Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Animal Euthanasia (Part 1 of 2)


Question : I don't really know if I'm a Buddhist or not, but I've been reading a lot about it and it makes a lot of sense to me. I have never been to any formal meditation practices or anything like that, though. I also don't come from a religious background. That said, I'd like to ask the following (lengthy) question.

My comment: Buddhism is about universal truth which transcends religion, race, space and time. The very fact that you can agree with the Buddha's teachings means that you are truly a spiritual person. A true spiritual person is one who values life and peace. In that sense you are a good Buddhist.

Question: It is my understanding that it is wrong to take a life, under the Eightfold Path. Here is my dilemma. My wife and I trapped two semi-feral cats recently because they were in imminent danger of being killed. We are not in a position to keep these cats because 1) we rescue dogs and currently have a number for whom we have not found homes. We are trying to place two dogs in good homes currently, so we spend every weekend at adoption clinics showing them to prospective parents. We also have full time jobs. Thus, we don't have the time needed to properly socialize these cats, which would be needed to find them a good home.

My comment: There are 5 conditions to be fulfilled in order to fully commit an act of killing. 1) there is a living being, 2) knowledge of this living being, 3) the intention to kill, 4) the actual act of killing, and 5) the living being is dead as a result of the act of killing. If a person is not aware and is not fully responsible for the killing, he may only be partly responsible. If you have not trapped those cats, you would not have the problem. It is very wholesome and compassionate to want to rescue lives, but there comes a point that we can only do that much. Beyond that, we have our hands full. We have to make a choice. Either we expand our capabilities, or we just have to stop right here. Life is full of dilemma. This is the universal truth that the Buddha had been pointing out to us. The realities of the unsatisfactoriness of existence.

Question: Second, we already have an elderly cat who does not get along with other cats. Morevoer, I think the environment in our house might not be satisfactory for the cats and keeping them would likely cause friction in the household.

My comment: There you are. You have your hands full and now you realize the "problem".

Question: Since it would be very difficult, if not impossible to keep these cats, we are trying to find homes or foster homes for them, without success. We have been trying continually for two weeks now, and have contacted nearly every cat rescue organization in town. If we are not successful in finding a home or foster home, we will likely take the cats to the shelter, where, because they are not very adoptable, will likely be euthanized.

My comment: A lot of "animal protection societies" think that they are doing a good service for the poor animals, by killing them off, under the guise of the sugar-coated term called "euthanasia". No animal has asked these "kind-hearted" people to "save" them so that they be put to death. A lot of animal suffering is due to the selfishness and irresponsibility of humans. If all the animals are being left by themselves in their natural habitat, there will be less suffering for them.
(To be continued)

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