

Mercy for Pets But Not People?

I was talking to some friends and somehow we started talking about pets and how painful it is to have to put them to sleep when they get old and sick. Everyone agreed that putting a pet to sleep is one of the most difficult things in life. And everyone agreed that it is the right thing to do. It's almost universally viewed as kind and humane to put an animal out of it's suffering and let it rest in peace.

Interestingly enough, we don't feel the same way about people. Very few people seem to think it's ok to help an elderly or sick person pass on. In fact, most people seem to think it's most definately not ok to do that.

I can't help but wonder why the same action is sometimes viewed as merciful and sometimes it's viewed as inhumane. None of my friends could adequately explain why they believed the way they did - they just all thought it was different somehow. Is this something that we learn as we grow up, or something that inate within us?

Thoughts?

3 comments:

Linda said...

Bill
I am reading a book by a Jewish author, "Shattered Tablets" about how we disregard the 10 Commandments at our peril. In his review of Thou shalt not murder, he has an interesting take on euthanasia and where it may lead to. I'll share it with you later.
Linda

Bill A said...

I'd like to see that.

I'm not sure I believe that euthanasia is right. But I am pretty sure that at having machines keeping you alive for long periods of time is not living either. At some point, it has to be clear that a person is not getting better and is not going to get better and keeping them alive on with a roomful of machines is not really living.

Kimmi said...

but they keep them alive with all the machines in hope that they will be able to really live again but i do agree that there does come a certain point where it's just like ya kinda know it's there time to go