Dear 100 Hour Board,
Is it ethical to castrate animals?
My mom has two rabbits; one male, one female. We've had them since they were little fluffy babies, and we've tried to breed them once. Unfortunately, the first litter all died, and we haven't tried since. They're kept in separate cages to prevent them from mating again. The male one tends to have an "attitude" sometimes. Recently he bit my younger brother - totally unprovoked - and left a good mark on him. Now my mom is considering "fixing" the little rabbit.
Do you think this is ethical to do? Neutering animals to temper their attitudes? We don't do that with people (imagine what a nightmare that would be). Why is it considered "OK" to do it with animals? Do you think castrating animals is more often justified or unjustified?
Dear Those used to be my favorite animal,
Okay, we can't really compare our relationship to animals with our relationship to other humans. For example, we kill and eat animals all the time, and the majority of the population agrees doing such isn't morally wrong. However, it would clearly be morally wrong to start killing and eating other humans.
Yeah, animals are cute and can be awesome companions, but when it comes down to it, they aren't on the same level as humans. Thus we can do things to animals without it being morally wrong that would be morally wrong to do to a human.
Is it ethical to have cats, dogs, or rabbits allow them to roam freely outside your house and either impregnate or be impregnated by other animals, leading to a feral animal population that can suffer and starve from a lack of adequate resources, or become an invasive, destructive species in the habitat where it has been unleashed?
'Cause that happens all the time, even though I don't think it's ethical. I won't soapbox at length today about the destructive effects of cats on local and international bird populations, nor will I vociferously oppose the ownership of free-roaming dogs in Latin America, but maybe you'll be interested to read the ecological impacts rabbits had on Australia.
Do I think it's ethical to castrate animals? Yes.
Do I want to be the one castrating them? No.
Do I have an experience in which I helped castrate a bunch of goats that informs the answer to the previous question? Yes.