Eric at Classical Values (click title to go there) has been baying for weeks about California AB 1634, a mandatory spay-neuter bill with the Orwellian name "California Healthy Pets Act". It would essentially force any pet owner who wanted to avoid spaying or neutering a dog or cat to register as a breeder, with whatever registration fee, by the time the animal is four months old. This post is only about dogs, but the law applies to cats, too.
The bill probably came about because the neighbor's mutt got busy with some snob's chihuahua, and the result was a whole litter full of dogs. Dogs! No particular breed, just dogs. So now they want to make sure there are no more mutts, but only overpriced and inbred products to market and sell.
There is a fundamental difference of opinion between those who believe that animals have inherent rights and those who believe that animals derive their rights from their relation to us. For instance, anti-extinction laws can be justified on the basis of the inherent right of a species to exist, or on the basis of maintaining access to that species for future generations.
A strange shift has taken place in the animal rights community: many have come to believe that it is better to kill or neuter an animal than to allow it to live in any but the best circumstances. It's similar to the "quality of life" standard for humans, in which euthanasia is justified on the basis of poor quality of life. Quality of life being subjective, the standard may as well be that without access to shopping mall and Starbucks, life is not worth living.
Many places have already made it a crime to shoot your own dog, though no one seems to be able to explain why ending a dog's life that way is more cruel than doing it with a needle. The animal feels no pain either way.
There is another fundamental split, between the collectivists and the individualists. Collectivists believe that property belongs to everyone, and individualists believe in private property.
In AB1634, we see an alliance between those who do not believe in private property and those who want
to control other people's pets, both for the "good" of the pets and to line their own pockets. It's government interference both in the personal lives of people and in the marketplace.
Owning and training a dog is one of the great joys of life. Whether it's a simple game of fetch or teaching a dog sign language, the mutual loyalty is something to be treasured. Knowing that my dog is the first line of defense for my home and family is reason to keep it intensely interested in protecting its turf, as only an non-neutered dog or a mother with pups can be. That the same creature who runs after a Frisbee would gladly risk its neck to protect us is enough to make me unwilling to let anyone near it with a scalpel.
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