Should human euthanasia be legal as it is for cats?

Yes, human euthanasia should be legal in all countries provided there are solid checks and controls in place through carefully drafted legislation to prevent unethical behaviour.

Most cat owners have been through the tough, emotional journey of deciding when to end the life of a much loved but terminally ill cat.

Moe, a cat, after euthanasia
Moe after euthanasia –Photo: John Ziomek/Staff Photographer
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Cats have an advantage over humans at the end of their lives. The process teaches us a lesson. That lesson is that far too many terminally people suffer needlessly at the end of their lives because to end it in a controlled, humane manner is illegal – worse, in many countries it would be a serious criminal act if a person assisted another in ending their life.

This has led to countless stories of protracted distress from by both the dying loved and their loving carers.

I have alway felt that as humans do not have a choice as to whether they are brought into the world we should at least allow ourselves the right to control our exit in a pleasant, peaceful and non-violent way.

I believe that you will find that, in general, loving cat owners euthanise their terminally ill cats too late rather than too early for the obvious reason that they love them. They don’t want to say goodbye. And euthanising your cat is traumatic for the person. It depends on the person quite clearly but I am sure that almost all of the time the process is emotionally painful before and after for a considerable time. For the general public there is a natural resistance to euthanising another. After all it is killing.

The UK is struggling with legalising human euthanasia. It will happen. We are not there yet. I see that the states of South Australia and Victoria on the continent of Australia are wrestling with the same dilemma.

It should not be a dilemma. We make it one because we are programmed to survive. Humans don’t like to do anything to weaken their collective grip on survival. It is almost as if when one country permits human euthanasia the dominoes will fall and the human race will commence the slippery slope to Armageddon. The outcome will be the opposite. Less distress, less pain, less angst, less deception and less elderly people dying slowly in blocked hospital beds.

I say ‘deception’ because if we are honest with ourselves we already practice human euthanasia. Take any hospital or residential care home in the UK (and I’m sure the same applies in many countries) you’ll see secretive but routine human euthanasia taking place. They called it the “Liverpool Pathway” in the UK. This was starving elderly patients to death in hospitals. In care homes visiting doctors sensitively and with care give an extra strong dose of morphine to a man in his mid-eighties who has early dementia because that man asked him to. He asked the doctor to let him go north because he knew it was time to check out. Nothing is said but all is understood.

Humans should recognise the fact that they are better described as “human animals”. We are not above other species. We deserve the same caring exit as our cats.

Note: these are my views without reference to the views of others. What are your views?

3 thoughts on “Should human euthanasia be legal as it is for cats?”

  1. When my mother was dying from lung cancer she’d often said: I wish I could just take a pill and end it because this is not life. At the end, in the hospital, she refused a breathing tube and told “I want to die as soon as possible”. The rest was as you described – they gave her morphine drip. So yes, I agree with you, but, of course, there should be checks in place.

  2. I have always felt that keeping ANY creature alive through machines and stupidity. My Mom is a devout Catholic and I can remember more than 40 years ago she made the comment that “we are kinder to our animals than we are to our own kind.” Where do humans get the idea that they can impose their beliefs upon those who have no hope and live in constant pain or don’t even know who or what they are? If we can sign a release that states if we are in so much pain or riddled with disease we can request the shot that lets us go in peace and dignity. Who is to say that we need to continue a life that really isn’t?


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