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  1. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Twelve-year-old cat?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Stacy C, Aug 19, 2015.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/couple-spends-crazy-sum-for-cats-transplant/

    Am I the only one who thinks spending this kind of money for something that can be replaced for $50 at the shelter is an immoral act, akin to spending $30K for a wrist watch when there are people in the world who don't have anything to eat? Pigs are smarter than cats (or dogs) and closer to humans genetically, and we eat them.

    #petsarenotkids
     
  2. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...but the money goes somewhere? Doesn't it...from the cat owner to the vet to the corner shop to my wages. I buy tin of cat food, eat it.
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    How do you feel about the $1000s spent on broadcasting and propagating the story in the first place?
     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see the basis for any claim of immorality, even if you might argue whether it makes any sense. People spend money on non-essentials all the time, and some spend a lot more than this. It's their choice and I don't see it as a moral issue.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    While I may not agree with them, it's their money. They can spend it however they wish.

    #luckycat
     
  6. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Preface: I'll largely play devil's advocate. If possible, don't take offense. But we're discussing morality/values, and those are personal, so I'll have to question yours to rebut. No ill will intended, no grudges carried. Anyway...

    Morality is subjective.

    Perhaps this couple would think you're immoral for sentencing a family member to death, or for suggesting that their beloved pet is replaceable and only worth $50. Not everyone subscribes to 'the greater good'. Why campaign for a better world if it costs what you care about to achieve?

    Shelters generally charge for animals only to cover running costs (and minimally at that), not because they actually think a cat is worth $50. The price has already been subsidised by the charity/funding backing the shelter. I won't go further into the economics as it's complicated and OT. But the attitude of minimally valuing animals is the reason shelters exist in the first place. Perhaps it comes down to personal views on whether animals are just commodities or something more.

    The article stated that they had to adopt the donor shelter cat, which would otherwise have been euthanased, so some additional good has come from the operation (the ethics of animal donors notwithstanding...). Another plus: the education opportunities, as UPenn runs a teaching hospital. And if your belief is that animals exist solely to benefit humans, take solace that many human surgical techniques are pioneered and refined in vet surgery.

    Even if it were our business, do you know what these people spend the rest of their budget on, charitably or otherwise? For someone aware of all the starving people in the world, you're currently using your time, electricity and internet privileges to judge others' values... (and you're entitled to; but an outsider with a different perspective could judge you as harshly as you've judged this couple).

    Regarding your pig analogy: do you know whether or not these people are vegetarian? (You could argue that a devout vego shouldn't own a carnivorous pet, but that's a whole 'nother debate.) Are you vegetarian? Or are you arguing that both pets and pigs only have value as food?

    Can you explain why genetic similarity is the main reason we should value something? Would a couple be justified to fund a kidney transplant for their biological child, but refuse one to their adopted child? And just to deal with Godwin's law early, you and I are closer genetically to Hitler than that couple's cat...

    It's their choice, based on their values. The human-animal bond is different for every human and animal, and to a lot of people pets are kids.

    That said, I would also judge someone for buying a $30k watch. The only motives I can imagine are decadence and vanity, which I don't find endearing. But it's still their life, their money, their choice.

    I also probably wouldn't get a kidney transplant for my 12-year-old cat, but that's more for the animal's own sake. Operations aren't fun, recovery will be long, heaps of immunosuppressive pills the cat will hate taking, and even with a new kidney the factors that caused its chronic kidney disease in the first place may still exist. Not to mention the severe compromise the donor cat has suffered (although a compromised life is arguably better than none...)

    Hopefully no toes stepped on.
     
  7. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's immoral in the slightest. After all, humans are a type of mammal with
    an extraordinary range of empathy. Over thousands of years humans have formed strong bonds
    with fellow mammals, on both an emotional and practical level.

    Essentially, these animals have become part of the family, and it is our moral
    duty to care for and protect them. (Up to a certain point, this can even be said for the animals we eat.)
     
  8. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    I'm pretty sure my OP didn't even suggest that these people shouldn't be permitted to waste their money that way. Of course, it's their money and they can spend it as the want to.

    My point was that, if they want to spend that money on something other than a house, maybe donating it to a women and childrens' shelter or a local food bank would make more sense. Spending it instead on a cat which is only likely to live another three years anyway is, in my opinion, unethical (immoral, whatever) behavior. The wrist watch analogy applies.

    No animal will ever be 'a member of my family' but I agree with @Solar - we have a responsibility to the animals in our care. In this case, the responsible and empathetic thing to do would have been to put the cat down.

    I'd also call out the veterinarian for agreeing to perform the operation. Again, unethical, I think.
     
  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Or a men's shelter, yeah?
     
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  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    How is it unethical to perform the operation? What's the basis for that?

    If everyone took all of their discretionary money and instead of buying non-necessities donated that money to charities, it would dwarf the amount of this operation. So are we all collectively unethical under that analysis?
     
