May 04, 2007
Abortion of unwanted fetuses is good.
But euthanasia of unwanted dogs is bad.
Reading over my post on animal euthanasia (in the context of the AB 1634 mandatory spay and neuter bill), it occured to me that people might think that when I refered to "the manufacture of new morality" that I was being unduly argumentative.
Having given the matter some thought, I am convinced that if anything, I was understating the case.
Consider these California abortion statistics:
In California, 897,590 of the 7,574,045 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2000. 59% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 26% in induced abortions.
Compare the above with these California dog euthanasia statistics:
For 2005, 293,142 dogs were "processed". Approximately 39% of the dogs were euthanized, about 20% were reclaimed by their owners, another 30% were adopted, and some 5% were transferred. Along with a smaller percentage of dogs that escaped/stolen or died from other causes.Unless my calculations are wrong, the California abortion rate works out to 3% of the total population of women. Slightly higher than the euthanasia rate for dogs. The similarities in overall numbers also startled me. (Between 6 and 8 million dogs, and approximately 7.5 million women of reproductive age.)
It is not my purpose here to debate the morality of abortion. But it strikes me that under similar logic to that being used by the proponents of AB 1634, the abortion rate could be cited for the proposition that there is a "human overpopulation crisis," and that because it's awful that babies are being killed, all women of reproductive age should therefore be sterilized. This would mean no more unwanted pregnancies, and therefore no more abortions.
Of course, such an argument would be greeted with scorn, because there is no moral comparison between animals and human fetuses.
Clearly, whether dog euthanasia is a more objectionable practice than the killing of a human fetus is a matter for moralists. Personally, I would not imprison a woman for killing her fetus, as I don't agree with the argument that it's murder. And while I guess a lot of people would disagree with me, I do think killing a fetus is morally more egregious than humanely euthanizing a dog.
Much as I'm trying to stick to logic here (and not settle morality questions), considering that the primary argument in favor of AB 1634 is based on dog euthanasia being immoral, I'm forced to ask a basic question:
How can simple, humane, dog euthanasia be immoral if human abortion is morally acceptable?
Because the fetus does not know it's being killed? (Neither does the dog, so that's not an argument.)
Because the fetuses are killed humanely while dogs are not? (No, actually it's quite the reverse.)
There seems to be a fundamental inconsistency here.
But I guess inconsistency is nothing new where it comes to the manufacture of new morality.
I think I know what Peter Singer would say, but I still think there's a difference between humans and animals.
posted by Eric on 05.04.07 at 06:56 PM
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