Whenever a special interest group wants a certain something they spread propaganda designed to promote it. There's no difference in the animal companion community. In fact it's probably worse, because here our friends pay the price of our ignorance with their flesh, health and often their lives.
The "Right Thing" To Do
The fact is that there are a lot of domestic animals put to death because people can't cope with all of them. This is the big guilt trip this propaganda is designed to inspire and it is used to push people into spaying and castrating their companion animals.
What about the millions of animals killed as food, most of whom have dramatically worse living conditions than a superfluous dog or cat? These animals are sentient too... meaning they have emotions and feel the things human beings subject them to. Killing for food is, however, a natural process that Nature demands of many beings, especially predators, so I'll not question the act of killing for food... although tormenting an animal to death IS evil... and people do this a lot in industrialized ranching. Killing an animal for no reason other than because the creature is superfluous and because killing is convenient is not civilized in my opinion. This is evidenced by the fact that civilized people don't kill each other this way or for similar reasons... we don't round up our transients and hungry multitudes and kill them. People have an "it's just a dog" mentality... people put their own kind above all other living things and justify their acts by contrived philosophy and religious dogma. This is done regardless of what an animal being may think or feel and without any respect for how they want to live just as much as we do.
So the right thing, it is said, is to keep animals from reproducing, and the easy solution to this is to surgically alter them so they can't reproduce. This may be justified, but neutering is just one way of achieving this goal. Neutering is an invasive procedure that drastically affects an animal's biological processes. There are alternatives to this from as simple as proper containment to tubal ligation and vasectomy. These are much less invasive and respectful, but the problem is that people are brainwashed into this "be a responsible pet owner, have you dog or cat spayed or neutered" paradigm... and because veterinarians make so much profit from these procedures, they rarely suggest the alternatives - or even explain the risks.
This is a very valid issue. There may be evidence to support improved longevity and health associated with neutering. I won't disrespect those who neuter for this reason. I will say that I personally do not trust the source of this data due to the bias of those who provide it. I have NEVER seen an unbiased study where there was proper scientific methods implemented to show altered verses non-altered canines over a lifetime period with records showing the actual health consequences of each group. Without such an unbiased report I must conclude, being an acute observer of human nature, the facts commonly made public are the propaganda of Neuter Nazis to support and justify their politics.
In short, I don't trust them to tell the truth. I have a thirteen year old Dog who is intact and is the picture of health and happiness. I think ANY animal can get sick and ALL will eventually suffer the effects old age unless they meet a fateful early end. Face it... Nature wants us dead... that's where life leads us all. I had rather put my trust in the fact that life developed over millions and millions of years of trial and error and that this is as good as it gets. Seeing what human interference has wrought upon our earth I simply do not trust the wisdom, or lack of it, to surgically edit such a wondrous creation.
People are pressured into neutering their companion animals for many reasons:
- Animal rights groups and radical anti-breeding groups.
- Breeders who want to have more control over where people can acquire animal companions.
- An increasing number of landlord/tenant policies and municipal ordinances, which should have nothing to do with personal choice.
- I've seen a movement for mandatory neuter law... this is nothing less than fascism!
There's a tendency for people who choose NOT to sexually mutilate their companion animals to be looked down upon and I've even been insulted and declared irresponsible because I refuse to go with this flow. This pressures a lot of people into neutering without fully understanding that they are surgically altering another living being permanently and taking away the creatures sex. There are alternatives, but they aren't even discussed. To me this too is a form of pressure toward neutering. In my opinion all these things combined is an attitude toward the forced neutering of companion animals... a big brother attitude... and unless we resist this paradigm there may, indeed, be written more laws telling us what we can and can't do with our animals.
This is often a big selling point for neutering: A neutered animal will be easier to control, wont rove, wont enter heat (estrus), wont mark, will be less aggressive, will smell better, and etc. Some of these things may indeed be true, and for a lot of people they are good reasons to sexually mutilate their "pets."
I regard these reasons as selfish acts of laziness and vanity, however. When someone desires to carve another being into what they want them to be, what I see is a control freak... I see someone who can't love another for who they are... I see someone who must change another to suit themselves. I consider people who would cut into someone they call a friend and tear the flesh and sex out of their bodies, for this reason, a vandal who wants a slave... a servile plaything to show off to their friends and to make up for something they lack in themselves. These are, of course, my personal opinions and a lot of folks will take exception to them.
Also, in my opinion, someone who wants a servile plaything puppet sown to their whim and specification would do better to get a plushie (a stuffed toy animal), rather than subjecting a living being to suffer the knife for their vanity and lack of ability to love and care for the whole living being.
Could There Be A Conspiracy?
From the way Neuter is pushed as the ONLY responsible way to control domestic animal overpopulation, I sometimes feel there's some kind of conspiracy in the works. Veterinarians can perform tubal ligation of vasectomy, which are less invasive techniques than neuter, and which allow the production of estrogen and testosterone, thus allowing an animal's normal urges and development, however few of them offer this alternative. I also wonder if breeders haven't been responsible for so much of this push to neuter every canine that moves in order to create a market for their puppy-milled stock. Just some things to think about from one who has found that human beings don't always reveal the ulterior motives behind their actions.
"In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self." ― Lord Mahavira