The Food and Drug Administration just lowered the age at which girls can get the Plan B oral contraceptive without a prescription to 15. Critics argue that that’s too young, but PETA insists that birth control should start as early as 8 weeks—for puppies and kittens. It’s called “prepubescent sterilization,” and to illustrate our point, we’re planning to place this billboard in Oklahoma, which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country:
Animals can’t unwrap a condom, open a package of birth control pills, or walk into a pharmacy and request Plan B. So responsible animal guardians should start their young charges off on the right paw—by spaying and neutering them as soon as possible. This prevents “oops” litters before guardians realize that the animals are sexually mature. Cats, for example, can become pregnant as young as 4 months old.
Sterilization ensures that your animal companions won’t contribute to the animal-overpopulation crisis. Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens.
Early spaying and neutering has health benefits, too: It reduces animals’ risk of some forms of cancer and other diseases. A study by the University of Georgia found that spayed and neutered dogs live an average of about a year and a half longer than unaltered animals.
Don’t let your animal companions qualify for the next Teen Mom cast: Spay and neuter them.