Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:35 am

In recent years, I hear people, Buddhists included, encouraging people to neuter or spay animals. Some Buddhist even raise funds for it. What do you all think about this?
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:42 am

It is not very kind, but it's a lot better than the alternative, which is to drown cats and puppies as soon as they are born, or round up and kill thousands of strays to prevent the spread of rabies.

Of course, if you don't keep pets then you won't face this dilemma, and the one that comes at the end of an animal's life when it is suffering great pain from some terminal disease and needs to be euthanised.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:49 am

If you have ever been to Myanmar you will witness the legions of stray dogs, cats and chickens roaming the streets.
The vast majority of them are starving and diseased.
I think it is far more ethical to neuter an animal than it is to allow it to have litters of offspring which are destroyed or live short, miserable and feral lives.
kind regards,

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:58 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:needs to be euthanised.


I am not suggesting that there is any implication of you speaking in favour of euthanasia in your post Bhante, but I would argue it is not a need at all, at least not in all cases and I would think there are cases where the pet could live on and see out a natural death as nature intended without human intervention. Naturally it's not black and white, it's a shade of grey, so I think these things merit a case by case example.



As to the OP Absolutely. Neutering pets is very important if you're not intending to breed them, and an important question people should ask themselves is if they refuse to neuter their pet and it's a female - Could you ensure a home for all of the offspring? If it's a male it's not fair on other pet owners that your pet is running round the neighbourhood impregnating them and leaving them with tough decisions to make.

Pretty simple.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:05 am

Ben wrote:If you have ever been to Myanmar you will witness the legions of stray dogs, cats and chickens roaming the streets.
The vast majority of them are starving and diseased.
I think it is far more ethical to neuter an animal than it is to allow it to have litters of offspring which are destroyed or live short, miserable and feral lives.
kind regards,

Ben


I saw this in the monastery at Meetirigala in Sri Lanka. Poor mangey dogs, scratching all day long - Some had very little hair left, the mange had taken care of that, either that or they'd bitten and scratched it out, as they spent most of their downtime scratching. There was this cute wee pup that was born just before I arrived, and it would run along behind me quite often when I was walking from one place to another. It was a sweet little critter. One day I found it dying, it had been attacked by the monkeys. I told one of the monastery stewards in broken singhalese and he went out and killed it with a spade much to my displeasure as I hadn't intended on influencing the man to take the life of an animal (as I assumed was a breech of precepts he had undertaken in order to be a living on the grounds)

Later that week I saw two of the older dogs of the pack caught up in a genital knot, as is common with dogs after mating. The poor things were looking very anxious and really just wanted to be seperated. The mother would give birth to a new litter of pups in time to come, and those pups would be skinny and under fed like their mum, struggling to make it by off the scraps they would get from leftovers, getting attacked by monkeys who wanted the food more, itching and scratching all day because of the mange

Life was not easy for these dogs, I wish someone would pay to have them neutered.

This is what they looked like:
Image
Last edited by BlackBird on Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:08 am

In addition to the nasty, brutish, and short feral lives which await the offspring of urban animals who haven't been spayed or neutered, many animals taken to shelters and later euthanized are the unwanted offspring of family pets. Millions each year in the United States alone.

Overpopulation is a critical issue; beyond spaying and neutering there is no birth control for these animals, only increased suffering and increased mortality numbers. It is an ethical obligation to address this problem on their behalf (cats, dogs, rabbits, pets generally) given that they have thrown in their lot with us.
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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:21 am

Jack - I agree with you entirely. I also witnessed similar scenes in Myanmar. Really awful stuff.

Dave - I agree entirely. I believe it is an ethical obligation on us to ensure that domestic animals are neutered.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:32 am

Ben wrote:Jack - I agree with you entirely. I also witnessed similar scenes in Myanmar. Really awful stuff.


Yes it's a far cry from the ubiquitous family Labrador of our Australasian suburban habitat. I really would love to get involved in a charity that just does this, just goes to 3rd world nations and pays to neuter strays. I think it's a very effective way to humanely ensure less suffering for these beings.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:51 am

In recent years, I hear people, Buddhists included, encouraging people to neuter or spay animals. Some Buddhist even raise funds for it. What do you all think about this?



When I was a child my grandmother used to drown the frequent litters of kittens born to her female cat. I can remember the shock I felt when having stroked and admired some of the kittens previously, I finally understood what that meant.

Yes we should spay and neuter animals, they recover quickly from the operation and in the case of females, live longer lives when their bodies haven't been worn out with so many births and young to feed.

Humans get various kinds of operations which prevent reproduction and also use birth control methods. I don't see what's wrong with preventing the births of many stray or unwanted animals which get very sick or are killed by humans.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:52 am

BlackBird wrote:
I saw this in the monastery at Meetirigala in Sri Lanka. Poor mangey dogs, scratching all day long...
This is what they looked like:
Image

Stray dogs are common in Asian monastery and temples, there were many dog owners who didn't want their pets for whatever reasons but can't afford to throw them at the roadside so they brought them to wats.

If we look at the photo below, it is so ironic that these man eating tigers are treated 10 times better than any man best friends in every wat you can find.
Image
Not even a spot of mange:
Image

Back to topic, i don't see anything wrong with spaying animals.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:31 pm

What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:34 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!


People are doing that already. Its known as vascectomy for men and tubal ligation for the women.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:47 pm

barcsimalsi wrote: If we look at the photo below, it is so ironic that these man eating tigers are treated 10 times better than any man best friends in every wat you can find.


