I don’t like killing snails.
I’m vegan. I buy second-hand clothes. I even left my comfortable life to open Peepal Farm, a stray animal rescue. I try to reduce my suffering footprint in many aspects of my life. But when I accidentally step on a snail, and it is clear that they have no hope of recovery, I choose to quickly put an end to their suffering. It may sound crazy, but it’s one way to show compassion towards animals.
If the shell has been badly damaged, the snail will endure a long and painful death. It will slowly dehydrate and then be picked apart by whatever scavenger finds it first. It may be eaten one piece at a time by ants, or even eaten by other snails. This is why if I accidentally step on a snail, I always make sure to stomp on them to finish the job. I can’t leave them knowing they will go through that torture.
I think many people avoid such acts because of their own queasy gut. Their guilt of murdering the snail stops them from thinking about what is in the snail’s best interest. It’s about their own comfort, with no regard for this poor, suffering creature.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t enjoy killing snails. When I stop and think about what is best for them, crushing them is the only option. It makes me sick to my stomach, but it is better than leaving them suffering.
First, we put on shoes to protect our own feet. Then we stomp all over everything in our path and don’t even realize the trail of destruction we have left behind. When we hear the crunch, we are too selfish to finish them off. That poor snail can either be subjected to a terrible end or swift death. Sometimes in life, we have to make tough decisions. It might not feel good, but it is the right thing to do.
This logic can be extended beyond snails. We can follow this same train of thought when considering animals we have a close relationship with, such as dogs. If they are in a hopeless situation, even if it is a difficult decision, it may be best to put them down. We need to put our feelings aside and consider their suffering to be able to choose what is best for them.
We recently had to put down a dog at Peepal Farm. Pizza came in with a huge tumour on his right hind leg. We sent him into surgery, and he had started to recover. He was just beginning to show his personality and some signs that he was enjoying his life again. Then the tumor started to grow back.
When we took him back to the vet, we were told that the cancer was now in the final stages and there was nothing we could do to help. His health was quickly deteriorating with no chance of recovery. Instead of letting him live out his final days in agony, we decided to euthanize him. We put him into a peaceful sleep and ended his suffering forever.
Some people wonder what gives us the right to choose to take away this dog’s life—why do we get to play God?
The way I see it, we all play God every day. We make hundreds of choices that harm animals, whether you realize it or not. We are playing God when we stop to consider what clothes we wear, what food we eat, how we commute to work, and more. These all have deadly impacts.
Just walking down the road, you might step on a snail and end their life. Why does the discussion about morals only come into play when we speak about euthanasia?
We chose to put down Pizza to put an end to his suffering. What about all of the other animals that are affected by the decisions we make only for our own comforts and luxuries? Why do we not think about morals when we sit on our leather chairs or eat chicken for lunch?
The decision to end a snail’s or dog’s life is not taken lightly, and neither should other choices that impact the life and liberty of animals.
We must think about more than just the apparent suffering in front of our nose. We must become aware of the indirect suffering and make decisions to reduce the harm that we cause in our life.