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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2018

Authors: Springer, S; Grimm, H

Title: Euthanasie als Thema der veterinärmedizinischen Ethik.

Other title: Euthanasia as a topic of veterinary ethics

Source: Wiener Tierarztliche Monatsschrift 105(5-6): 129-138.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Grimm Herwig
Springer Svenja

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Ethics and Human-Animal Studies

Veterinary ethics deals with moral questions, moral premises and conflicts of veterinary practice. The killing of animals is a controversial issue that is regularly considered in current ethical debates. Euthanasia raises particular ethical issues. Because the killing is carried out in the presumed interest of the animal, it is important to use a technically appropriate method of killing. Further, practising veterinarians have to take into account contextual and relational factors within the decision-making process. The article explores fields of tension in the context of euthanasia. In the first section, a consideration of the literature leads to the identification of euthanasia as "killing that aims at the presumed interests of the animal". The second section deals with contextual and relational factors that influence decision-making processes with regard to euthanasia in veterinary practice. The third section presents and discusses the decision-making tools that have been developed to help veterinarians cope with the many complex situations with which they are confronted. While standardized methods highlight relevant factors, it remains unclear whether the huge variety of complex cases can be dealt with in a standardized manner. The problem has been addressed in dialogue models for ethics consultation. The approach provides the possibility of bridging the gap between medical knowledge and morally sound decisions in unclear situations and supports well-reasoned veterinary judgement in the context of euthanasia.

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