This post grew out of my comment to Malvika Kalra‘s post of this article in the Vegans in India facebook group. I thought I’d expound on my thoughts here, and share this link instead of posting a longer comment.
I have been privileged to have two wonderful people I call my kids. But if I was really thinking clearly that time, I wouldn’t have made them. This is not regret. I love my children, but I would have been just as happy to adopt a child with whom I could express my maternal instincts.
Although it’s too late for me now, I still support the views of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement on human procreation. But even if I support it, it is not something I could or would actively campaign for. I miserably fail in the ‘walk the talk’ test in this arena. I’m just expressing my thoughts but this will not and never be the centerpiece of my animal rights activism.
But to expound it further, I’d like the human species to voluntarily die out while in the process, allow non-human animals and plants to reclaim their domain that we usurped. While many antinatalists criticize and bash people who do decide to have babies, #VHEMNT is for reproductive freedom and voluntary non-procreation, which resonates more with me. Also human extinction is more a rhetorical than actual vision since the approach is voluntary non-procreation, so it would be impossible to get humans actually extinct. The message of VHEMNT is clear to me though. I hope it is also clear to you.
And so given this premise, I would like to ask all who have companion animals not to spay them. For me spaying is speciecist. People allow humans to procreate and also agree for the propagation of wildlife, while neutering domesticated animals. To me these views are contradicting.
Are they afraid that animal offsprings would suffer? Animals don’t suffer on their own. They only suffer in the hands of humans. While they are sentient beings, their natural intelligence and resilience allow them to lead fairly normal lives despite negative experience. There is no need for a scholarly paper here. Just see how there is no depressed animal in the wild. They go about their business no matter what the circumstance. On the other hand, the presence of humans have caused animals immeasurable suffering. Their natural intelligence is stunted because people either make them slaves, raw material, food, or entertainment; or keep them in their homes, so sheltered like fragile china. Whether farm animals or domestic animals, humans have damaged their resilience and thus changed their fate.
Is it their suffering that bothers people or the idea that animals will multiply so much and usurp human habitats? If not, why are humans worried that animals will multiply? Left on their own without human interference, animals will be able to reclaim their wildness. It might take a couple of generations or more. But humans are around. At least humans that make animals suffer, sometimes even unconsciously, by suffocating them with love.
I still think that there is a collective underlying reason for not wanting animals to multiply. Check non-vegans like city administrators or animal farm owners, for example. They do have different reasons for not wanting domestic animals to multiply while wanting more and more farmed animals to breed for profit. Also, if a farm animal’s procreation will not contribute to profit, they are violently castrated. Vegans and animal lovers on the other hand might think they would not be able to take care of more animal babies so they spay them. If there are other reasons, I don’t know.
Farm animals are seen as something to be controlled and put in cages, actually, seen as things instead of living beings. On the other hand, domestic animals are seen as pets (another idea I’m not very fond of), and thus should be loved and cared for. So a vegan’s individual reason for spaying their pet is different. However, I still think there might be a collective unconscious and underlying reason for not wanting domestic animals to multiply. Could the reason be the avoidance of human and animal conflict once animals claim the earth back as their own?
No matter what the reason is, spaying and neutering is clearly speciecist to me. I have been bashed about this view many times but I stand by it, no matter how unpopular and controversial this idea is. In a nutshell this is what I think: don’t control animal population; they are not ours for us to decide on their fate and life; do not do unto animals what you don’t want to be done unto humans; what is unacceptable for humans should be unacceptable for animals, at least in basic rights to live and be free; reproduction is a matter of right, and humans have no business tinkering with this right; consent is the only reasonable excuse to castrate another, but since animals cannot give this consent, then we shouldn’t do it to them.
Humans came in late to this planet, yet we managed to thrash it in the little time we’ve been here. Without humans (rhetorical, to those who still don’t get it) surely the planet and other beings would heal . There is a danger about this though. This could be used by twisted minds to justify killing of humans. It is totally not acceptable. This is where #VHEMNT’s argument works. The voluntary extinction of man as opposed to harming or killing humans to liberate animals.
Meanwhile, humans have to work hard to educate about veganism and ending speciecism. And if they decide not to procreate, well and good.
P.S. I still love my vegan friends who decided to spay their animal kids. But it doesn’t mean I agree with them. I also have no expectations they would agree with me on this. Ultimately, I think vegans have to focus on the one and only common agenda, freeing animals from human bondage.