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?