Euthanasia: Animals vs People

Dear Reader,

Perhaps this is a timely piece since Dr. Kevorkian died recently. But what actually made me think of this topic is a book we listened to, My Friend Flicka. The story is about a horse farm and the family that runs it. At a few points through the course of the story, injured horses are shot to be put out of their misery. The father and ranch-owner seems to take it as matter of honor that no horses should linger on in pain on his farm when they can be put down. It is out of his concern for his animals that he does this.

And it made me wonder why we see it as an act of benevolence to end an animal’s suffering, but not a human’s. The pro-euthanasia argument would be that if it is cruel to le an animal suffer, how much more should it be to let a human’s agony linger. In fact, the euthanasia movement calls it “dying with dignity.” The presumption being that to have a long drawn out painful death is undignifying. And indeed it can be quite humiliating to have one’s body fail one.

So why then do we count as murder to humans what is a mercy to animals? I think the answer lies in ownership. Animals, even wild animals, are under the care and dominion of people. God gave man authority over creation. We are allowed to use the animals for wool or eggs or milk or food. But we must also care for them. So we have the authority also to end their lives when we deem it necessary and merciful.

But we are not under our own authority. We are owned by another, by our Creator. He has given us authority over animals but we are still His, the sheep of His pasture and the flock of His hand as Psalm 100 says. And so even at the last moments, even in our misery and humiliation, we are not allowed to take our own lives. Instead we must trust in Him to end the misery at the time of His choosing. And we must remember that He too humbled Himself to become one of us, and suffered a very humiliating and painful death.

Nebby

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One response to this post.

  1. Yes. I think most advocates of euthanasia wouldn’t understand or accept your explanation, though.

    Reply

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