Insensitivity reigns once again. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering a free vasectomy in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. I must admit when I first heard about this, I thought the “in honor of” part was probably being exaggerated . Nope, sure enough it was not.
It’s a two-fer: Get your animal companion fixed, and get yourself fixed too! Human overpopulation is crowding out animal life on the planet, and dog and cat overpopulation is creating a euthanasia crisis that is a crying shame. Disappearing wilderness, vanishing water resources, and pollution is the price that future generations will pay for more human births, while losing their lives is the price that millions of homeless dogs and cats pay when guardians neglect to “fix” their companion animals…. Now, one lucky man can be reproduction-free, free of charge, just like his pooch or feline friend. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 to 30), PETA will give one free vasectomy to a man who has recently had his companion cat or dog neutered.
Oh my, where to even begin. I’ve included a screen shot below of the PETA campaign rather than a link since I don’t want them to benefit by an increased number of hits to their website.
First, I don’t disagree that animal overpopulation is a problem, and I fully support neutering our pets. I also don’t disagree that humans can and do cause a host of environmental problems, including the ones they mention. I also have no problem at all with any man who does not want children or more children getting a vasectomy and think it’s great if PETA wants to give it to him. Bully for them.
Where I do disagree is when they draw infertility into their campaign. Infertility is a disease which causes suffering that is rated by researchers to be on the level of cancer. Would PETA offer a year’s supply of cigarettes in honor of National Cancer Awareness Week? I think not. So why is it acceptable to trivialize the suffering of one disease and not another?
If PETA wanted to make the point that human overpopulation is as great of a problem for the environment as pet overpopulation, why not offer a free vasectomy in honor of Earth Day. The timing (April 22) is perfect for this campaign and the analogy at least hangs together. To make the campaign in honor of National Infertility Awareness week just seems gratuitously mean.
PETA, have your animal neutering campaign, but don’t make fun of the victims of a disease. Here is the contact information, if you want to contact PETA to express your opinion.
Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Some other great blogs on this subject: