Neutering Your Pet – Destroying a Perfect World

By Rabbi Dovid Markel


While neutering one’s pets is a common practice and is suggested by the American Humane Association, Judaism not only frowns upon such practice but it out rightly forbids it.

The Torah states[1], “[Any animal whose testicles were] squashed, crushed, pulled out, or severed, you shall not offer up to the Lord, and in your land, you shall not do [it].”

Maimonides[2] formulates this law in the following manner:

“It is forbidden to destroy a male’s reproductive organs. This applies to humans and also to animals, beasts, and fowl, both from a kosher species and from a non-kosher species, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora. Although (Vayikra 22:24) states: “And you shall not do this in your land,” according to the Oral Tradition,we learned that this [prohibition] is applicable in every place. The verse teaches that one should not act in this manner among the Jewish people, not with their own bodies, nor with the bodies of others.”

While castrating or giving your pet a hysterectomy is touted as a kindness for animals, Judaism maintains that it is not. In fact, Judaism states that when one spays or neuters their pet they are expressing disgust for G-d’s creations.

The Chinuch[3] explains the reasoning for this commandment in the following manner:

“For G-d created his world perfect… and blessed animals that they be fruitful and multiply. Therefore, when one destroys the reproductive organ he is expressing disgust in G-d’s creation and [expresses] that he wishes to destroy [G-d’s] good world.”

G-d desires a world that is populated with His creatures, both man and beast. Destroying their ability to reproduce expresses that one believes that they are smarter than G-d and despise the manner in which G-d created the world.

Many, though, are bothered by the issue of overpopulation and that not spaying or neutering your animal creates a scenario where there is overpopulation.

This, too, is expressive of tremendous hubris and expression of many a man’s wish to do away with G-d and become gods in their own right.

The Talmud[4] expresses the manner in which G-d sustains the world in its statement, “He feeds the whole world, from the horned buffalo to the brood of vermin.”

G-d created his world with a multitude of animals and sustains all of them from the greatest to the lowest. It is G-d’s job to worry about His animals and while man assists G-d in sustaining both man and beast, it is not his place to mix into running G-d’s world in scenarios where he was explicitly forbidden from doing so.

Man should worry about the things that he can change and an infinite G-d can worry about sustaining His many creatures.

[1] Vayikra 22:24

[2] Issurei Biya 16:10

[3] Mitzvah 291

[4] Avoda Zara 3b

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