A family of geese walk through a field in suburban Brewer. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

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Regarding the recent article in the Bangor Daily News concerning Northern Light Healthcare having killed resident geese near their Portland Mercy Hospital campus because of patient complaints and health concerns: The editors should be more conscientious in their use of language. The article title reads “Geese at hospital in Portland euthanized after complaints” and goes on describing this killing with this same euphemism throughout the article.

Whatever other definitions of or moral contentions about euthanasia typically brought about to hasten death, it typically only includes acts that either an agent chooses or that a fiduciary (as in the case of pets or for family members who otherwise cannot speak for themselves) choses for an agent as according with what the agent would have chosen, had they a voice to do so. Typically, the low bar (necessary but not sufficient) for the legitimacy of such decisions is that they would be in the agent’s best interest.

It is fairly obvious that the geese destroyed by Northern Light had no interest in being summarily rounded up and killed, however mercifully. Therefore euthanasia is not the right term. Killed humanely might be a better term.

Kevin Sheasgreen