Not according to the investigations which were made by Care for the Wild InternationaL

"Tiger Temple, Thailand – the Truth Behind the Mask"

http://www.careforthewild.com/what-we-do/campaigns/previous-campaigns/tiger-temple-the-truth/

.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:52 pm

Ben wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!


People are doing that already. Its known as vascectomy for men and tubal ligation for the women.


I know full well, I'm living proof of the success of that operation, I can only encourage others to consider it!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby manas » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:39 pm

It's a difficult call to make, because in a sense we are infringing on the body of our pet, by having their private parts either removed, snipped or otherwise modified. So in an ultimate sense it's kind of unwholesome, I mean how would we like having that done, without having any say in the matter whatsoever? We wouldn't. Yet as a 'superior species' we have no qualms about imposing this on animals, because they are 'just animals'...

And yet, I can see the problem with so many uncared for litters ending up as starving and diseased strays, etc. So neutering seems like the better of two evils. Maybe the only perfect solution is indeed not to have a pet in the first place.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:46 am

lyndon taylor wrote:What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!



Thanks.
But why voluntary? Is that, because we think that human are better than animals?
I would have asked “Why don’t we neuter or spay mosquitoes and flies as well?”
We should leave animal alone. Do not interfere with them.
I am very sorry to disagree with many of my well respected friends but this is just my opinion.
I am quite used to see sick animals. They help me to even be firmer in my practice for the path. I think, what if I am an animal like this in my next birth?
Having said that, I would have neuter or spayed an animal due to some social concerns. However I am not going to sit here and defend and justify my wrong doing.
By the way I do not have any pets for this very reason. When I was young I had many pets. I looked after them when they were sick. But I let them die with their own course.
I love animals.
:heart:
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:01 am

SarathW wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!

I would have asked “Why don’t we neuter or spay mosquitoes and flies as well?”


They're working on that.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... laria.html
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:23 am

BlackBird wrote:
SarathW wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:What about neutering and spaying humans, seems like a good idea to me, as long as its voluntary!!!

I would have asked “Why don’t we neuter or spay mosquitoes and flies as well?”


They're working on that.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... laria.html


Someone is always step ahead of me :)
By the way please read this:

"And what are the effluents that are to be abandoned by tolerating? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, endures. He tolerates cold, heat, hunger, & thirst; the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles; ill-spoken, unwelcome words; & bodily feelings that, when they arise, are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, disagreeable, displeasing, & menacing to life. The effluents, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to tolerate these things do not arise for him when he tolerates them. These are called the effluents that are to be abandoned by tolerating."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part2.html
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:58 am

SarathW wrote:"And what are the effluents that are to be abandoned by tolerating? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, endures. He tolerates cold, heat, hunger, & thirst; the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles; ill-spoken, unwelcome words; & bodily feelings that, when they arise, are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, disagreeable, displeasing, & menacing to life. The effluents, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to tolerate these things do not arise for him when he tolerates them. These are called the effluents that are to be abandoned by tolerating."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part2.html


SarathW wrote:There is the case where a monk



And here you have an important distinction. Much more is expected from the Buddha for his monks than that which he expects of lay people. When I was younger and very keen and passionate about ordaining, I was staying in Bodhinyanarama in Wellington and I was very passionate about austerities and such like, I would deny myself all kinds of comforts that were on hand, for a time I was living more austere than the monks. I wore myself out in the end through all my austerities and had to readjust to a more comfortable middle ground in order to continue making progress.

So I'm always careful to point out whenever anyone quotes the passage you have above, that such things should be developed over time and only really for those who are intent on fast tracking their way to Nibbana. As for enduring mosquito bites, I did that very thing in Sri Lanka in Meetirigala in the middle of the forest, my legs ended up looking like a pizza, some of the monks would stop and go "Ohhh! Look at those legs!" and they would come up and examine my legs and it was fascinating to them. Apparently the mosquitos don't like the Singhalese blood as much, apparently it has something to do with the smell that us humans put out, mosquitos can smell us, and some smells are more attractive than others. One of the monks knew of this also and suggested that the mosquitos there preferred Suddhas (white person) blood as it must have had different characteristics to the native Singhalese in the area. It was actually kind of dangerous to go without deet now that I think about it, because there were mosquitos present in the area that carried Dengue fever, Malaria & Jap Encephalitis - It was quite uncommon, but it happened from time to time and a few people in the area got Dengue each year and occasionally someone came down with Malaria. After some time I went back to wearing mosquito repellent and decided this was one thing that didn't need to be mindfully endured. Frankly, it was hard to meditate when you can hear the mosquitos buzzing around, landing on you - In your ear, on your nose, just about everywhere, and then the incessant itching that follows.

Now regarding genetically modifying mosquitos so they can't breed? I see absolutely no problem with this. Mosquitos are the cause of much suffering in this world,, and genetically modifying them is not killing, therefore it's a much better solution than spraying large swathes of land with chemicals to kill them (and inadvertent kill other insects or beings or at least make them sick). Types of mosquitos who are a vector for any disease at all should be made infertile, it's the perfect solution.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby dagon » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:22 am

Ben wrote:Jack - I agree with you entirely. I also witnessed similar scenes in Myanmar. Really awful stuff.


When i lived in Rangoon what would happen is that the dogs were rounded up every so often, put in sacks alive and dumped in to river at the end of the jetty.
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