The increasing range of options for caregivers of companion animals should be celebrated. And it should also remind us that although there can be too much of a good thing, there can also be too little. Far too many pets are denied basic care like dental hygeine, antibiotics, and treatment for pain.
Decisional regret—the remorse or distress than patients or caregivers experience after making high-stakes health care decisions— is a real risk, especially in high stakes decisions such as euthanasia. Although much discussed in the human health care literature, decisional regret is rarely addressed in the veterinary context.
Serious attention is being given to the human death penalty right now—both its overall constitutionality and morality, and also the particular methods by which it is carried out. This is a good opportunity to reexamine the use of death penalty language in relation to companion animals and assess whether it helps or harms.
Why is natural death wrong for our companion animals? Why is it a dangerous idea that animals could be—at least in some circumstances—kept comfortable and shielded from significant suffering as they live out their last days? And to turn the question backwards, why is euthanasia the unchallenged imperative in veterinary medicine?
If “head transplant” sounds like the stuff of science fiction, think again. The possibility for such an operation seems to be drawing ever nearer. The surgeon is ready and a suitable patient has volunteered.
Euthanasia is often listed alongside nail trimmings and flea treatment, as if it were one among a series of “services” a pet owner might seek out on a given day. Isn’t the killing of a pet a far more serious proposition, morally speaking, than a mere “pet service” like a vaccination or a quick shampoo?
The Yellow Dog Project is an innovative global movement to identify and protect dogs who need their personal space respected. If widely understood as a symbol of “proceed with caution,” yellow ribbons could help dogs and their guardians interact safely with their community and could help prevent uncomfortable or dangerous encounters.
A new research study out of the University of Sydney has tried to objectively measure whether a given dog is pessimistic or optimistic. Researchers used what’s called a cognitive bias test to explore how the affective state of a dog would influence the interpretation of ambiguous signals.
Strange things are afoot in the world of pets. Just this week, three unusual stories have crossed my desk: a dead rat is turned into a helicopter, a goldfish has life-saving surgery, and an innovative company makes biomass energy out of dead pets.
Research suggests that the current system of buying and trading and selling animals “incentivizes” people to devalue animals in exchange for personal gain. This essay explores how markets lead to moral decay in relation to animals.