By Timothy James, senior lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics at Birmingham City University

Earlier this week, in an interview with Radio Times, TV personality and columnist Katie Hopkins proposed the idea of ‘euthanasia vans’ as she believes that the UK has ‘far too many old people’.

Ms Hopkins is quoted as saying that “it’s ridiculous to be living in a country where we can put dogs to sleep but not people.”

There are obvious differences between dogs and people, which means it is not ridiculous. The justification for euthanasing dogs is that they are sentient and can suffer, but they are not rational and cannot understand their suffering and are not autonomous. The reasons for euthanasing humans are that we are sentient, rational and autonomous, so it is quite different.

The ex-Celebrity Big Brother star also insisted that the UK should invest in euthanasia vans “just like ice-cream vans that would come to your home.”

It’s unclear whether Ms Hopkins thinks you should get to choose to go out and avail yourself of their services, or whether they come in and give them to you. Even if you have a choice, it might be that suicide is a more serious decision than buying a vanilla cone, and that convenience is not the only consideration.

Ms Hopkins is obviously being deliberately provocative to sell papers and raise her profile.

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