September 29, 2006

Euthanasia: sugar coated extermination

As anyone who has read some of my articles knows, I have an aversion to the term "euthanasia" when referring to the killing of dogs that fit a certain physical profile.

Michael Bryant (Attorney General of Ontario), with the support of various Animal Rights groups, has repeatedly used the word to soften the impact of the Ontario breed ban.

I prefer the terms destruction, annihilation, extermination, eradication, or killing.

Various dictionaries define "euthanasia" as:

The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.
The act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.
The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.
The killing of someone who is very ill to end their suffering.

Friendly, healthy, adoptable dogs do not fit this definition.

I suppose you could argue that killing "pit bulls" is euthanasia, if you believe that "pit bulls" are a disease, a genetic abomination, a Frankenstein of the dog world. If you believe that, then you could argue that they suffer from the "incurable condition" of being a "pit bull" or that they are hopelessly "pit bull".

If, however, you have met, played with, or lived with one of these dogs, you already know that destruction and extermination are much more accurate descriptions of what is being done on a daily basis to these animals.

The source of the word "euthanasia" is the Greek "euthanatos" (eu + thanatos) meaning "easy death". It's supposed to mean that the act is performed in a painless manner.

Maybe we should use it to mean that the mass killing of dogs is EASIER than doing the real work of public education, effective enforcement, and deterrent punishment.

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