An average of five people are being euthanised every day in Belgium, according to new figures.
The statistics, published in a French-speaking newspaper in Belgium, show that in 2013 cases of euthanasia increased by close to 27 per cent compared to the previous year.
The newspaper, ‘Sudpresse’, said: “You could say that currently there are 150 cases of euthanasia per month in Belgium or, even more telling, five people euthanised a day”.
Of the 1,816 cases last year, over half of the people euthanised were aged between 70 and 90.
Those who were under 60 amounted to 15 per cent of the total, and cases of 90-yr-olds and over being euthanised made up seven per cent.
In March this year, the king of Belgium signed into law a Bill which made the nation the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children of all ages.
The Bill became law despite widespread opposition, including a 200,000-strong Europe-wide petition which was delivered to King Philippe urging him not to sign the Bill.
Following the introduction of child euthanasia in Belgium, the Chief Executive of UK disability charity Scope said lots of people in Britain, “not least disabled people”, “are really worried at the way we seem to be edging towards a change in the law”.
Richard Hawkes also called for politicians to “guard against community bullying” of society’s “most vulnerable members” when the issue is discussed in the Westminster Parliament later this year.
A woman in Belgium ended her life last year by euthanasia after a sex change operation did not meet expectations.
Nancy Verhelst, known as Nathan, was euthanised on the grounds of “unbearable psychological suffering”.
And identical Belgian twins were also killed by lethal injection despite not being terminally ill.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem, who were born deaf, sought euthanasia after discovering they were both going blind.