One of the animals we rescued was euthanised recently. We adopted her after her ‘owner’ decided it was too expensive to treat her arthritic condition — a condition directly resulting from the inappropriate enclosure she was kept in for may years — and requested she be euthanised (i.e discarded). The final year of her life was much more enriching (as many photo’s attest), succumbing, in the end to, metastatic nodules in her lungs and liver and lots of thoracic fluid, leading to respiratory distress. Whislt enriching, her passing has invoked past thoughts on whether we really do enough for the animals whose lives we dictate and the moral dilemma those of us who try to help regularly face.
On her death, I questioned whether we could have done more for her whilst she was alive, with these being thoughts I have had more generally about the ‘companion’ animals who are brought into existence specifically for human wants. For me the most clear example are cats, though it is not exclusive. Those who are take responsibility for health and well-being seriously, will ensure that cats are kept — both for the safety and health of the cat, and the safety of the local native fauna. This is somewhat a moral dilemma…
I am of the view that any cage is a cage, irrespective of the size. Keeping cats inside, or in a cat run, is, in essence, a cage. The moral dilemma emanates from our irresponsibility — in the general sense. Cats are brought into this world, like many other animals, for human want. To keep them safe — which I am of the opinion we are morally responsible for, we need to keep them inside. Yet this restricts their freedom. We impose this on them for what in essence, is their own good (we are the arbitrator). Irrespective of what we do to make their lives more enjoyable, we cannot escape the situation. They were born into this by our doing…
Maybe I/those (many/some?) of us who are vegan, think much more on this than others, yet I often reflect (or is it dwell?) on how our attitudes as a species impact on the lives of others. I recall rescuing a cockatiel many years ago. I purpose built a large aviary to provide more freedom as the cockatiel could not be released into the wild. Yet it was still isolated from other cockatiels, prevented from true freedom/flight. In such situations, what are we to do? Perhaps I try not to limit myself by thinking I have ‘done enough’.
To try and get to my point amongst this mish-mash, can we ever do enough? Maybe the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, located in southwest Sichuan province of China, comes close. Can we really aspire to this? Is this placing too much of a burden and potentially preventing (metaphorically paralysing) some from providing invaluable assistance on the thought that they may not be able to do enough? Are such thoughts about not doing enough based on whether we think we could have, in reflection, done more?
In regards to the member of our furry family who was recently euthanised, I have already reflect that, on occasions, I could have given her more of my time. Did I let other, now seemingly trivial, aspects of life dictate and get in the way of seemingly little actions that would have a great impact? I do wish I could have more directly and tangibly made her life more enjoyable, more fulfilling.
Much like my previous post, I do think questioning is a positive. I do think (hope?) am not dwelling, rather reflecting. The situation we have created in this world is pretty fucked up, and one that is far from improving. We can dwell on how it makes us feel, yet we are not the ones suffering.
I do take solace in knowing what we give makes a difference. Perhaps this is selfish, perhaps it is symbiotic (to some degree). Cadbury had a more fulfilling end-of-life, as many photo’s do attest. Without our help—and one person in particular, this would not have happened.