Friday, June 26, 2015

"Euthanasia" -- Slaughter Does Not Equate to Mercy (Words Matter)



Not only are Canada geese victims of relentless campaigns against them, but as importantly, they are also victims of euphemisms used to cover up the realities and injustices inflicted upon them by our species.
"Euthanasia."  From Greek, meaning, "good death."  "The practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering."  (Wikipedia)
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To those of us who have owned pets and had to face the gut-wrenching decision of when to end a life that has deteriorated due to advanced age or incurable disease, the word, euthanasia conjures up painful and often traumatic memory.
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Fortunately, many veterinarians are sensitive to these difficult circumstances in their clients lives and possess both, the skills and medications today to make the transition of a terminal pet from life to death as painless, quick and merciful as possible.
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Yet, despite precise and unambiguous definition for the term, "euthanasia," today it is routinely used to describe the killing of healthy dogs and cats in shelters (mostly for convenience) and incredibly, the deliberate and wanton, painful slaughter of wildlife, also mostly for convenience and/or profit (i.e. "make work").
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It is absolute insult to any sensitive person who has ever comforted the head of a dying dog or cat, (while a kindly vet injects anesthesia to peacefully end the life) to refer to slaughter as "euthanasia." (It's also bothersome to those concerned with proper use of English, but that is matter not for this blog.)
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Even McDonald's doesn't claim its cows, chickens and pigs are "euthanized."
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And yet, for as long as Canada geese have been rounded up and either gassed to death or slaughtered in New York City, both government and media have repeatedly referred to the ruthless carnage as "euthanasia." 
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The latest example is The Daily News article from two days ago, describing the roundup of 24 geese from Inwood Hills Park -- though in all fairness, the updated version only mentions "euthanasia" once. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/geese-rounded-inwood-reduce-plane-bird-strikes-article-1.2269343
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(In other parts of the world, Canada for example, they are debating whether neck-breaking of geese can be claimed "euthanization." https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/canada-goose-cull-planned-in-b-c---but-euthanization-method-questioned-193713003.html)
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Perhaps part of the problem for reporters in the states is that they are not told by USDA WS how exactly the geese are killed. (Or, more likely, they don't specifically ask.) Rather than report what actually happens to geese once they are captured, loaded into trucks and hauled more than two hours away from New York City, reporters simply use worlds like "remove," (seemingly their favorite), "euthanized" or at least a little more accurately, "culled."
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But, there are a few things we do know for certain:
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1-- The geese typically rounded up by USDA WS are not suffering "pain" from terminal illness or injury (other than the pain and suffering USDA WS inflicts on them) for which euthanasia would be deemed merciful and appropriate.
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2-- The geese are not transported to a veterinarian licensed to conduct euthanasia.
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3-- Methods so far described to kill geese, (Gassing, slaughter or neck-breaking) are not deemed "euthanasia" for birds the size of Canada geese. This is especially true when the birds have undergone the stress of capture, confinement to small crates and been transported long distances in typical summer heat.   
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Regrettably, as appreciative as one is for media coverage of goose slaughters in our city, it is disappointing to see the term, "euthanasia" repeatedly and wrongly applied to barbaric and unholy act. This tendency to replace accuracy and truth with euphemism is not just reflective of media, but also, politicians, government officials and Public Relations representatives of private companies, corporations and entities.  
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The bottom line is that there is nothing "merciful" about slaughter, gassing or neck-breaking of healthy animals.  Nor is there termination of "suffering," but rather, creation of it.
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Employment of euphemisms to describe acts of cruelty and wanton destruction of healthy lives serves neither the public nor the truth.
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It is  painful to see the strength of journalistic and political integrity compromised and diluted by pacifying phrases that bear no application to the grim and unjustifiable reality of the circumstances.
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Most of all, what we know for certain is that the geese captured and sent to their deaths by USDA WS are never "euthanized" and any use of this term to describe the actions should be viewed as blatant attempt to mislead, misinform and delude the public.  
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No one is gently stroking the geese as the blade cuts and they bleed out or the air is sucked from their lungs or they experience "cervical dislocation" (neck-breaking). Nor would any healthy animals ever wish such pain and suffering for themselves -- indeed, the very antonym to "euthanasia."  -- PCA
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