Dogs and cats can’t use condoms; it’s up to us to have them spayed or neutered in order to curb animal overpopulation. Because of breeders, pet stores, and irresponsible people who haven’t had their animals sterilized, the dog and cat population has multiplied out of control. Between 6 and 8 million animals enter U.S. shelters every year—about half of them are euthanized. (Some people feel that no-kill shelters are a feasible alternative to open-admission shelters, but no-kills are simply not a realistic or humane option. Read PETA’s blog on the issue to find out why.) We can reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters simply by promoting spaying and neutering.
To inspire as many people as possible to have their animal companions—or other animals in need—spayed or neutered, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) organizes an official Spay Day on the last Tuesday of every February. This year’s Spay Day will take place on February 23 and HSUS has suggested a number of ways in which caring individuals can participate in the event.
Several other animal protection organizations and veterinary clinics are also organizing activities to promote Spay Day. UC Davis, for instance, is planning to spay or neuter 75 dogs in honor of Spay Day and, according to the Kitsap Spay and Neuter Council, a number of veterinarians in the Washington area are offering discounted surgery rates The Arizona Humane Society is asking people to “Spay It Forward” by sponsoring an animal to be spayed or neutered free of charge. Similar campaigns and activities are taking place in communities across the U.S. To find out about events in your area, try contacting your local humane society or vet clinic. (And if you are hosting a Spay Day function or looking for volunteers to participate in a Spay Day campaign, please feel free to let everyone know about it in the comments section.)
On a national level, PETA is issuing a Spay Day Challenge for people to print out its “Top 5 Reasons to Spay Today” poster and plaster them everywhere from veterinarian’s offices, supermarkets, pet supply stores, dog parks, and anywhere else you’re allowed to place them. (And if you send and e-mail to AnimalBirthControl@peta.org, telling PETA about your efforts, you could win a free “Spay Today” bumper sticker or “Fight Breedism” T-shirt.)
Please also send a personalized message to your governor, asking him or her to support strong measures to end animal homelessness. And if your local shelter doesn’t sterilize animals before adopting them out, speak to shelter officials about changing the policy.
PETA is also urging people to pledge to practice animal birth control, educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering, and never buy animals from a breeder or a pet store. Many compassionate celebrities, including NBA All-Star Ron Artest. adult film stars Ron Jeremy and Sasha Gray, actors Mickey Rourke, Constance Marie, and Patricia Arquette, musicians Tom DeLonge and Chan Marshall, and dancer Carrie Ann Inaba have appeared in PETA advertisements to promote spaying and neutering. (To see some of the ads and learn more about PETA’s Animal Birth Control Campaign, visit PETA.org.)
By encouraging people to have their animals spayed or neutered—on Spay Day and every other day of the year—you can singlehandedly prevent the births and subsequence deaths of tens or thousands of animals. In six years, a female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs. In just seven years, it is possible for one female cat and her offspring to produce approximately 420,000 cats. Imagine what a difference you could make if you sponsored just three spay or neuter surgeries!
Happy Spay Day!