The views of the UK public towards routine neutering of dogs and cats

Chanakarn Wongsaengchan*, Dorothy E.F. McKeegan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Despite being routinely recommended by veterinarians, neutering of dogs and cats has both positive and negative impacts on animal welfare and is ethically problematic. We examined attitudes of a sample of the UK public towards routine neutering of dogs and cats using a questionnaire. Respondents indicated their level of agreement with statements describing welfare and ethical reasons ‘for’ and ‘against’ the neutering of male and female dogs and cats. We conducted a general linear model (GLM) analysis to investigate the effects of demographic factors on agreement scores. Respondents (n = 451) expressed views both supporting and opposing neutering. The predominant view (>80%) supported neutering, justified primarily by prevention of unwanted offspring and reproductive diseases. Around 10% of the respondents disagreed and felt that neutering should only be done for medical reasons. Men were less likely than women to support neutering (p < 0.001). Those with meat reduction diets were more likely to be against neutering (p < 0.05) and cat owners supported neutering more than non-cat owners (p < 0.05). Although the data reflected a wide range of ethical views, our findings show that the UK public generally supports the routine neutering of dogs and cats. This insight has implications for future policy-making and compliance with veterinary advice

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Animal ethics
  • Animal welfare
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Neutering
  • Public opinion
  • UK


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