Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

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Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby beforewisdom » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:30 pm

I don't know anything about veterinary medicine and would be interested to hear what the facts are.

It seems a given that a person who is a vegan, who is into animal rights or animal welfare will be onboard with spaying or neutering domestic animals to reduce the excess population to avoid bad lives as well as euthanasia for those animals.

However, many of the same people will not have a cat declawed, saying that it would be similar to a human being having her/his finger tips removed.

Isn't a dog or cat being neutered similar to castrating a man or forcing a hysterectomy on a woman? If this is not the case, please feel free to post the facts, I'm interested in hearing it.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Catt Queen » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:43 pm

Mine are all neutered, always have been, and never had any health problems as a result. However I have worked with plenty of cats left entire to have litter after litter (sometimes four a year!), and tom cats left to wander the streets fighting over queens so have seen first hand the state they end up in and health problems that occur. Some could not be saved :cry: Scientific facts aside, what I've seen is enough to convince me it is best to keep on neutering.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby beforewisdom » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:05 pm

[quote="Catt Queen"]Mine are all neutered, always have been, and never had any health problems as a result. However I have worked with plenty of cats left entire to have litter after litter (sometimes four a year!), and tom cats left to wander the streets fighting over queens so have seen first hand the state they end up in and health problems that occur. Some could not be saved :cry: Scientific facts aside, what I've seen is enough to convince me it is best to keep on neutering.



Well, if a human being wanted to be sterile s/he could do so without getting castrated or getting a hysterectomy. They might live longer and get in less trouble too.

Why is it different from cats and dogs? Can't they be sterilized without being neutered?
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:59 pm

[quote="beforewisdom"]
Why is it different from cats and dogs? Can't they be sterilized without being neutered?

So they would still have a sexual drive but simply be unable to produce children?
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Catt Queen » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:56 am

Then the toms would still be driven to act like toms and still be at just as much risk and the queens would still be at almost as much risk through repeated matings. Have you ever watched cats mating? It is a thoroughly traumatic experience for the queen as she is treated brutally by the tom, quite often having been pursued to the point of exhaustion by multiple toms. Then of course there are the penile spikes that dig into the queen to trigger ejaculation (as well as hurting the queen enough to make her scream).

Cats do not mate for pleasure like humans do, the experience is far from pleasurable for them.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby xrodolfox » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:21 pm

I think it is totally ethical to spay/neuter cats or other animals that live with humans.

Cats, for example, cannot make ethical decisions. However, we humans can. A cat cannot decide (or not decide) to get spayed/neutered at any point in their life. A cat cannot regret making such a decision, nor can they be happier about it.
A human, however, can, and should, take consideration of the cat(s) when making such a decision. It is similar to how adult humans make decisions about their own elderly family member with dementia, or their children before the children have the cognitive capacity to make decisions. A cat still should be given ethical consideration (not killed without very important reason, allowed to be be happy, to be loved by friends, etc). When deciding about whether a cat has to be declawed or neutered, a human has to take into account the reasoning.

The reasoning for declawing a cat is VERY shabby unless it is for the cat's own protection. Declawing a cat is purely for the benefit of the human's furniture, clothing, or lap. The issues of a clawed cat can EASILY be dealt with by means other than declawing. Declawing is just not needed for the benefit of the human nor the benefit of the cat. In fact, declawing causes great harm to the cat.

Spay/Neutering is not at all like that. Spay/neutering is mostly beneficial for cat populations, and often beneficial for the individual cat. Spaying/Neutering is also often beneficial for the humans too (unless you breed cats for profit). The potential harm from spaying/neutering is really minimal (infection post operation). I think that when done en masse, spaying/neutering can be most problematic, without individual advocates for the cats, but I think that is mitigated by the small amount of harm done by neutering/spaying.

Euthanasia is something that I support for humans/animals, but the problem when doing it with animals is that animals have no voice. Without a specific human advocate or caretaker who loved and cared for that animal, euthanasia can be a horrible tool, since the harm done to an animal to an animal that would loose a lot of healthy loved life is huge. Euthanasia done in small batches initiated by a *loving* human in relation to they ill/sick/old or otherwise dying and/or suffering animal friend is something quite different than mass euthanasia started by an organization culling numbers to have more empty beds with the assumption that the animals will suffer en masse, but not knowing the individual animals involved.

The basic crux of the question revolved around whether we human caretakers have any rights to act on behalf of animal's health. I think that the answer is "YES", especially for those animals we care for individually or societally. If/When farm animals are freed, we may have similar questions arise for farm animals. In those cases, the same ethics should apply. In fact, I think that those same ethics apply to humans too.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Konstantin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:14 pm

You started by asking about the facts and science, but I don't have them. I have an opinion if that's any good.

There is a theroretical infringement on the rights of the cat or dog in neutering/spaying. That's next to nothing compared with the problems caused by the masses of homeless animals caused by the surplus of animals over homes.

As Xrodolfox said, cats and dogs cannot make decisions so we have to take control of them. If my dogs had their way, they would eat stuff from the bin and as many used tissues they could find. They would terrorise cats, wander in the road, reproduce at will and in many ways damage themselves and others.

