Some Home Truths About Birth Control
Posted November 28, 2006
My wife and I have no pets, but in our back yard we have wild squirrels, rabbits, Steller's jays, robins and pileated woodpeckers. A few times a week a family of deer or a covey of quail will amble through. All of these creatures reproduce at will, but are also subject to predation by hawks, owls, ravens and eagles. Cougars and bears have been known occasionally to make their way into Victoria as well. The deer are sometimes killed by a fast car on the freeway, and smaller animals are consumed by predators. A mama rabbit was showing up in our rose garden twice a day to call her six babies to her and nurse them. Now all the babies have been lost to the owl, hawks and eagles; some, perhaps, to a marauding neighbourhood cat.
I don't interfere much with rampant nature in our yard except to try to fence the deer out of our roses and crabapples. No birth control is necessary for any of the animals in our yard, because "Nature, red in tooth and claw," as Tennyson puts it, keeps things in check.
The reason Kylie Dicks has problems with his rabbits potentially mating is because he has fenced them in to make them pets and protect them from predators. If he were to release them, nature would probably take its course. He has already interfered with the natural order of things by taking pets. Once he has made that decision, he has taken responsibility for all that follows, and he will need to interfere with nature again to spay or neuter them. As with the great sage Bharat, who once began to feel responsible for a deer, Kylie feels great and genuine responsibility for creatures dependent upon him.
Kylie alludes to the euthanizing of unwanted animals, which certainly happens all too often with litters of kittens and puppies when irresponsible owners allow their dogs and cats to breed. After he neuters his current pets, he will likely wish to care for them until they die. After that time, he may wish to avoid future such dilemmas by not keeping pets.
There is nothing wrong with spaying or neutering. Certainly the people who protect cattle and train them to pull a cart or a plough know that they must castrate their oxen if they want them to be tractable and safe to be around. Similarly, it is irresponsible to breed the cows at such a rate that the population of calves increases beyond the capacity of the land they require for their nutrition and maintenance. So the wise cowherd will keep the bull from doing what comes naturally when the cows are in heat.
In the 21st century we live in a world whose population is rapidly increasing whilst outstripping finite and increasingly scarce resources. There is a very real possibility that during the next 50 to 100 years large swaths of the world will become inarable or even uninhabitable.
We may hold to an ideal of rigid sense control and abstention from sex.
Many devotees are able to live a noble life of self-denial without
hypocrisy. For those who cannot, however, it would be better honestly
to acknowledge their limitations. It is kinder for a householder man to
accept a vasectomy than to allow his wife to endure numerous
pregnancies resulting in his children being deprived of a high standard
of care and a chance for advanced education.