Does Scripture Permit Us to Spay and Neuter Our Pets?

Question from a reader:

Randy, I understand that you and I have the same affection for animals under our care as I’ve read an article you wrote concerning animals in Heaven. Is spaying and neutering our pets allowed by our faith? Personally, I don’t like the idea as it seems to control and alter what God has designed/created.

Answer from Stephanie Anderson, EPM staff:

Randy loves dogs! I’m glad what he has written about animals has been helpful for you.

Randy does believe that we are to wisely steward the animals God has entrusted to us. He writes, “It was God, not an animal rights activist, who entrusted them to us. Just as John 3:16 is inspired by God, so is Proverbs 12:10: ‘A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.’”

There are many opinions out there about spaying and neutering pets. I appreciated the way this perspective was worded:

God gave mankind management responsibility over the creatures, particularly the domesticated ones, which would cover pets. The pets you have are your individual responsibility to care for and manage. Being concerned that they will add to the unwanted pet overpopulation problem, though not specifically addressed in Scripture, certainly falls within your realm of legitimate options. Under present realities, when most unwanted cats wind up being euthanized; one might argue choosing sterilization is also removing some workload from animal control workers. Even if a litter should live, without a good home they might want up feral and have disease, starvation, predation, and discomfort to deal with. Sterilization certainly eliminates such things befalling the progeny of your pet.

That said, you would naturally have the process done by a vet, under anesthesia, with appropriate medical care, as an act of humane kindness. Medical evidence exists that sterilization often makes for a more cooperative pet and even reduces the risk of some cancers. Absent a clear biblical statement otherwise, I believe Scripture does not indicate that sterilization of your pet is a sin.

As that writer mentioned, Scripture doesn’t command us to spay and neuter our pets, or tell us not to. Caring for and stewarding the animals God has given us comes down to wisdom and choosing what is best for the pet and best for you as the owner. We can be glad that God promises to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5).

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Stephanie Anderson is the communications and graphics specialist at Eternal Perspective Ministries.