Just a few words on the issue of spaying/neutering domesticated animals (cats and dogs, specifically). You see vegans raising this time and time again as an infringement of the animals' rights, etc.
Cats and dogs aren't in a position, as humans are, to voluntarily take advantage of birth control methods. Their breeding capacity is immense. I'm not a mathematician, but I once saw the figures for the potential exponential population increase generated by one cat, over a decade, producing one set of offspring every year, with every cat produced in turn producing more every year. If there were no methods of birth control practised on their behalf, you're talking about trillions of animals generated, over a period of time - animals (because of the way humans have engineered them) who aren't able to adequately look after themselves.
My father told me of hearing his mother crying as she drowned kittens in the toilet, when he was a child. (They were very poor and hardly able to feed themselves). Drowning was a fairly standard method of dealing with the population problem at the time (1930s - 40s).
I have taken in dozens of cats over my lifetime - all either homeless or unwanted. The first two I took in after I had first left home were kittens about to be drowned. (The mother was a homeless cat who had taken up residence in a disused room near my workplace. I was informed that she regularly produced litters of kittens and one of the workers there simply drowned them each time).
Anyone who condemns spaying and neutering needs to come up with a solution as to what to do with all the animals left to fend for themselves. There would never be sufficient humans to look after these numbers. So, what happens to them? It's not good enough to criticise people for spaying and neutering without coming up with an alternative solution.
As has been said, making the decision to take away an animal's right to procreate is morally problematic. Leaving billions of animals who aren't adequately equipped to fend for themselves and condemning them to a life of hazard is more so.
People may have seen what happens to some of the millions of homeless dogs throughout the world. It doesn't make pretty viewing. Sometimes, I wonder if theorising vegans live in the real world. Why is so much air time taken with this debate?
All exploitation IS wrong. The institution of pet ownership IS wrong. Unfortunately we have to do something with the domestic animals in existence and so that challenge is wrought with ethical dilemmas. What do we feed them? What do we do about their breeding? How do we maximize their autonomy while also protecting and caring for them?
It seems to me that we have to choose between continuing to breed them, killing them and spaying them. The latter one seems to uphold more of their rights and serve to be the least exploitative.
So I'm going to ask you a few questions. I'm going to have to insist you answer each fully:
-Are you against spaying and neutering?
-Are you in favor of continuing to breed animals for companionship? Do you see that as exploitation?
-If spaying them is exploitative, and we agree it's the best course of action amongst all bad options, shouldn't we still aim to eliminate as much exploitation as possible?
-If you take the position that because we have to do something exploitative (which you and I BOTH do) we cannot take the stand that all exploitation is wrong, and therefore cannot criticize HSUS and PETA then on what basis do you criticize AKC or any other non vegan organizations/persons?
-Are you against adopting cats? If so what should we do with them?
Honestly I do not see at all how taking a stand against animal exploitation, while recognizing that spaying, although morally problematic, is the best course of action, is inconsistent.