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Why Euthanasia Is Sometimes the Kinder Choice

Written by PETA | April 13, 2012

The guardian of a seriously ill Pekingese called PETA. Her dog was clearly in terrible distress—he wasn’t eating or drinking, was panting heavily, and had great difficulty breathing. The diagnostics and treatment proposed by the veterinarian would have been costly and, more importantly, extensive. What should she do? Scrounge up the money for the procedures and put her beloved dog through them? She couldn’t imagine making the decision to “let him go.”

In these situations, where veterinary intervention is likely to lengthen the animal’s misery, a painless and dignified release from suffering is the best and kindest course of action, despite our own anguish at the coming loss. Although this dog’s guardian was distraught, she made the brave decision to spare him further torment.

Although a reluctance to say “Goodbye” to a cherished animal companion is normal and genuine, it is profoundly unfair—and often unlawful—to let him or her endure a protracted, miserable death because we can’t bear to let go. That grieving time will come, now or later, but adding to the sum total of suffering does not help. Despite what proponents of so-called “no-kill” shelters or those who profit from the abuse of animals say, there is such a thing as a fate worse than a painless, peaceful death, which is why euthanasia can be the reasonable and compassionate option.

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  • Mimi says:

    PETA is right about Euthanasia sometimes being the most passionate act one can do. I have rescued many cats and at least half had to be put down because they were so ill. I no longer cry when I lose one of my beloved cats. Why? I think about all those other animals’ out there that are tortured, abused, abandoned and I was able to give these cats’ love. At least they felt this for even a short time in their life. I blame the public not being responsible having their pet’s spay and neutered. Then there are people who hoard these animals thinking they are actually saving them. PETA rescues these babies from egregious situations and does their best to find homes. They are then criticized for having animals put down. This is not PETA’s fault, I would rather see them put peacefully asleep than live in a cage sick and abused. The one promise I keep when I have to make the choice to put a cat down, my face will always be the last thing they see before they go to sleep….

  • Lauren says:

    I have had to make this choice before and it is horrible. I also have taken in two stray animals:) The worst thing about euthanasia is being there on many occasions when it occurs, I am a veterinary nurse, and watching the owners go through this is horrifying and definatly the worst thing about my job 🙁

  • Dawn says:

    Even reading this, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with sadness. I know there was no choice, and my family of kitties and doggies (over the years) were euthanized. I am grateful I still have my almost 20 year old cat (a rescue of about 13) is frisky playful, and only snuggles me. We just added another cat 2 years ago and she bosses him around. He was of course a rescue from the streets. Somehow I wanted to hear I did the wrong thing.

  • Kim says:

    You go Elizabeth! I wish I had the support to go vegetarian at eleven. I’m almost 22 now and I feel like going vegan is the best decision I’ve made. Keep it up! I’m proud of you!

  • Kathleen says:

    Yes, this is a very, very hard thing to do when you have lived with your friend for so long. I have had to makes this choice more then once, sadly…but it’s the right thing to do when your animal is at that point, I always call the vet to come to the house when this needs to be done, it’a a little more money, but I would rather my friend go out with no stress at all and in the comfort of her home. I think this should also be an option for the elderly and terminally ill as well. I know if I was in that boat, I would want out.

  • iluvchickens<3 says:

    Im 11 and I never had a pet die (well, a fish) I have a very happy and healthy 2 year old dog!!! 🙂 I am also 90% Vegatarian. Already, I boycotted KFC and McDonalds ever since I found out about this site. Thank you, PETA for helping animals. Though I think your campaigns may be going a little overboard 😉 But still, KEEP GOING 🙂 Elizabeth♥♥