Why Do We Treat Animals More Humanely Than Humans?

When an animal, such as a dog, cat or horse is suffering with no hope of a cure, we would be considered inhumane if we did not have a vet put that poor animal to sleep and put it out of it’s misery.

So why is it that most people consider it a crime to allow assisted suicide for the terminally ill of the human species? Is there something about being human that makes suffering any less horrible or that should deny those who are faced with a difficult, painful death the same relief from suffering and misery that we would insist that an animal would have?

We allow ourselves to buy into this idea that human life is somehow so scared that it can’t be actively ended even if ending it would put a loved one, “out of their misery”. But, if we consider that life, that person, so scared, then why allow them to suffer needlessly?

The main driving force behind the prohibition of assisted suicide is religion. In the predominant religious of the West, Christianity and Judaism, killing is killing. The bible doesn’t make any allowances for according human begins the same “humaneness” we accord our pets, farm animals, or beasts of burden.

It seems to me to be a somewhat schizophrenic moral view. We supposedly value human life above animals, but we accord animals more mercy and kindness when they are suffering terminally than we do our fellow humans.

I know that if my wife or child were suffering from a terminal illness, I would do everything I could to put them out of their misery and end their suffering in just as humane a way as I would if it were my dog in the same situation.

If it were my dog, the vet would inform me that the disease was terminal and that my dog was suffering and that the humane thing to do would be to put him to sleep. In other words, anesthetize him, just like when you put someone under for surgery, and then once he was deeply under, give him the drugs to stop his breathing and heart. This is considered the proper and humane thing to do and, if I were to just allow him to linger and suffer, I’d likely be branded an unfeeling, uncaring monster.

But, if my child’s doctor told me that their illness was terminal, say late stage cancer, and that there was no treatments available, I would be given no such option. Still, my child is to die, just as the vet told me my dog was to. But my child’s doctor wouldn’t be able to offer to end my child’d suffering humanely, by anesthetizing them and then, once they were deeply under, give them drugs to stop their breathing and heart. No, all the doctor can legally offer is to “make them as comfortable as possible.”

So, I’m left watching my beloved child suffer in pain and misery, the only respite is so much pain medication that they are in a stupor, lingering and only vaguely aware of what is going on.

If this is considered unacceptable for my dog, why in the world should it be considered acceptable for my child? As a parent, I would much rather have them die painlessly and peacefully than in a drug induced fog, or in excruciating pain.

This is a tough question for some because their religion teaches them that taking another life is murder and that they are committing a sin. This rigid rule doesn’t allow for mercy. Where is the mercy of God in this? It is also a very selfish thing in that it forces you to put yourself above your loved one. To avoid sinning and possibly offending God, you allow yourself to accept the terrible suffering of a loved one that could be avoided.

When we can justify being more merciful to our animals than to our loved ones, something is seriously wrong with the morals of our religion. This is why we need to put rational thinking above blind faith. We do it for our animals. How much more important is it to do it for our fellow human begins?


5 thoughts on “Why Do We Treat Animals More Humanely Than Humans?

  1. I agree but I don’t think this has anything to do with religion. I work in a nursing home and if I “allowed” every older adult who told me they wanted to die to actually die, then nursing home stays would be cut in half and the money making business of healthcare would take a huge cut!

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