Hi P@m, thanks for those comments. I thought a bit further about the 'humanely euthanising'...
I tend to think of two approaches: either we let nature take its course and let the whales be - even if the beaching was caused by human causes.
Or, we interfere and manage - which is what we tend to do. Then I see the questions: what will we manage for? For minimizing pain in the animals, or for trying to rescue individual animals as best we can for the sake of maintaining populations and species - even if the animals may be in pain for longer?
I'm not sure what the population status is for False Killer Whales, but I here assume that it warrants great efforts for trying to save as many as possible individuals. Should our notion of pain in the animals then really have terminated the huge rescue operation?
(And do we really know how much it is in pain? If we do, should we start shooting someone who just lost its arm)?
Many volunteers and bystanders describe the rescue-operation as chaotic and mismanaged (see other posts in this blog, also see the Cape Times June 2, 2009, page
. The authorities asked the rhetorical question: "Would you not want to end an animal's suffering?". It does sound 'logic and the best option' to do so; who would say 'no'?
Does 'humanely euthanasing' (or 'shooting in the brain') justify ending the rescue operation? What about focusing on the rescue solution, such as waiting for high tide, providing straps, more blankets and coaching? Preventing pain in animals doesn't seem to be a pure argument for ending what we tend to manage for: saving populations and species.
Unless perhaps there are enough False Killer Whales anyway, and so only their comfort is what counts to us. In that case, why have considered rescueing beached animals in the first place?
More on my blog http://beachedwhalesshotkommetjiecapetown.wordpress.com