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).
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daverupa
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:50 am

Kumara wrote:would we extend this spaying to humans too


There is no need to make this leap, though a conversation about human population should begin to occur.

Animals, however, experience a severe problem with a solution that has clear benefits here and now, as above; to make reference to a speculative view of any kind is simply unethical in the face of this consensus reality.

:anjali:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "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.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:05 am

Kumara wrote:
I've no doubt that the certain suffering "can be prevented if the female animal had been spayed", but would we extend this spaying to humans too, esp those in living in conditions similar to these animals? Can we say that all women who died giving birth would have been spared of the ordeal and death if they had been spayed too?

I agree that compassion is the answer. I'm questioning though if neutering is actually the better than not from a larger perspective.

Spaying an animal, apart from the short term distress, does not hurt the animal. Unlike humans, they have no concept of parenthood and do not long for unborn children or desire to have the security of a family. The harm that one does in spaying an animal has little comparison to a similar procedure on humans. A spayed animal is quite oblivious to the fact

Even so, if I had a daughter who is mentally challenged and in her ignorance of biological consequences habitually fornicates, I would fit her with some device or give her birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies. In effect this would be spaying her through mechanical or chemical means as opposed to surgery.

Yes spaying has karmic consequences. But like many acts in this world, it is an action of mixed karma and in my view,the good intentions far outweigh the bad karma. When we see deplorable conditions, and in our desire to protect ourselves from any possible consequences, refuse to act or provide help, that our selfish and self-cherishing thoughts manifest.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:15 am

"Spaying an animal, apart from the short term distress"
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How do you know. My experience with these animals is that they suffer life time!

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I think answer to OP depend on your personal objectives.
Are you a Vet, Animal breeder, council worker or monk etc.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:42 am

SarathW wrote:"Spaying an animal, apart from the short term distress"
------------------------
How do you know. My experience with these animals is that they suffer life time!

---------------------------
I think answer to OP depend on your personal objectives.
Are you a Vet, Animal breeder, council worker or monk etc.


I have a pet spayed bitch and have kept dogs since childhood, Many of them were similarly spayed. My family's first pet bitch was a stray dog. She was in heat and fleeing the advances of dogs, until she was cowering in a drain. We took her in, spayed her and gave her a life. Since then, most of our pet dogs have been spayed bitches. Can you pls elaborate how spayed animals suffer a life time?

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:17 am

daverupa wrote:
Kumara wrote:would we extend this spaying to humans too

There is no need to make this leap, though a conversation about human population should begin to occur.
Animals, however, experience a severe problem with a solution that has clear benefits here and now, as above; to make reference to a speculative view of any kind is simply unethical in the face of this consensus reality.
:anjali:


It's not meant to be speculative. It's asking if we should do upon animals what we would (probably) not do upon humans.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:22 am

pilgrim wrote:I have a pet spayed bitch and have kept dogs since childhood, Many of them were similarly spayed. My family's first pet bitch was a stray dog. She was in heat and fleeing the advances of dogs, until she was cowering in a drain. We took her in, spayed her and gave her a life.

Now, this seems to make much sense. Thanks for sharing that.

Our dog (just a dog who decided to be here--most of the time--like his father) was recently taken to be castrated (without our agreement). We'll see what happens.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby chankahyein » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:23 am

If this helps, when I first started the animal charity that I run, I had doubts too, if I was doing the right thing by providing help to get street animals neutered. What bothered me was that we, the humans, are doing something for the animals without their consent. To quote Pilgrim's example, it's like giving his hypothetical intellectually challenged daughter birth control pills without her consent, but done so out of compassion or else, the said daughter might get pregnant every year and produce offsprings whom she has no capacity to look after. Thinking along this line, don't we sometimes "force" certain decisions and actions on other humans without their consent? Like, sending our children to school? Making them eat a healthy breakfast and limiting their intake of junk (read: tasty) food? Banning them from using drugs/cigarettes? We do so out of love for them and with good intentions. So, I did have my uneasiness over getting animals neutered but what prompted me to do it was the tragedy of Pulau Ketam where it was discovered that for the past 10 years, residents had been catching and dumping their street dogs to the neighbouring swampy islands to die a slow and horrible death (by starvation, thirst or eaten by wild boars). These residents who claimed to be "Buddhists" knew nothing about neutering and those who did (I spoke to one such head of a Buddhist organisation) said it was his Buddhistic belief that "we had no right to interfere with Nature, animals breed naturally, we should not interfere". Then I asked him, "Then is it okay for you to watch your people sending them to die in those swampy islands or seeing the local councils come in and shoot them to death". To this, he said, "It's not me doing it, so it's not my karma". This a typical reply, ie. It's others doing it, not me, so I don't care. But if you can enact change and make things better, don't you think you should do it?
His answer, in some ways, prompted me to start the education component in the charity that I run, and convinced me that I was doing the right thing.
In the course of running this charity, I have met a few (thank goodness, not many) Buddhists who let their free-roaming unneutered pets breed but come crying to me because they don't know what to do with the litters and litters of offsprings. I tell them to get their pets neutered, but they say their Buddhistic beliefs do not allow them to do so. Of course I still try my best to convince them of the benefits, but their belief cannot be shaken. To this, I merely say: Then let me bear the karma and I will do it for you and your dog, will that be okay?
As to whether we are doing the animal a disfavour by getting them neutered, permit me to share some facts I learnt from a university veterinarian: (1) Dogs and cats do not enjoy the sexual act. (2) It is painful for the female when she is mated upon by several males when she comes on heat. (3) Getting an animal neutered does NOT reduce the animal's territorial instincts or the ability to protect him/herself. Only the mating urge is gone. If anyone needs proof, do come visit my 7 neutered cats and see how territorial they still are!
And in this week alone, we have received application for 2 cases of TVT (transmissible venereal tumour) in dogs, a cancer transmitted through mating. It can be cured by chemotherapy and we provide subsidies for such cases too. TVT can be prevented if a street animal is neutered. A TVT dog will die a slow and agonising death if left on the street.
So, we can debate and talk till the cows come home on whether it is right or not to get animals neutered without their consent. I believe that is the main argument - that we are doing it without their consent.
My father forbade us children from gambling and drinking alcohol when we were young (without our consent) and I'm very grateful for that because I have reaped the benefits from my father's action and decision. Another father from another part of the world, might just forbid his children from getting a tattoo and his children might be equally thankful for their father's actions. So just as we cannot compare two humans and what has been done on them, we also cannot make general statements comparing what we do to dogs/cats and ask if we should also do the same to humans, mosquitoes or viruses, etc. At the end of the day, moments are all we have and in every moment, if we act with compassion and make decisions based on that, I think we would have lived a pretty good and wholesome life, won't you say?
BTW, Barc simalsi, I like that quote from The Matrix!

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:45 am

Kah Yein, your enthusiam is palpable. However your taking the example of parents prohibiting children from unskitlful activities doesn't help, and it's not like the parents removed some organ, which "disables" the child. Actually, I liken this to putting a serial rapist into prison. I'd say that's it's wise and compassionate. He can't stop himself. So, others stop him for him, and others. (If possible, steps should also be made to help him recover.)But it seems to me completely another thing to 'bobbit'-ise him as a compassionate act.

Watching my mind, I notice that it is still open to change it's view on this. Please try another way.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:43 am

I find the analogy given by chankahyein to be appropriate. We cut our children's hair even when they protest as it is we as parents who determine what is appropriate for them. We are responsible for our pets and society as a whole is responsible for the problem of feral animals. To take it further, we take out appendices and tonsils even when they are healthy so that they do not cause any trouble in the future. Why should sexual organs which are not necessary for the health of the animal be seen differently?

This is merely to express my views of course. I doubt anyone here writes with the intention of changing anyone elses mind. That, I believe is for one to decide for oneself.

Edit: Perhaps it is helpful if we can pinpoint exactly what is the objection to spaying. Is it the tinkering of the body of another being or the prevention of them having offspring? If it is the former, we do that all the time for medical, cosmetic and other reasons. If for the latter, it is little different from the practice of parents who forbid their children from activities they deem harmful or inappropriate. That may be some bad karma in there but with wisdom, the mix is more likely for the good.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby benhur » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:42 am

I have several cats in my house and they have all been spayed. I have seen many stray cats and dogs leading a miserable life on the streets - starving, abused and with disease, etc. I concur with the reasons put forth by chankahyein, pilgrim and several others that we should neuter/spay the stray cats and dogs.

But Bhante Kumara, I sensed that you have a different view on this. Apart from your reservation that we have no right to spay/neuter the cats/dogs because we do not have their permission, do you have any other reasons?

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby dagon » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:34 am

I don’t think that anyone here who supports spraying cats and dogs believes that it is a good decision; rather that it is the least worst decision. If the attitude was based on the premise that they did not want their piece disturbed by barking dogs or their lawns defecated on then clearly there is no metta. If the motivation was an aversion to seeing animals suffering was an attempt to avoid seeing the truth of birth death and suffering then the intent is wrong.

My attitude is based in what I saw as a child in a Buddhist country and my limited understanding of the Dhamma (please feel free to correct me on any errors of understanding). What I saw was packs of dogs, starving, diseased and suffering that were captured, tied in bags and dumped alive in the river. Clearly this is cruel and inhumane killing but when you look at these actions with loving kindness for those doing this you can understand (but not approve) of what was happening. That same feeling and a belief in the teaching of the Buddha would bring you to the conclusion that you would not wish anyone to incur that sort of karma.

We could of course provide for the animals instead and on the surface that is an appealing concept. The problem here is that to feed the animals requires food and over the life time of the animal that can be a lot of meat/other animals. While we could not be doing any killing ourselves others would and suffer that karma associated with that. Is this helping to promote the Dhamma – is this helping other to escape the circle of birth and death, is this helping other to follow the path that Buddha has shown us.

For me living in a non-Buddhist culture where the majority of people have a belief in the superiority of man over animals, and a belief that all other form of life are only here to serve man I can leave these question for others – the laws take away my freedom of choice in many of these considerations.

In the not too distant future I will move to Thailand and have the responsibility for my new kids, I will be living as close as I can to the Dhamma – it will be interesting to see what if any decisions I will make in regard to controlling the birth of animals that would be living in suffering.

with Metta
paul

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:32 am

benhur wrote:I have several cats in my house and they have all been spayed. I have seen many stray cats and dogs leading a miserable life on the streets - starving, abused and with disease, etc.

So have I, and have thought about how this can be solved too. If we're considering spaying, I'm thinking: Even if they are spayed, they could still be starving, abused and with disease, etc, right? Yours aren't not because they are spayed, but because they are protected and well nourished.

The point of spaying is to prevent the suffering of their potentially unwanted offsprings, right? At least that's the usual reasoning I get from others, although Kah Yein gave some more for my consideration. (Like to add that by "unwanted", I meant unwanted by the humans. The animals may not care if they produce offsprings, though they may grieve over loss.)

I suppose none of us are willing (or able) to feed all the strays and their future offspring with good food so that they are healthy. So, preventing birth comes as the best we're willing to do to prevent the suffering of potentially unwanted offsprings. This I question as it assumes that we can actually prevent fruition of akusala kamma by preventing birth. If there's no available wombs around your area, kamma finds its way elsewhere. (Hope you've read my posting with the sutta quote: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=17827&start=20#p253096)

So, could we be causing suffering for no benefit?

Pilgrim's comparison with the mentally challenged daughter got me thinking. I'm still chewing over this. He also gave another reason, that is prevention of rape. This seems reasonable to me at this time.

Come to think of it, if this is the right thing to do, then what Kay Yein said about preventing agonising death due to obstructed labour, etc., should seem fine too. Yet I'm still wondering: If this is a compassionate act, would it also be compassionate to spay women whom we know are not healthy enough to give birth? (For the sake of giving this a fair consideration, let's put aside the issue of legality.)

But Bhante Kumara, I sensed that you have a different view on this. Apart from your reservation that we have no right to spay/neuter the cats/dogs because we do not have their permission, do you have any other reasons?

Seriously, I don't see how we can have their permission! My initial response was "I wouldn't want this to be done to me." I wonder: Isn't this inflicting harm on another? Is it right to cause some suffering to existing animals to prevent the potential suffering of those seeking birth (sambhavesi)? As above, is it even possible to prevent their suffering?

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:59 am

Contraceptives prevent new births, but except for the Catholic Church, no other religious authority is against it. Of course the argument is that birth control, unlike spaying is voluntary. But then, take Communist China which prevents families having more than 2 children on risk of heavy monetary penalties. This prevents birth through psychological means as opposed to physical means. As this prevents fruition of good kamma in a valuable human birth, it should, following Bhante Kumara's line of reasoning, be even more abhorrent. But Buddhists have not raised any issue against voluntary birth control or government policies that limit population growth. The workings of kamma is extremely complex and beyond avoiding evil and doing good, we cannot make policies based on speculation how kamma will come to fruition for the infinite number of beings seeking birth. We can only seek to solve the suffering before us.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby chankahyein » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:34 pm

If we use the argument that "... whatever action is done out of greed, hatred or delusion ... will ripen wherever the individual is reborn; and wherever the action ripens, there the individual experiences the fruit, be it in this life, or in the next life, or in subsequent future lives. ~ Nidana Sutta (AN 3.34) or that "So, even without any dogs to be born into, the law of kamma will find its way. Right? If there's no available wombs around your area, kamma finds its way elsewhere." to suggest that it is pointless to get animals neutered, then can we also apply this same principle to humans and suggest that drug rehabilitation, treatment of diseases, rescue from natural disasters, prevention of wars, hysterectomies to prevent ovarian cancer, etc. are also futile in the prevention of suffering? Why bother getting a drug addict rehabilitated if his "kamma" is to suffer? Why bother saving the life of a cancer patient if it is his "kamma" to suffer the pain? Cure them now but "kamma will find its way elsewhere", wouldn't it? They are doomed to suffer because "when the action ripens, be it this life, next life or in subsequent future lives, that being, whoever he or she may be, will still bear the fruit of his/her previous action". But we humans don't seem to apply this to fellow humans, so we continue doing charity for humans. We continue helping the poor in the slums of Calcutta, the war victims in Africa, the orphans, the old folks, the mentally depressed, victims of earthquakes and tsunamis. Why? Help them now, but they will still suffer in their next life. So looking at this far-sighted big picture, we are not really alleviating suffering, are we? On this note, I agree with Pilgrim that "The workings of kamma is extremely complex and beyond avoiding evil and doing good, we cannot make policies based on speculation how kamma will come to fruition for the infinite number of beings seeking birth. We can only seek to solve the suffering before us."

And Bhante Kumara, you explained: "My initial response was "I wouldn't want this to be done to me." I wonder: Isn't this inflicting harm on another? Is it right to cause some suffering to existing animals to prevent the potential suffering of those seeking birth (sambhavesi)? As above, is it even possible to prevent their suffering?" Based on your statement above, if I understand you correctly, is it because you are empathetically putting yourself in the place of the animal and you "wouldn't want this to be done" on you? In other words, you do not want to be neutered without your permission? However, for me, personally, if I knew that unless I was spayed, I would be producing offsprings every cycle until the day I die or that I will be hounded by males of my species and subject to an activity which I find painful (according to the university veterinarian) or that I will not be able to take care of the many offsprings that I would produce, I would want a human to get me spayed. That's me speaking, empathetically, ie. putting myself in the place of a female dog or cat. I suppose then, the counter argument to this would be: Wait a minute, if you are a dog or a cat, you won't know all this! Then I might say: How do we know that they don't know? Animals know much more than what we give them credit for. I am speaking from experience since I deal with them on a daily basis. I've had stray cats coming to me, walking straight into the cage only to have me discover that they have a wound that needs to be treated. My most recent experience is this stray cat who came back to me twice a day to be fed his antibiotics...because he knew he needed the bitter medication to get well? I don't know...you tell me.

The benefits of neutering are many. In my opinion, these benefits far outweigh the philosophical arguments put forth against it. If you are directly involved in rescue work, you might see why. For example, (1) We have encountered mother-dogs protecting their newborns, refusing to run when council workers go on their rounds, even when the rest of the colony runs and escapes capture. The mother-dog and her puppies are then captured and brutally killed. (2) We have encountered kittens infected with FIV or FeLV, transmitted from the mother (because she is a stray), dying from these terminal diseases. Now, had the mother-dog in (1) been spayed, she would have run from the council workers as she would not have stayed behind to protect the babies as there would have been no babies. In (2), if the mother-cat had been spayed, she would not have produced the FIV or FeLV-infected babies who later die a slow and agonising death on the street. I could go on, based on the years of rescue work I have done, but as someone rightly pointed out in this forum, our decisions very much depends on what we do and the experiences we have had. It is quite impossible to convince someone to agree with our views when he or she has not seen or experienced what we have and in such case, I would prefer to disagree and go on doing what we think is best for the animals with a clear conscience.

However, one thing disturbs me, though. It is to see that lady crying at the temple, asking me what to do with the 16 puppies her unspayed female dog had given birth to, and telling me that her master (I assume, a spiritual teacher) forbids her to get her pet-dog spayed because it was "wrong" to do so. While we are told to question, investigate and put the teachings to the test, some people prefer to just listen to what their spiritual teachers tell them. I wonder how many puppies the lady has now and I wonder what she has done with those puppies as she refused to let me take her dog to be spayed. I know of others in the same position who would put the puppies in a sack, drive to a far-off place and dump them there (to die). It also disturbs me to have visited this other lady who had rescued more than 100 dogs and had kept them in tiny cages in a "shelter" that she had built. The males are caged separately from the females, because her Buddhist belief forbids her from getting them neutered. We offered to neuter her dogs for free for her, but she declined our offer because she is Buddhist. The male dogs go cranky when the females come on heat and they end up attacking each other. Mating animals will fight to the death and go for blood - that is how strong and vicious this instinct is. Neutered male animals may still fight for territory but they often do not go for blood (based on research findings). So, this lady's dogs are kept in cages all their lives to prevent them from mating. Now, to me, that is suffering, a far greater suffering than living in another shelter that practises neutering where dogs are allowed to roam freely within the shelter grounds, where males do not go cranky and kill each other during the mating season. But of course, that is just my opinion based on what I have seen and what I do to help animals.

Allow me to quote Pilgrim again that "we can only seek to solve the suffering before us". So, if I were to see a child about to be run over by a lorry, I would pull the child away to safety. Someone, quoting the Nidana Sutta, might argue saying that I haven't done the child any good because it is his kamma to suffer that fate in another instance or another life. But I'd still pull the child to safety, anyway.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby manas » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:22 pm

There is an underlying, knotty problem in this debate, which is that we humans, a superior species, assume that it's fine to decide on behalf of animals, an inferior species, 'what is best for them'. But I can assure you that we would not like it if a vastly superior species to ourselves, say a benificent alien one, just turned up and with good intentions, subjugated us and imposed mass sterilizations on us, "for our own good". We would chafe under such rule. But we don't mind subjecting animals to this.

But what to do? Just let strays pump out litter after litter? Condemning the puppies to starvation or eventual drowning? It's a knotty problem with no perfect solution. But you do have to admit, we humans, as a species, could be accused of doing the same thing - just pumping out more and more babies worldwide, to the point where already, it would take more than one Earth to sustain all of us naturally. It's only because of cheap oil that we can keep pushing population up like this, and not die off in a mass famine.

:anjali:

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby pilgrim » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:28 am

manas wrote:There is an underlying, knotty problem in this debate, which is that we humans, a superior species, assume that it's fine to decide on behalf of animals, an inferior species, 'what is best for them'. But I can assure you that we would not like it if a vastly superior species to ourselves, say a benificent alien one, just turned up and with good intentions, subjugated us and imposed mass sterilizations on us, "for our own good". We would chafe under such rule. But we don't mind subjecting animals to this.
:anjali:


Sometimes situations do arise when we recognise that we have the greater wisdom to impose our will on another being. Do we not compel our children to bathe and to cut their hair even when they protest loudly? If you have a mentally challenged daughter, who being ignorant of the consequences of her actions, produce children every year to be given up for adoption, would you not find a means to prevent her pregnancy, even if she has not given her consent? We cannot convince strays to be celibate, to take birth control pills or fit them all with IUDs. Spaying or neutering is not the ideal situation but it is the most feasible option.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:46 am

chankahyein wrote:can we also apply this same principle to humans and suggest that drug rehabilitation, treatment of diseases, rescue from natural disasters, prevention of wars, hysterectomies to prevent ovarian cancer, etc. are also futile in the prevention of suffering?

I've considered such things before, and see them as different. (I could be wrong.) I see these as the fruition of good kamma, which mitigates the suffering. For example, if we help an injured dog (or human), we can clearly see that we're doing some good there (assuming we do it right). If we try to prevent birth by removing its reproductive organ, prevention of suffering is speculative, isn't it?

Besides, this seems to fly in the face of pilgrim's rationale with the words "we cannot make policies based on speculation how kamma will come to fruition for the infinite number of beings seeking birth. We can only seek to solve the suffering before us."

However, for me, personally, if I knew that unless I was spayed, I would be producing offsprings every cycle until the day I die or that I will be hounded by males of my species and subject to an activity which I find painful (according to the university veterinarian) or that I will not be able to take care of the many offsprings that I would produce, I would want a human to get me spayed.

I understand your choice, but can a dog think like this?

(1) We have encountered mother-dogs protecting their newborns, refusing to run when council workers go on their rounds, even when the rest of the colony runs and escapes capture. The mother-dog and her puppies are then captured and brutally killed. (2) We have encountered kittens infected with FIV or FeLV, transmitted from the mother (because she is a stray), dying from these terminal diseases. Now, had the mother-dog in (1) been spayed, she would have run from the council workers as she would not have stayed behind to protect the babies as there would have been no babies. In (2), if the mother-cat had been spayed, she would not have produced the FIV or FeLV-infected babies who later die a slow and agonising death on the street.

So, you figure that it's better that they weren't born at all (at least not where you would encounter them)?

If at least one of my parents were infertile, you figure I would be prevented from experiencing a human life, with its happiness and suffering?

It is quite impossible to convince someone to agree with our views when he or she has not seen or experienced what we have and in such case, I would prefer to disagree and go on doing what we think is best for the animals with a clear conscience.

I've no intention to change your views on this, KY. I understand your passion in this.

When another lady asked what I thoughts of this effort (which led to another lady talking about her dogs who refused to breed), I didn't say anything to discourage her at all. Suspecting that she has already done it and would probably continue, I only told her about why people think it's a good idea. I should add that at that time I still wasn't sure of it myself.

In fact, at this point, I'm still wondering, which is why I started this topic. Didn't expect you to join the forum. I'm guessing that pilgrim invited you here.

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby chankahyein » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:20 am

While we have general principles which guide us on what to do and what not to do, in life, there are sometimes only shades of grey. While we have wonderful and idealistic philosophies on how to respond to situations, sometimes we have to put aside our ideals and respond in practical ways for the purpose of, quoting Pilgrim, "seeking to solve the suffering before us".

Let me give you a real-life scenario, Bhante Kumara. I moved into my new neighbourhood more than a year ago and discovered that there is a female cat who is fed by a feeder, but the feeder had never managed to get her spayed for the last ten years. Each time he wanted to catch her, she would either be pregnant or is still nursing. He said she had been giving birth 4 times a year, is usually "always pregnant" and most of her kittens have either been killed on the road or had just "disappeared" after awhile. Only two offsprings survived and they are still with her (both already neutered by the feeder).

This 10+ year-old cat, whom I now call "Daffodil" was then caught and I got her spayed. Ever since then, of course she has not given birth anymore and I do not have to worry about her getting obstructed labour (I have rescued and nursed one such cat before, found ice-cold by the roadside, all foetuses dead inside her, her insides had turned necrotic), pyometra or the various cancers of her reproductive system. Daffodil now lives in my house compound with her two offsprings and several other community cats, all neutered and vaccinated, but all are community cats, ie. free roaming in my neighbourhood.

Bhante, I am truly interested in hearing your views on what you would do if you encountered such a cat in your SBS compound, ie. having given birth for the last 10+ years and most of her kittens have died. Would you let her continue giving birth until the day she dies, knowing that for the past 10 years this has been happening? Lock her in a cage so that she won't be able to mate (but the urge would be there and she will cry during the mating season)?

Neutering isn't killing. It is just prevention of birth by removal of the reproductive organs. If I had a diseased kidney, I'd probably need to get it removed too. A uterus or the testicles are organs, as are kidneys, pancreas, etc. Removal of certain organs will not kill us.

Now, euthanasia is intentional killing. That is something I have never ordered on any animal, no matter how badly injured or diseased the animal is. We give palliative care until the animal passes away on his/her own.

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Kumara
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:39 am

chankahyein wrote:Bhante, I am truly interested in hearing your views on what you would do if you encountered such a cat in your SBS compound, ie. having given birth for the last 10+ years and most of her kittens have died. Would you let her continue giving birth until the day she dies, knowing that for the past 10 years this has been happening? Lock her in a cage so that she won't be able to mate (but the urge would be there and she will cry during the mating season)?

I suppose you haven't been to SBS to know that cats are unlikely to suddenly appear here. All our cats have been brought here, and we only keep males. But let me imagine that a female cat do somehow come. Going by past history with female dogs, I suppose we'd send her off elsewhere.

Neutering isn't killing. It is just prevention of birth by removal of the reproductive organs. If I had a diseased kidney, I'd probably need to get it removed too. A uterus or the testicles are organs, as are kidneys, pancreas, etc. Removal of certain organs will not kill us.

I know that. (Anyway, if I had a diseased organ, I'd have it healed.)

Now, euthanasia is intentional killing. That is something I have never ordered on any animal, no matter how badly injured or diseased the animal is. We give palliative care until the animal passes away on his/her own.

And some people say that it's cruel, and would even condemn you for it, right?

chankahyein
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby chankahyein » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:53 am

Bhante Kumara wrote: I suppose you haven't been to SBS to know that cats are unlikely to suddenly appear here. All our cats have been brought here, and we only keep males. But let me imagine that a female cat do somehow come. Going by past history with female dogs, I suppose we'd send her off elsewhere.

Send her somewhere where there are no males, or just send her off elsewhere?

I wrote: Now, euthanasia is intentional killing. That is something I have never ordered on any animal, no matter how badly injured or diseased the animal is. We give palliative care until the animal passes away on his/her own.

Bhante Kumara wrote: And some people say that it's cruel, and would even condemn you for it, right?

Oh yes, of course. Whatever we do, we can never please everyone. But I can sleep easy at night knowing I have not ordered or caused any animal to be killed, so that's good enough for me.


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