Pardon the Syntax But..Dude, Who You Calling A Zealot?Posted by in Uncategorized
We received some great news that the gas chamber euthanasia ban passed 48 to 0 in the Senate! Well, I actually haven’t had the chance to read the final language, so 100% satisfaction might be premature. I’ll get back to you. However, before I do, I wanted to respond to an opinion piece defending gunshot euthanasia which appeared in the Morning Call on January 17, 2012. It also made me out to be a zealot. With another, “I know, right? Me?”, I am wrapping up my month moving from having been accused by one person as being Mr. Status Quo to Mr. Carpenter calling me a mumble mouthed Zealot. March came in like an annoyance and went out like an insult. Below is my email response to the Mr. Carpenter. I tried to talk real good in it (although I have here vainly corrected a couple of rushed typos sent to him) and I climbed out of my tree long enough not to appear too wild-eyed, praise be to our ape overlords.
Hi, Mr. Carpenter, I just stumbled upon an opinion piece you did in January about the gun shot euthanasia exclusion in SB 1329. I’ll try to keep my syntax in check since I’d hate for a poorly constructed verbal quote over the phone or a quickly typed email to provide you with a snarky means of implying my idiotry. It may make a case for my mouth occasionally running slower or faster than my head, but please do me the favor of limiting your slings and arrows intended to make me appear a mild dunce to my actual positions, with which I’m sure you will find yourself amply armed.
I’m contacting you because I believe you misrepresented my position somewhat by failing to include the entirety of the context of my thoughts. My position is that given the overwhelming opinion of the veterinary medical community, the animal welfare community, and the “best practices” of virtually every organization euthanizing companion animals that proper lethal injection is the best method of euthanasia for pets, gunshot euthanasia no longer has a place in the process. I was not advocating a “guns are icky and I’m a nut” position. Gunshot euthanasia, practiced perfectly, is as humane and instantaneous as any. However, it is easily practiced incorrectly, especially by the average Joe Dog Breeder who is interested in this exemption (in my opinion) more due to its convenience and low cost than any humane reason.
We can all drag out examples from our past of things that have gone well for us, as you did with your unfortunate cat incident. I can trot out my experiences with the results of well-intentioned owners and police officers who have used a gun to try to put an animal out of its misery and only succeeded in further wounding and inflicting great pain on the animal. In fact, I’ll trot out the very experience you cite of someone clearly trying to kill that cat with a gun and failing. By comparison, even a botched attempt at appropriate, “industry standard”- and I am talking about a very specific use of drugs and technique, not necessarily any needle, full of any fatal juice, stuck anywhere- will in all likelihood lead only to tranquilization and sedation rather than death. I for one would prefer that a failed attempt lead to an animal merely falling asleep, as opposed to a failed gunshot merely dislodging the back of an animal’s head or spine without killing it.
Additionally, it is nearly impossible to accidentally seriously injure or kill the humans in the vicinity of a lethal injection euthanasia, unlike the use of a gun. As a final argument of zealotry, I’d offer that some consideration of modernity and cultural mores be considered. Firing squads may also be humane for humans but, in a culture where we still employ capital punishment, we have largely moved to lethal injection for our murderers, too. While the technique and drugs employed are actually far less humane than those generally used for pets, we have recognized that the risk of error and pain are far less, as is the emotional trauma for those doing or witnessing the killing. We have left many things in the past because as a culture we have decided that we have a new, preferred method. Gunshot euthanasia should be one of those left behind.
These all seem like perfectly rational arguments to me, not that I would recognize my own nuttiness perhaps. I must think that you did not take the time to read any of the volumes I have written on animal welfare and my opinions and positions on them. I am anything but a zealot, as you mistakenly imply. I am also very definitely not in the animal rights camp, I am in the animal welfare world, an entirely different universe. While both may seek similar outcomes in most cases, those goals are hardly synonymous. Using one over the other is either a not so subtle linguistic jab or indicates a lack of awareness of the divide. In fact, I am routinely faulted as a speciesist, apologist, and shill by “my” side for not drinking the animal rights Kool-Aid and instead taking very carefully thought out, intellectually defensible, fact and research based, and generally moderate positions on animal welfare. Since I believe a poll would find the majority of the public agreeing with me on the antiquation of gunshot euthanasia in commercial kennels, I believe that is exactly what I did when reaching my conclusion on that topic. By my accounting that would put you outside the mainstream on this.
The fact that I hear I am both an extremist by people like you and not extreme enough by others tells me I am probably just about in the right place. It would seem to defy the definition of zealotry. Thanks again for taking the time to cover the issue of the gas euthanasia bill. While we apparently won’t agree on the merits of puppy millers being able to shoot their tired breeding bitches to save a few bucks, I hope we can both support passage in the House now that the Senate has voted unanimously to pass it.
Karel I. Minor
Humane Society of Berks County