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The following text touches on themes of veganism. If that's a hot-button issue for you, I suggest skipping it. It also obviously talks about death and slaughter.
Since my dog died, I've realized once again that there barely is a form of humane death. I think my childhood guinea pig came pretty close to it: Just died in his sleep, peacefully. But that happens so rarely. Even when beings die quickly, their body reacts in a way, or the circumstance was brutal, unfair and not at all humane.
Fundamentally, no one wants to die - even when suicidal, the body fights death pretty hard. I've seen it in my dogs eyes when I first noticed something was wrong. He acted like he had given up, while also looking very scared. I think intuitively, we both knew what was to come, me more than him of course. I assume he must have known this feeling is different, dangerous, new, and likely final. He seemed helpless, while also accepting that there is no way out.
And even though his own body was failing him due to old age, it was clear parts of him still wanted to live - he fought to breathe, fought against the seizures, and tried to get up a couple times. When the euthanasia finally took place and he was not responsive to any outside stimuli, he still shot up, screamed and tried to bite the vet when the syringe entered his body. His tongue was already extremely blue by then and it was clear he wouldn't have made it any longer, and still, his sense of survival and defense remained.
Of course, euthanasia was the humane thing to do to cut the suffering shorter than it would be without. But was the death itself humane, or nice? No. There was still suffering before that, some of it precisely because mentally and physically, he wanted to continue to live. This was a pet, spoiled and loved, innocent, surrounded by his loved ones, who did all that they could. And still, he didn't get a peaceful natural death like my guinea pig had. No one of us is guaranteed such a death, and we cannot control it. Lots of death is a bit gruesome and cruel, whether through illness, accident or murder. Sometimes, the way the details about death and dying are kept away from us reminds me of how romanticized birth is, with the awful bits about it almost like a well-kept secret. New mothers usually have quite a bit of things they said they wish they had known beforehand. I think death can be similar... movies did a good job in making it seem like so many deaths are just a weak person talking a bit before they close their eyes and go limp within a few minutes. At least, if you're a good person - in fiction, only the evil ones get awful deaths. But real death happens regardless of being good or bad, and the idea that someone could have earned an awful death full of suffering is a harmful thing. If you cling to this idea, it's going to be awful when your loved one dies like that.
I've been lucky that I watched no human die before in real life, but I know from others that it can take days or weeks, the person drifts in and out of consciousness, becomes incontinent, cramps, and can scream or cry and do other disturbing things. It's a hard thing to go through for that body and the loved ones, and without a lot of hospice medication like morphine, I assume it would be even harder.
The whole experience made me wonder how people can go watch their loved ones, human or pet, be in the process of dying or die like that, and then not make the connection to other beings in their mind. There's other people that die like that - from hunger, heat, wars, illnesses. What is on your plate died like that. I was already vegan, but after this experience with my dog, I could not imagine eating another dead animal, knowing there was no difference in dying between him and them. It would have felt morbid and wrong to me to do that afterwards, and I wonder how not more people are dealing with that sudden realization and change their life due to it. At least my dog's dying process started naturally and was not initiated by my demand, you know? Not artificially. There was no life cut short by my desires.
My dog was scared even though he was at home, in his favorite soft bed, surrounded by his two favorite people. It was warm, well lit, and he was comforted throughout. Other animals don't have those privileges, so how must they have felt? They've just survived the packed hours long transport, might already be in pain from past injuries, it's a new and cold area, everything smells like blood and shit, and they can see the ones before them die as they seize on the floor. Obviously, no animal to be slaughtered is led into a nice, clean, warm stable full of food and comfy straw to fall asleep in so someone can pet or kiss them to death while they're unconscious, after all. Anyone who has seen Earthlings or Dominion knows that. There's struggle to escape, struggle against ropes and barriers, struggles after throats have been slit, attempts to escape the gas. There's panic when the taser doesn't immediately stun, and that happens a lot. There's unintended consequences when the head shot isn't clean. There's no calm, happy loss of consciousness until they drift off and pass away, as we like to think.
Watching my dog in the process of dying for hours as well as his actual death was in many ways traumatic to me. It made me lose a lot of my sense of safety, comfort and justice. It was a grim reminder that even though we control so much, we cannot control this, and beings die undeserved deaths every day. It was a reminder that you cannot earn a good or bad death, it just is, and that it can always be seen as cruel, unfair or awful, and that most of it is painful and unavoidable. But it also strengthened my resolve to at least avoid the avoidable ones and not contribute further than necessary. There's no difference between my dog's death, and the death of a cow, a pig, a chicken, or anyone else. I didn't want this to happen to my dog, so why would I pay anyone to do this to other animals, just because I haven't personally met them to build a bond? Most people wouldn't want to eat their pet after they died, and I find it natural to apply that to other beings too.
There almost never is humane death, and never humane killing of something that doesn't wanna die. I don't wanna be the cause that another animal has to writhe and scream in agony for minutes or hours, worse than my dog. I've seen the fear in his eyes and I know it exists for the other animals, too, and I would have given everything to make it go away for him. Witnessing that, how would I be able to lie to myself that the animals elsewhere somehow have a better, cleaner, happier death?
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