All Dogs Go to Heaven

Animals at the end of life

Contraceptive Pet Food?

A Dear Abby column asks: why not put contraceptives in dog and cat food?

Did anyone else read Dear Abby this morning? Yes, this is one of my guilty pleasures... but I did not find this morning's column at all amusing. In fact, I almost spit up my coffee when I read the headline: "Controlling pet population should be as easy as eating." Say what?

Here is the reader's question to Dear Abby:
"Why don't they put something in pet food to keep dogs and cats from getting pregnant?"

To which Abby (a.k.a. Jeanne Phillips) replies, and I'm paraphrasing: so far, we just haven't figured out a cheap and effective way to produce contraceptive pet food. But there are trials under way to develop oral contraceptives to control wild animal populations like coyotes. So (presumably) something like this is certainly conceivable for the population of pets somewhere down the line.

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How exactly would this work? Would all dog and cat food be laced with contraceptives? Or just dog and cat food fed to shelter animals? Or would contraceptive food be just another option among others at grocery and pet stores, shelved alongside senior, anti-allergy, and reduced fat diets? What would it be called? Reproductive Control Plus?

The sentiment behind the reader's question seems right on: controlling the population of pets is much better than the massive killing of millions of unwanted animals. But I found the question, and especially Abby's answer, distasteful. Am I overreacting?

 

Bioethicist and writer Jessica Pierce, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming book The Last Walk: Reflecting On Our Pets at Life's End. more...

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