Letters: Taking care of dying better than killing

The public toilet on St John's Road is one under threat of closure. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The public toilet on St John's Road is one under threat of closure. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Exhibiting at the SNP Conference in the SECC in March to oppose the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, was a truly emotional experience.

The stories people told at the stall I was manning for Care Not Killing Scotland (www.carenotkilling.org.uk/scotland) were a real mixture.

Most were shared to oppose assisted suicide and to sign and support Care Not Killing’s petition and opposition to the bill due to be voted on by the end of May. Some stories, however, were shared to support assisted suicide as a means to reduce or end suffering.

These experiences of suffering are surely at least part of what makes us us? They are what drives us to make dying a better experience, but not one with killing as the solution. Surely we are existentially different from our furry friends which we put down with a legal injection. “You wouldn’t do it to a dog” is often cited as a reason to support legalising assisted suicide.

I prefer hearing about gaggles of geese and how two geese will drop down to the ground to stay with the wounded goose until it gets better or dies. Then the two “helpers” will return to fly with the gaggle again.

The conference reminded me that our politicians are so like rams. They lock horns. They get their day to promise the earth, redress old policies, make them sound shiny and new, show the prowess of their electability.

Care Not Killing Scotland strongly opposes assisted suicide and instead promotes care. We want to give encouragement to look after others, for us to be less like rams and more like gaggles of geese.

Rachel McKenzie is a freelance lobbyist and writer at https://magpiecentral.wordpress.com

Act now if your pet needs to lose weight

There is still time for pet owners to enter their overweight pets into PDSA Pet Fit Club – the UK’s most successful pet slimming contest. But owners need to act fast, as entries close next Sunday (April 26).

PDSA research revealed that four-out-of-five veterinary professionals had seen an increase in pet obesity in the last two years. And shockingly, 80 per cent of vets and vet nurses believe there will be more overweight pets than healthy-weight pets in five years’ time.

Obesity can contribute to pets developing deadly conditions that can cut their lifespan, such as heart disease, cancer and 
diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions including arthritis.

The good news however is that pet obesity is entirely preventable. And to help combat the problem, the charity has launched its annual fat-fighting competition, PDSA Pet Fit Club. Over the past decade, Pet Fit Club has transformed the lives of some of the UK’s most obese pets, helping nearly 100 animals shed over 60 stone.

Owners can enter their pets at www.petfitclub.org.uk.

PDSA Head of Pet Health, Nicola Martin, PDSA, Head Office, Whitechapel Way, Priorslee, Telford, Shropshire

Let kids get out and explore on own terms

With sons the same age as Steve Cardownie’s (News, April 14), I can agree one hundred per cent with him that the special memories of childhood are the ones where the Xbox is left off and the outdoors beckons.

That’s why we all have a duty to ensure that our streets and public spaces offer every opportunity for young and old alike to enjoy being outside.

For example, one of the things I regret is the dying art of “kerby” – the game where you try to bounce a ball off the angle of the street kerb opposite. If streets can be closed off for royal weddings and the like, maybe we need to have a day when street kerbs are freed up for kerby championships.

But the main thing, really, is for it not to be too organised and for streets and public spaces to be spaces for children to play and explore in their own terms. My sons are now old enough to be out and about on the streets with their friends doing pretty much what I did when I was their age.

So I suspect it is not so much leaving the Xbox behind, as leaving dad behind.

Gavin Corbett, Green Councillor for Fountainbridge - Craiglockhart, Spokesperson on Economy and Finance and member of Education, Children and Families Committee

Parties won’t explain poor state of country

It is interesting to note that none of the parties, or candidates, has explained to the voters why the country is in such a mess. Does this mean they don’t know the reasons, so they are dodging having to say why?

Making cuts in public services which have been paid for is not the answer, be they civilian or military. The voters will know when a party or candidate is telling the truth, so let’s have it, or do the voters have to drag it out of them?

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Loss will be huge inconvenience

It’s awful news that several public toilets are facing closure (News, April 13).

Ten of them are to close in a bid to save money, including conveniences at Middle Meadow Walk, London Road and St John’s Road, with others under threat.

Many of us have to answer a call of nature when outdoors therefore to close public toilets down would be grossly wrong.

I hope the decision to close them will not come to pass for all our sakes.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian