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).

Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:40 am

Hi Blackbird
I think you and I have lot of thing in common except, that you went from city to the jungle and I came from jungle to the city. I do not have any practical experience which you have but I just realise these problems through deduction.
Buddha never asked us to chase snakes or mosquitoes. In fact he said that the best environment for the meditater is a place free from all these problems.
--------------------------------
§ 52. These are the five factors for exertion. Which five?
[2] The monk is free from illness & discomfort, endowed with good digestion — not too cold, not too hot, of moderate strength — fit for exertion.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part2.html
--------------------------------------
That is why I tell people that the best place to meditate is behind closed doors!
I do not like manipulating nature too much. I think we are digging a big hole and one day we will not be able to come out of it. Eg: Antibiotics
I think mosquitoes are here for a reason and they will be extinct when the time is right.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:00 am

SarathW wrote:I think mosquitoes are here for a reason and they will be extinct when the time is right.


Hi Sarath, that's where we differ, you see I don't think there's any reason for Sangsara at all, nor individual variations of animals or insects. Naturally from an environmental perspective there are some species we should preserve. There are many delicate ecosystems that require certain species to maintain the balance. Malaria vector mosquitos are not among this group. We're not talking about the extinction of all mosquitos, just the species that are vectors for serious diseases. There are a large number of different types of mosquitos and we're only talking about the extinction of a few of those.

I find it interesting that you interpret that there is a 'reason' for mosquitos being around. Out of interest do you think there is a meaning to a lot of thing? Is there meaning to this life or this universe.


Personally I follow the Buddha's reasoning on this one: That the only true purpose in existence is to realize nibbana. Thus our world, and all other worlds in the universe are a matter of chaotic evolution, and there is no 'reason' per say for anything.

That's just my view though, I feel it accords with the Buddha's teachings, but I do not mean to denigrate others views on the matter :)

with metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby appicchato » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:07 am

All for it...
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:10 am

Hi BB
You said:
“That the only true purpose in existence is to realize nibbana.”
Where did you get this idea from?
Please leave your reply in the following link. I don’t want to side track the OP.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16076
Thanks
:)
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:12 am

appicchato wrote:All for it...


Do you mean human animal too? :)
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby manas » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:49 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


There's a risk that, by interfering with Nature in this way, we end up doing more harm than good, in the long run. If this plan really does only impact upon the mosquitoes that carry malaria, then it might be acceptable, at least from a human perspective, to totally eliminate them. But if it somehow ended up impacting on other types of mosquitoes as well, then the many small mammals that rely on mosquitoes for food, such as some bats, would go extinct along with the mosquitoes. We should proceed with extreme caution before willfully making any species extinct, even the ones that cause us disease. When human beings meddle with Nature, they usually end up making things worse. All species of this planet exist in a complex and interconnected Web of Life, and the more we reduce biodiversity (as a rule), the more that intricate balance gets disrupted. We should know this by now.

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Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:30 am

SarathW wrote:Hi BB
You said:
“That the only true purpose in existence is to realize nibbana.”
Where did you get this idea from?
Please leave your reply in the following link. I don’t want to side track the OP.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16076
Thanks
:)


I have responded. I would appreciate it if you answered my question though, ideally in our new thread:

Out of interest do you think there is a meaning to a lot of thing? Is there meaning to this life or this universe?


metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby appicchato » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:51 am

SarathW wrote:
appicchato wrote:All for it...


Do you mean human animal too? :)


Earth's human population is on the short list of things that will (if the current trend continues) doom us sooner rather than later...it's a proposition (to me) definitely worth considering... :pig:
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:04 pm

I'd like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we... are the cure.
Says Agent Smith.
Looks like humans are the one needs to be spayed first...
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby manas » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:37 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:
I'd like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we... are the cure.
Says Agent Smith.
Looks like humans are the one needs to be spayed first...


Large scale sterilization might help to reduce the burgeoning and utterly unsustainable growth of human population. People could be offered substantial cash incentives to have the procedure done (which should always be completely voluntary). They could then use the money to gain better access to education, which could improve their lives and the planet, rather then just popping out yet more humans. If we don't correct ourselves, eventual food shortages, hunger, disease and starvation will. So it would save a lot of pain and trouble if we started on such a program now, imo.

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Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:48 am

I think everyone should be given birth control through the water or something, and you have to pass a parenthood test to prove you're going to be able to provide everything the child needs, both materially and emotionally. Both means tests and character tests would have to be passed before you could have a child.

That way we control the massive overpopulation of this globe and we stop child abuse dead in it's tracks, and ensure that the vast majority of children grow up in loving and caring homes.

Honestly, without oil our planet can only support about 2 billion people. We're headed to 8 billion within the next 20 years, can we really afford to have 6 billion people die off from famine, disease etc when the oil runs out and we no longer have access to the fertalizers and pesticides we've used to generate the agricultural revolution?

I would rather gradually reduce the population by enforced birth control, than have people suffer through famine, war and epidemics.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:43 am

Hi Jack

I think many of us have witnessed things and have worried about the state of the world and have from time to time considered similar solutions.
It looks like as a species we are arriving at a crunch. Something has got to give - that is for sure.
What I have noticed is that as societies have developed a middle class and generally increased in prosperity, birth rates go down.
kind regards,

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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby dagon » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:28 am

Ben wrote:Hi Jack

I think many of us have witnessed things and have worried about the state of the world and have from time to time considered similar solutions.
It looks like as a species we are arriving at a crunch. Something has got to give - that is for sure.
What I have noticed is that as societies have developed a middle class and generally increased in prosperity, birth rates go down.
kind regards,

Ben


hi Ben, Jack

as both individuals and a species we do need to think about solutions but maybe we should contemplate the wisdom of Buddhas teaching in this matter as with all matters. Yes we are clearly approaching a time where conditions are going to become more "hellish". I do not know so maybe some more knowable than me can help me. Are the conditions of our collective live in a reflection of out collective karma. i know that pondering karma outcomes is considered to be fruitless and a diversion from our real business of trying to break the cycle for our selves and showing compassion for other. As usual i don't remember to source, help.

My limited understanding of what Buddha taught was that he provided us with the path he found with his enlightenment, and that it was our free choice if we chose to take the refuges and follow the path. Because of this, imposed solutions do not appear to sit comfortably with me. An imposed solution of the model describes would require that people make choices about the suitability of others to be parents - choices that would be making of unenlightened people. if economic conditions were one of the determining factors then generally those most motivated by greed would be the most likely to qualify !

Yes the world and its material resources are becoming more stressed, of that there can be no question. as some one who aspires to bring the teaching of The Buddha in to my life i find it hard to believe that running short of pesticides is such a bad thing - many aspects of the green revolution are negative. before i am considered to be uncaring there are other solutions that we did not know of at the time of the green Revelation - SRI method rice cultivation is one that comes to mind and sits more comfortably with my beliefs.

Ben i total agree that there is a direct correlation between increasing middle-class and lower family size - but is this caused by wealth or education. Not withstanding that, maybe if there was more compassion and giving to those in more need would this not life the living standards of the poorest who all to often have the large families that they can not support.

With respect and Metta
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby SarathW » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:22 am

appicchato wrote:
SarathW wrote:
appicchato wrote:All for it...


Do you mean human animal too? :)


Earth's human population is on the short list of things that will (if the current trend continues) doom us sooner rather than later...it's a proposition (to me) definitely worth considering... :pig:


---------------
It seems becoming a father or mother is not such bad thing. :)
------------------
I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there (on your shoulders), you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment [§117]: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father.

— AN 2.31-32

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... part3.html
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby Kumara » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:37 am

Thanks to all who contributed to this topic. It obvious that most of you are supportive of neutering, though some of you also voice a concern on whether it is right.

When I first heard of this, I immediately disliked the idea. I thought, "I wouldn't want this to be done to me." Later I questioned that initial response. The arguments for it sounds reasonable. I thought, "Have I decided against it because of an attachment to old views?" Yet, it still didn't sit well in my mind, though it did soften my initial viewpoint.

I wonder: Shouldn't we consider this to be inflicting violence on another? Since the rationale is overpopulation, and humans are heading in that direction too (as some of you noted), would you neuter your children (if you have them)?

I thought about why well-meaning people would make special effort to neuter animals, and the reason is clear: They believe that it would reduce suffering. This seems to make perfect sense, especially in places where there are a lot of unwanted strays. Neutering them would prevent birth of more strays, which being unwanted would likely live a miserable life. The prevented suffering would be greater than the suffering of neutering, right?

So, it makes sense. However, this is only true within the materialistic world view. When we take into account a larger world view of kamma and rebirth, we may question if suffering is actually reduced.

Say that dog in the picture provided earlier. If one of his parents were neutered, would he come to being as a dog? Not as an offspring due to their copulation, but with his kamma to be born as a dog of a miserable life, he would be born elsewhere to experience the results of his kamma, right?

Let's say even those other dogs are neutered. Let's say *all* unwanted strays are neutered. It's an improbable prospect, but let's just say that the neutering projects around the world has been that successful. What happens to the kamma of all the unborn dogs with kamma waiting to be ripen?

... 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) From Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, p. 49-50


So, even without any dogs to be born into, the law of kamma will find its way. Right?

Anyway, this is my tentative view. Please feel free to contradict.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:28 am

Kumara wrote:Anyway, this is my tentative view. Please feel free to contradict.


I consider, on the grounds that it requires us to speculate on the precise working-out of kamma, it is probably a flawed way to approach public policy.

This world is the only one which has the ability to generate a working consensus among individuals who otherwise disagree in terms of their post-death views, e.g. "that person is malnourished", "these piglets are starving to death because the mother is not producing milk", "spaying and neutering prevents many deaths which would otherwise result in suffering due to various factors as observed", and so forth.

It is in the realm of pre-birth-post-death statements where disagreements will arise, precisely because observations and perceptions differ. Certainly I am reminded of the various problems with such grounds for views, as discussed in the Brahmajala Sutta, and I cannot imagine that confrontation and argument in an attempt to resolve these metaphysical disagreements amongst us humans can be claimed to be doing any animal any good.

So, given this world and the causes and conditions which happen within its bounds as consensus reality, we can directly know that spaying and neutering domestic animals is well endured by them, is for their (plural) greater well-being in terms of living conditions, and prevents the birth of animals into situations where their requisites are hard to come by.

Finally, we must consider the human animal. Overpopulation is a serious problem. Certainly a collective human effort would be ideal, but without this level of communication and agreement being possible, does government action become appropriate? Or is this solely an individual choice? Is the answer to enforce a child-bearing limit? Can people get spayed/neutered and transfer their breeding credits to someone who wants a larger family? What about children born anyway, to those who ignore such attempts? Don't they unduly benefit from the sacrifice of others, and continue the problem by out-breeding those who are trying to plan ahead?

For humans, able to see the problem and discuss it, communication is the way forward, and the first step is to have the conversation with everyone. We can see the harm it causes animals, who also act as though they are unaware of the problem and its solution, so we know what is in store for us. While we have the discussion about what to do for the human animal, we can recognize spaying & neutering as a solution appropriate to domestic animals, with observable benefits and an observed decrease in suffering for them.

(For comprehensive coverage: wild animals come under our ethical responsibility as a result of anthropogenic climate change; both wild and domestic animals according to whether the animal is eaten & various domestic-wild interactions. These topics have threads already.)

Perhaps we can make this world with its Dhamma dispensation a place where unpleasant kammavipaka comes to fruition less often & where beings arise who will be keen on the training, neh?
    "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 Kumara » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:19 am

Perhaps this little story may shed some light.

During a Dhamma discussion, a woman who owns the beautiful retreat I was staying in told me about the strange behaviour of her pair of golden retrievers. She said she did everything according to expert advice on dog breeding. Yet, after more than a year, nothing happened. She said, "They never have that kind of action."

Nothing seems wrong with them physically. In fact, fomr time to time there would be a whole gang of dogs barking and howling at the gate, eager to get in. You probably know that it means the female was on heat then. So, she's not barren. And another odd thing is that the male would guard at the gate, while the female would lie flat on the ground. The 2 seemed to have a platonic relationship. They weren't interested in sex at all--neither with each other or with others.

At this juncture, another woman who owns a sundry shop in the outskirt of town chipped in to say that the village dog at her area recently had 9 at one go.

So, I wonder how far humans can play God. Could humans who neuter animals out, believing that they are doing good, be making unskilful actions based on a limited knowledge?

I don't think I can change your view on this, and I don't intend to. Nonetheless, I provide these thoughts for you to think about the matter.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby chankahyein » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:08 am

I run an animal charity and one of our main missions is to encourage people to get street animals (as well as their own pets) neutered. We provide financial subsidies to help them. And yes, I call myself a Buddhist (but if "KIndness" were a religion, I'd much prefer that). In the course of running this charity, we have seen unneutered animals suffer from pyometra (infection of the womb) and obstructed labour, both which cause agonising death, both of which can be prevented if the female animal had been spayed. We have also seen testicular and prostate cancers, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc., many animals dying on the streets due to "natural" breeding, entire litter of infant street animals dying of diseases such as distemper, tick fever, parvovirus, etc. Dogs and cats, unlike humans, do not menopause - they continue breeding until the day they die. In Malaysia, local councils practise capture-and-kill as their method of control of the street animal population.
So, as a Buddhist (if I may call myself one), my take on neutering is a resounding "YES" if our intention is to prevent further births and more suffering on the street.
In living this mundane life, there is the ideal and the practical course of action. I believe to strike a balance between the two, compassion is the answer.
Here is a recent case that we encountered: http://myanimalcare.org/2013/07/07/an-o ... og-spayed/ (you may want to scroll to the last paragraph).
Thank you.
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Re: Should We Neuter or Spay Animals?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:27 am

chankahyein wrote:I run an animal charity and one of our main missions is to encourage people to get street animals (as well as their own pets) neutered. We provide financial subsidies to help them. And yes, I call myself a Buddhist (but if "KIndness" were a religion, I'd much prefer that). In the course of running this charity, we have seen unneutered animals suffer from pyometra (infection of the womb) and obstructed labour, both which cause agonising death, both of which can be prevented if the female animal had been spayed. We have also seen testicular and prostate cancers, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc., many animals dying on the streets due to "natural" breeding, entire litter of infant street animals dying of diseases such as distemper, tick fever, parvovirus, etc. Dogs and cats, unlike humans, do not menopause - they continue breeding until the day they die. In Malaysia, local councils practise capture-and-kill as their method of control of the street animal population.
So, as a Buddhist (if I may call myself one), my take on neutering is a resounding "YES" if our intention is to prevent further births and more suffering on the street.
In living this mundane life, there is the ideal and the practical course of action. I believe to strike a balance between the two, compassion is the answer.
Here is a recent case that we encountered: http://myanimalcare.org/2013/07/07/an-o ... og-spayed/ (you may want to scroll to the last paragraph).
Thank you.


:goodpost:

It goes to the point:

So, given this world and the causes and conditions which happen within its bounds as consensus reality, we can directly know that spaying and neutering domestic animals is well endured by them, is for their (plural) greater well-being in terms of living conditions, and prevents the birth of animals into situations where their requisites are hard to come by.

It is in the realm of pre-birth-post-death statements where disagreements will arise...


:group:
Last edited by daverupa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "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 Kumara » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:40 am

Interesting to see you here, Kah Yein. Welcome to the forum.

Folks, this is the person I heard from when I said "When I first heard of this". Kah Yein has in the past very gently tried to make me reconsider my view on this, and I did. Then upon further consideration I have reverted to the original view.

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.

I'd like to add that despite our longtime, clear disagreement on this matter, Kah Yein and I have remained friends, though I wonder how much longer.... :-\
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