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  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, at least
    So if you don't have a problem with how they spend their money, why make this thread? They want to use it to save their ancient cat, then they can go ahead and do so. You said it yourself, they can spend it as they want to, and they decided to spend it on their cat. I honestly fail to see the point of this thread other than to call the cat owners immoral.

    And when you're the veterinarian, your job is to care for the animal. You don't get to say, “No, I'm not going to perform an operation that could save your cat's life.” Unless you have a hankering for getting fired. They clearly weren't about to let the cat go, so the ethical thing to do in this situation would be to do exactly what that veterinarian did. Refusing surgery would've invited a shitstorm and would've made the vet's office look extremely bad on the news. I mean, can you imagine the headlines? VETERINARIAN REFUSES TO OPERATE TO SAVE CAT'S LIFE. Imagine the PR nightmare the vet board would have to face. Instead of us discussing this, we'd be discussing why the veterinarian didn't just give the cat the damned implant it needed to live. Why he/she followed his/her own personal opinions/put it above the life of an animal he/she was supposed to help.

    If you want to donate to charity, fine, go ahead. But don't presume that people who would rather save a pet's life are somehow immoral and don't give a shit. Maybe they weren't willing to say good-bye to their cat? Even if that cat was only going to live three more years, that would have been more than enough for them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
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  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    And for all we know, they donate to charity already, which is more than can be said for a lot of people. We don't know.
     
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  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree, and yet the OP here is acting like they are unethical and immoral. I mean, wow, God forbids we give a shit about our animals enough to save them when we can afford it. God forbids we can do it without having to feel like heartless monsters about it.

    *deep breaths*

    Wow. I now know what it's like to be some of the debaters here...

    EDIT: OK, better now.

    @Stacy C - Yeah, I can see why. If that were my cat, I'd probably say, “OK, that cat had a long life, I don't want to put it through any pain. It's time to say good-bye.” This isn't like the cat's only 3-years-old and has a long life ahead of it. It's a cat at the end of its natural lifespan.

    I still wouldn't say they're immoral, just...maybe thinking with their emotions? They've a right to, in any case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
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  14. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sounds like you are a pet-person.
     
  15. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    Especially since men make up 60-80% of the unhoused, depending on whose statistics you read, yeah?

    As for the cat, do I think it's the most moral possible thing they could have done with that money? Nope. If we all did the most moral possible thing with our dollars we would all be living in tiny homes of 150 square feet per occupant, biking and walking to all of our appointments and accepting that we don't need luxury yachts or new 100-inch TVs or 300-horsepower cars. And little kids in Malawi would have enough food to eat and adequate medical care and education.

    But is it an actively immoral thing they did? Nah. It's morally laudable in my opinion to care enough for another living being who isn't even related to you that you would throw down so much money to keep him alive. People throw a lot more money at lots of things much worse.
     
  16. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I would feel very uncomfortable being alone in a room with a person that couldn't translate the empathy that they feel for another human onto an animal. Much less an animal that they had loved and cared for for 12 years.

    #petsareyourfuckingfamily
     
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  17. Sack-a-Doo!
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    I finally got around to reading through most of this thread.

    And all I have to say is that, of all the immoral/unethical things going on around this planet, I think saving a cat by giving it a transplant is one of the minor ones. I further think that @Aaron DC implied volumes. The immorality may not be the story itself, but the media that used the story to further its own aims.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No one has really explained how it is immoral, even if minor, to begin with. To judge morality there has to be some kind of moral precept as a starting point. What is that here? Can you explain why it is immoral at all?
     
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  19. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Um... Nope...

    Oh, wait! Money is the root of all evil! (yeah; that's the ticket) ;)
     
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  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I thought it was love of money :D
     
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  21. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    I'm late to this, but around here, 'woman and childrens' shelter' would refer to a place specifically operated to provide a safe place for women who are abused to go to escape their abusers, not a place for homeless women to find shelter. I'm unaware of such places for men.
     
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  22. chicagoliz
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    The only aspect of this story that has ANY relevance to the issue of morality and ethics is the taking of a separate, healthy cat who underwent a medical procedure despite being healthy, to donate a kidney to a cat of advanced age.

    There are far more numerous things that you could argue are "immoral" spending of money if they go to anything other than charity. About 90% of the money we spend would be subject to this claim -- you could have a smaller dwelling, no television, grow your own food, not drive, etc.

    I've read of far more ridiculous expenses. The cat, being 12, is on the older side, but cats can live to twice that age.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I just think that in the grand scheme of things, an ancient cat getting a new kidney isn't really that bad. There are wholly more immoral things in life than this.
     
  24. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Even more reason to be egalitarian about it then, yes? Given the stats and what not.

    Not sure this is the thread to get into it, though.
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is idiotic. There aren't large enough numbers of beaten, abused, oppressed men. Only those basking in white male privilege would even suggest such a thing.
     
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