Eclectic Blue

Choose Death

Comments Off on Choose Death 06 June 2018

How very sad to hear about the death of the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman at the age of 18. His owner Paul Barber took the decision to put him down. Trainer Paul Nicholls explains: “We all agreed it was the right thing to do because but he has gone downhill in the past few days. We did not want to see him suffer.” I’d be very worried if Denman was a human being.

Imagine if Denman was Mr Denman, who was suffering greatly from an incurable illness, in terrible pain? What if Mr Denman had said, “If my condition gets any worse, it cannot be cured and I will be in terrible pain, would you please allow me to die, with medical assistance, if that is my wish?” “Ah, but that’s totally different,” says society. “It’s all very well a human deciding to allow a sick animal to die in order to avoid further suffering, but it’s quite another to allow a human to die when she or he wants to.”

I no longer have any older relatives but I would have had no problem with an older relative who wanted to end their life because life had, in their opinion, become unbearable. Anyone who has seen someone in the latter stages of life, struggling with an horrendous illness which was destroying their entire quality of life, will surely agree that that person deserves the same rights as a prize racehorse.

And, as with so many other aspects of morality, the views of others should be irrelevant to the choices of others. If someone would not like the opportunity to end their lives, regardless of how bad their lives become, then they should be free to suffer, to be force fed, to continue to receive medication and other forms of treatment even when they had no idea what, where or who they were, that they were happy to have carers assist with their bowel movements and the cleaning up thereafter and they should be free to choose to be in pain, then fair enough. Euthanasia should not be compulsory. If you don’t want it, then fine. Just don’t take away the choice from others.

Mercifully, Denman is no longer in pain. The decision to put him down was done to stop him suffering, to avoid keeping him alive for no purpose other than to keep him alive, regardless of the lack of quality of his life and the pain he was suffering. For the life of me, I cannot understand why we cannot face suffering from animals but we’re not too bothered about the suffering of our fellow human beings.

Perhaps someone could introduce ‘Denman’s Law’ in the next parliament? All we ask for is choice.

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