Ethics of compassion

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Although any discussion of ethics regarding a veterinary procedure can be prolonged and complex, a circle of truths appear to be self-evident;

  • though pain and death are a part of life, avoidable physical and emotional pain do not equate to 'a good life'
  • physical pain can be commuted through medicine, and emotional pain through enrichment.
  • emotional pain, produced by long-term physical pain or acute psychological stress, is more traumatic than acute physical pain
  • to avoid alleviating pain is incorrect, regardless of the animal species that is suffering
  • any act that alleviates physical or emotional pain is compassionate
  • compassion can range from prescribing aspirin for pain relief or euthanasing a terminal life
  • the motivation behind a compassionate act determines its ethical value
  • proper ethical values are self-resonating (i.e. feel correct)
  • a 'good life' must be to alleviate physical and/or emotional pain of 'others'.