That question stroke me this morning. Veganism is about not making decisions affecting non-human animal lives. Letting them live, and trying not to hurt them as much as possible.

Planète Vegan, the vegan bible for French-speaking people (it seems that it hat not been translated yet), says that veganism position about living with pets is not definitive and that adopting animals from shelters and letting them live in an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat may be compatible with veganism.

However, what happens when one of those animals you've rescued gets terribly sick and their days appear to be numbered? If we truly believe that they're going to die, should we stick to the principle that we have no right to rule their lives and let death happen? Or should we alleviate their suffering and take them to the vet and make them get euthanasia?

Disclaimer: don't worry, none of my rescued animals is in pain right now :)

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I really like this question, perhaps because answering it is not a matter that can be entirely satisfied by the intellect (luckily for me) but is better addressed by looking into your heart and at why you adopted veganism in the first place.

By the unofficial rules as I understand them, having "pets" is not compatible with veganism, however many vegans have animals in their home, why is that?

Because to take an interest in the wellbeing of an animal that might have otherwise lived a life of suffering (whether or not they were killed at the end of it) seems more compassionate than the indifference of not getting involved. After all, most people became vegan because they wanted to act.

I don't think veganism requires you to let nature take it's course when that course is a bad one. Perhaps on a larger scale that interference would have negative consequences but since that's not the question you're asking I'll dismiss that.

Nevertheless, it's a hard question. As a society we've yet to decide what is right in the case of human euthanasia even when the person is asking for help. But if you chose veganism out of a sense of compassion and then let the animal suffer for the sake of some imagined principle of non-interference, that doesn't seem right to me.

Ultimately everyone has to make the choice that is true to their own values, for some people that might be to put them to sleep, to let nature decide, to not involve yourself in the animals situation in the first place (don't rescue), or to actively kill them (though I can't believe that's a true value for a person so much as mindlessness). All you can do is know yourself and act from the heart.

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