We have to make decisions. Just about the most important thing you can do with your dogs and cats is get them sterile.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby beforewisdom » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:36 pm

"I Hate Balls" looks like a real effort to reduce domestic animal overpopulation.

It looks like this video was meant to be funny/faceitious as a means of gaining attention for that cause. Yet, I think it unintentionally brings up the point I was trying to make.

We go out of our way to call animals "he or she", refer to them as a "who" and give them the same ethical consideration as people, we love them and yet we will neuter them whereas we would never dream of castrating a human person

http://ihateballs.com/

No offense to anyone........seriously, I mean that. I just think this is a *potential* ethical blind spot in the animal rights realm. If animals have the same rights as people, then there is a problem as people have the right not to be castrated or neutered.

Interestingly, it looks like there might be a newer option on the distant horizon. This site is for an org raising funds for a scientist researching a sterilzation pill to help with the stray dog problem:

600 Million Stray Dogs Need You
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby xrodolfox » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:21 pm

[quote="beforewisdom"]We go out of our way to call animals "he or she", refer to them as a "who" and give them the same ethical consideration as people, we love them and yet we will neuter them whereas we would never dream of castrating a human person

No offense to anyone........seriously, I mean that. I just think this is a *potential* ethical blind spot in the animal rights realm. If animals have the same rights as people, then there is a problem as people have the right not to be castrated or neutered.


The thing is, that while we should give animals the same ethical consideration, dogs/cats/etc. are not humans.

For me, an analogy is similar to that of men and women. I think it is is in the best interest of society to allow mothers to breast feed children/babies wherever possible. That may include lactation rooms.

Adult men would be unlikely to use those rooms. That can be seen as an inequality... and it is. Mothers and babies would be given special treatment, but in my opinion, that is fair and ethical because adult men are not the same as mothers and babies. Giving that "special treatment" to mothers and babies is a net gain for all of society.

I think that humans are animals that are different than other animals. Thus, that doesn't mean that treating animals ethically means also treating animals the same as people. Cats can excrete in boxes filled with sand. Dogs need regular exercise. Humans have bathrooms. Those are not equal or the same at all... good ethics doesn't mean that every animal gets to have a to have a toilet, or that humans should start using litter boxes.

I think you are equating equal treatment as being the same as ethical treatment.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby beforewisdom » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:32 pm

[quote="xrodolfox"]

The thing is, that while we should give animals the same ethical consideration, dogs/cats/etc. are not humans.


That is stating the obvious. Are you a veternarian? Do you know whether or not castrating a dog has similar effects to castrating a human being?
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby beforewisdom » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:34 pm

I've read in many animal rights/welfare forums that people are against declawing cats because that would be similar to removing a human being's finger tips. Removing a person's finger tips is a lot less severe than castrating/neutering them.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:43 pm

[quote="beforewisdom"]Removing a person's finger tips is a lot less severe than castrating/neutering them.

This is unrelated to the overall discussion, but I disagree. I would rather lose my 'below parts' than my fingers, although if you only took off, say, the last 1cm of my fingers, I might choose that one.

I always thought the comparison between declawing and cutting fingers was nonsense. There is no human analogy to compare it to. If our fingernails were retractible, and we used them for climbing, then perhaps that would be a good comparision, but the anatomy is just too different.

I guess I am looking for what you are getting at? I probably won't be helpful, since I believe plenty of humans need to be castrated, not just animals. :D
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Catt Queen » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:25 pm

[quote="Fallen_Horse"]
I probably won't be helpful, since I believe plenty of humans need to be castrated, not just animals. :D


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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby Richard » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:08 pm

I imagine there is a way to sterilize an animal without castrating it. The other benefit to castration that you wouldn't get with sterilization is hormone control, especially in male animals. But I am not an expert on it - I think it is a good question to ask. Animals I come into contact with have been castrated, so I don't have experience with non-castrated ones really, and don't know the severity of their behaviour. To me, that would be the main question, because what are you going to do with a domestic animal? You have to give it a home, not kick it out on the street. But, if it is basically unmanagable when it is in tact, then it won't get homed.
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Re: Is Spaying & Neutering Inconsistent With Animal Rights?

Postby skoptic » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:07 am

Interesting read (after wandering back on VF from a month away) .. I've been thinking about this as we're thinking of getting a new cat.

The declawing is mostly for human benefit, and I wouldn't do it unless really needed. In some instances my vet friend has said that long claws were hampering the animal and so it was good to cut them - but the feeling was that this covered a small % of what she does down here for her affluent home counties clients ("but daaaaarling .. it's scratching the sofa").

I'm surprised to hear as many advocates for spaying/neutering and I appreciate the stray population argument, but I have a nagging feeling that it buries a human-centric benefit. I might well have the right to act on behalf of animal's health - but I'm not sure that spaying / neutering is acting in the best interest of the animal's health.

Hmmm.. I'm undecided, but nice to read the discussion :)
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