Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pet lover green tip: Spay and neuter

Tiny kittens like Maggie can have a huge environmental impact
A friend of mine who is active in the green movement once told me she was essentially fighting waste.

Many people use something just once, or only for a short time, and then discard it without considering how much energy is spent to make the thing or thinking about where the waste goes.

I think this same analogy could apply to companion animals.

Nearly everyone will find a puppy or kitten adorable and cuddly. (Maggie, shown here at 8 weeks old, is nearly cute enough to eat.) But many people will treat these animals like so much garbage when they are grown. Go on craigslist.com and search for animals older than 2 years old. Chances are, you'll find that most adoptable animals are this age or older. They were purchased as babies, discarded as adults.

We all know that many, many animals are euthanized in shelters across the country. Many lose their lives simply because there is no place for them to go. This seems the textbook definition of waste: old things are thrown out while new things are being produced.

This is the reason I believe any responsible pet owner should spay and neuter. And I think this topic rightfully belongs on a list of green tips meant to reduce waste.

Myths about the surgeries are numerous and persistent. However, allowing a female animal to have a litter of babies does not make her healthier as an adult. Allowing a male animal to be neutered does not make him less "manly." Having a litter of animals from one pet will not result in an exact duplication of that pet. Any time you hear someone say something like this, ask that person to stop and research the facts. Send the person to this link.

After you have spayed/neutered your own pets, consider donating to the Oregon Spay and Neuter Fund or participating in one of the fundraisers the organization holds. This organization provides financial assistance for low income families to spay and neuter their animals. It's a great way to have a bigger impact on the pet overpopulation problem in Oregon.

Missed the first entry in this series of green tips for pet lovers? Click here.