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Is It Moral to Euthanize Animals ?. Hsuan-Ju Wang Graduate Institute of Philosophy National Central University, Chungli, ROC . 1.Introduction 1) the reasons why Taiwan has so many stray dogs. People do not realize that dogs need a lot of care especially when they grown up.

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Is It Moral to Euthanize Animals ?

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Is It Moral to Euthanize Animals ?

Hsuan-Ju Wang

Graduate Institute of Philosophy

National Central University, Chungli, ROC


1.Introduction1)the reasons why Taiwan has so many stray dogs

  • People do not realize that dogs need a lot of care especially when they grown up.

  • Owners neglect their responsibility to take care of their pets and that they should treat their dogs like family members.

  • Owners just dump their dogs when they are through with them.

  • Taiwan government has no proper control of breeders .


2)Government Policy on the solution of stray dogs

  • The Taiwan government has no other policy than giving euthanasia to stray dogs.

  • There are shortage of public animal shelter and fall far behind the demand of animal welfare.


3)the main purpose of this paper

  • First, what kind of suffering of stray dogs in Taiwan .

  • Second, how university students of animal welfare groups offer help to protect and promote humanistic treatment of these dogs.

  • Third, what decision students made when these dog are crippled and how to handle the dilemmas of euthanasia and helping of stray dogs .

  • Finally, I will describe one case and showing how to solve this dilemma by the principles of Confucianism bioethics.


2.The suffering of stray dogs in Taiwan


(A) hungry and disease

  • Stray dogs could hardly find enough food in cities and often with all sorts of infectious diseases .


(B) harm and torture

  • Some are badly and cruelly treated by their owners, sometimes with whipping, hacking of limbs, etc.


(C) Suffering in inhuman breeding factories in Taiwan

  • Taiwan government does not regulate the dog breeders, they breed the dogs at market demands.


(D) Suffering during catching and death in public animal shelter

  • Taiwan government servants often badly hurt the stray dogs when catching them .


3.The effort and dilemmas of university student of animal welfare groups in Taiwan


(A) Their efforts

  • In general, university students take care of stray dogs dumped on campus.


(B) Difficulties

  • For some dogs, the only possible outlet is euthanasia and it is a dilemma for university students.


4.moral dilemmas of Taiwan’s student volunteers:

euthanasia of stray dogs


  • Because the euthanasia policy of the public animal shelter of Taiwan doesn't accord with animal welfare .

  • The dilemma of student volunteering group faces is to euthanize heavily crippled or sick stray dogs.


(1) Principles of Confucianism bioethics

  • For Confucianism, the central concept is benevolence (ren) and our moral rights and obligations are determined according to this concept.

  • Mencius points out that everyone has certain moral consciousness, which he called the unbearable mind towards the suffering of others.


  • Professor Lee Shui Chuen pointed out that our unbearable mind is a kind of moral feeling, and it is what makes human being a moral agent .

  • The unbearable mind is the categorical command of our morality. It extends into ren, yi,li and chi, which have similar structure and comparable with the four principles of respect of autonomy, non-maleficence, benevolence and justice.


  • According to Prof. Lee’s re-construction, Confucian bioethics could derive the four principles and moral rules such as the principle of informed consent, paternalism, privacy, etc.


(2)The analysis of case


Case1: pipi’s story


  • it’s pelvis was cracked seriously by traffic accident and caused the difficulty of defecating.

  • Through the assessment of the veterinarian, if we do surgical operation to PiPi ,it may hurt the neural system of PiPi. But if we don’t,PiPi bears the pains of the difficulty of defecating.

  • so, what can we do for PIPi ?


Case2: vivian’s story


  • It was infected by distemper virus. Although it later recovered to healthy condition, Vivian became paralyzed and had pressure sore.

  • What the worst problem is Vivian could not bear the pressure of it’s body.

  • What is the best decision we should make? to live? or die?


(3) the application and judgment of moral dilemmas of the principles of Confucianism bioethics


  • First, we will analyze the relationship between the student volunteers and stray dogs.

  • Second, the euthanasia posts problems which worth giving some analysis.

  • finally, we will apply the principle of ching-chuan to solve problems whether to euthanize the two stray dogs or not.


First, the relationship between student volunteers and stray dogs

  • What causes the dilemma for the student volunteers is their unbearable mind or hearts upon the sufferings of the dogs.

  • Student volunteers also take two principles as the guide for their actions.

  • One is the principle of beneficencewhich means that we need to take care of stray dogs and lessen their pains.


  • The other is the principle of non-maleficence that no unnecessary injury to these heavily crippled animals.

  • Euthanasia could may result in too arbitrary a decision for euthanasia to stray dogs in general.

  • Finally, that we should decide for the best interest of stray dogs because dogs could not speak.


then, for Confucianism what judgment we should do?

  • the principle of ching-chuanof Confucianism

  • Confucianist usually appliesthe principle of ching-chuanto solve moral dilemmas.

  • the point of the principle of ching-chuanis to protect the person’s best interest involved. The foundation of the principle is the unbearable mind of sufferings of others.


What are steps of the principle of ching-chuan?

  • Professor Lee Shui Chuen pointed out there are three steps in solving a moral dilemma:

  • 1) Try to understand what conflictions are involved .

  • 2) Display considerations and analysis in details concretely in every possible solution.

  • 3) Return to the moral demands of our unbearable mind for the critical evaluation for what to do.

  • Sometimes, consider the advice of to the moral and life experience of the wise may offer helps for solutions of difficult dilemmas.


Next , the two cases as analyzed by means ofprinciple of ching-chuan

  • The two principles in contradiction are the principle of non-maleficence and the principle of beneficence.

  • The former shows that people taking the life of stray dogs, that is killing, is morally wrong.

  • The principle of beneficence implies that moral agents must promote the happiness of dogs, and offer them active therapy to recovery.

  • So what should we decide ?


  • In fact, if we insist to offer active medical treatments to these dogs, they will suffer a lot of pain physically and psychologically.

  • Therefore, sometimes it does not accord with animal welfare when we try to maintain the life of these dogs, even if the principle of beneficence requests us not to do that.


  • Eventually, we arrive somehow that「the minimumharm」to these dogsis the command of the principle of ching-chuan, that is we have to let them passed painless in cases of great pain.


  • In order to avoiding the slope argument, some of the students insist not to give up any dog at least instantly

  • The key point of euthanizing animals is the suffering of these dogs.

  • In the Confucian of point of view, euthanasia could be moral in such cases.


5.conclusion

  • These students always face the challenge of euthanasia to stray dogs, the principles of Confucianism bioethics provide a guide for them to face such dilemmas.

  • For student volunteers ,they never give up any stray dog that they can save and they believe that someday there willbe no stray dogs anymore in Taiwan.


Thanks for your listening.


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