The Neutering Issue: A Review of the Western Countries

Published: 11th March 2009
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Many citizens defend the right to spay or neuter their pet at their discretion, but for some people that choice may be taken away from them. In some English speaking countries the pet overpopulation problem is so bad that various governments are talking about restricting pet breeding solely to registered breeders. In others, neutering is rarely done. Why is the procedure so touted in some countries, and reviled in others? Let's look at some of the situations concerning neutering around the globe.

United States

In the US over 3 million domestic animals are euthanized each year for lack of a home. Puppy mills are unregulated in most states and produce genetically deficient puppies who often have major health problems. For the most part there is no legislation requiring sterilization of pets, but at this point California is considering it. At the very least all animals adopted from shelters have a mandatory neutering clause. Some breeders also sell pets for a discounted rate if the owner signs a spay/neuter contract which obliges them to sterilize the pet after which they receive papers (in the case of pure bred animals). Neutering is a regular procedure in the United States, and most vets support it as a good way to stop breeding urges which lead to behavior like marking and running away, not to mention unwanted puppies or kittens. The view on the neutering debate is similar in Canada as in the US.


In Europe dogs and cats are neutered far less often than in the US. Breeding is more controlled and the pet overpopulation problem does not exist to the degree it does in the US. In Europe the Scandinavian countries are most opposed to neutering, and many vets refuse to provide the service unless medically necessary for the dog's health. In fact, these countries often have the reverse of an American neutering contract. Sometimes breeders require buyers to sign a contract agreeing to keep the pet whole and allow the breeder to use the dog to produce a litter if he or she desires. Overall, pet's reproductive processes are seen as natural rather than destructive.


In Australia the neutering debate takes on a new perspective with the issue of invasive species. The introduction of the domestic cat to the Australian eco-system has been destructive, especially on local birds. Some studies even claim that 33% of wildlife deaths are due to cats. Whether this is valid or not it has caused many Australians to dispose of feral cats and to neuter their own animals. Legislation to neuter all cats except for those owned by registered breeders is even under consideration. In Australia neutering isn't just about pet overpopulation; it's also about the environment.

Of course, this is just a small slice of the world. But the Western world at least has similar thoughts about the role of a pet in our lives, while many other parts of the world think differently. Wherever you live you have to carefully consider what you think is best for your pet, to be neutered or remain whole. At the end of the day, neutered or whole, your dog or cat's love for you will remain constant.
About the author: Ron Ayalon is an accomplished Internet marketer and educator, focusing on the pet industry and unique websites for building successful pet businesses on the Internet at: Pet Web Design

For a limited time, Ron Ayalon is giving away Puppy Paper news on pet health, training, nutrition and pet food. Get your free Puppy Paper news worth $79 at:

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