CHANGE MY MIND: Ethics of keeping an old dog alive at the expense of others

Vegan message board for support on vegan related issues and questions.
Topics include philosophy, activism, effective altruism, plant-based nutrition, and diet advice/discussion whether high carb, low carb (eco atkins/vegan keto) or anything in between.
Meat eater vs. Vegan debate welcome, but please keep it within debate topics.
Post Reply
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:48 pm
Religion: Other
Diet: Vegan

CHANGE MY MIND: Ethics of keeping an old dog alive at the expense of others

Post by Roman0vmarisa » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:04 pm

Is it really ethical to keep an older dog alive, not just for his sake, but at the expense of other animals' lives, too?

As an example:

Take a dog that I know; he's 18 years old, has been on medication for years (since he was 10- medication that has been tested on animals, surely), and is now taking 10 different medications each day, and most recently has had multiple surgeries, therapy multiple times a week, acupuncture multiple times a week and vet appointments multiple times a month. This dog can barely walk, sleeps all day, there's a huge lack of interaction, has accidents all day long (which brings me to another thought of the time/inconvenience spent cleaning up all day after the dog). It seems to me that the dog is being kept alive because of the people, which I think is usually the case.

I can't help but to think that the $50,000+ that has been spent on this dog in the last couple years alone could have helped so many other lives who have a lifetime ahead of them, or the ideology that helping more animals is more ethical than helping just one who doesn't have much life left/who wouldn't have survived without all of these extra, lavish, expensive things keeping him alive. I also can't help but to think that all of the medications he has been on for years (and now the 10+ different medications he is on) have all contributed to a lot of animal testing (I assume, as most are).

Is this really worth it, at the expense of all these other animals, who have been tested on or animals who are young/interactive and have a life ahead of them, who could have been helped with that money, instead?

Maybe I'm biased because it's not happening to my own animal, maybe I'm desensitized to dogs in general, or maybe I'm just being insensitive, but I'd like to get other people to weigh in on this topic and see if people can change my mind, because it's really inconvenient to be annoyed about this scenario. :)

I don't want *any* animal to die. I also replaced the idea of this dog with a cat, which is my absolute favorite animal, and my ideology has not changed. So, it's safe to say that, although dogs are one of my least favorite animal, my opinions don't seem to be based on the fact that this is a dog we are talking about. I don't think one old, non-interactive dog being kept alive at the expense of other animals is ethical.

User avatar
Master of the Forum
Posts: 2005
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:08 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Jebus » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:38 pm

I didn't read your post. I just read the title and it is something I have thought about many times.

My wife and I live with eight dogs and our oldest one is 16. Last week, she needed surgery to have an eye removed which reminded me of your very question.

All "our" dogs are former street dogs. We adopt the most miserable ones we can find. One of them is often aggressive towards the others and this has made life for all us a lot more complicated.

To answer your question, if I were completely unselfish, I would probably euthanize the old one and the aggressive one and adopt other dogs (or use the saved time and money for other altruistic endeavors).

However, saving (and living with) dogs is my main pleasure in life. It gives me personal pleasure knowing that the ones I have adopted have my full support. I don't think I would enjoy spending so much of my time and money on dogs knowing that I might simply exchange them out for a younger/nicer dog. I also don't know if the personal connection I feel with "my" dogs would be as strong if I would not give them 100% support.

On another note ( and while ignoring laws) I don't see any reason why your question is not equally valid for retarded and demented humans.
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

User avatar
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9441
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:28 am

Jebus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:38 pm
On another note ( and while ignoring laws) I don't see any reason why your question is not equally valid for retarded and demented humans.
Often older people do not want their families spending a fortune on their medical care when they don't have long to live anyway. It's a driving force for euthanasia some places where it's legal (and has been a criticism of legalizing euthanasia, despite it seeming very reasonable).

Is me living a couple more years in discomfort worth costing my family a million dollars in medical bills?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 43 guests