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Bunny bollocks: to chop or not to chop? - click opera
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Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:42 pm
Bunny bollocks: to chop or not to chop?

Hisae and I are debating whether to get our rabbit Baker's testicles chopped off. He harasses us sexually all day, biting and bruising our feet and ankles, making them sticky with his sperm. We love him, but the sekuhara is hard to deal with. Our attitude veers between amusement and annoyance. Is this the real him? Should we intervene? Would we still love Baker after an operation that changed his personality? And what are the bigger issues at stake, issues about the nature of identity, animal rights, respect and free will? Are there even political dimensions to the question of "to chop or not to chop"?



"Do you wonder why your little bundle of fluff has changed from your cute little cuddly bun to a moody, growly, sometimes aggressive bunny?" asks pet advice website BoingOnline. "Hormones I'm afraid!! Your bunny is now a teenager. This is the time when you might want to think about desexing. Desexing your bunny is something to really think about if you want to get to know your bunny's real personality."

It sounds so simple. Your baby bunny has his "real personality". Along comes a gremlin in the form of the extraneous "hormones" that appear as sexual maturity approaches. Solution: chop off the intruder in the form of your bunny's cojones. All will return to normal.

Being me, of course, I'm immediately suspicious. This notion of Baker's "real personality" being his childhood one (but which childhood personality? He seemed to go through dozens of distinct stages) strikes me as inherently rockist. What is normal? What is my real identity, and does it include my sexuality -- with all its chemicals, its Barneyesque testicular shenanigans -- or not? I'm sure my parents must have noticed how I, like Baker, became growly and aggressive when I passed through puberty. How would I feel (and how would I speak and sing?) if they'd desexed me to get "the real me" back? (It would have extended my lifespan, apparently.)

Being me -- being growly, hormonal, macho and sexed, that is -- I'm suspicious of the advice I've been reading on vet-sponsored websites. Naturally, these sites don't go into questions of what identity and free will actually are. But I can't help wondering whether the financial incentive for vets to recommend surgical procedures (bunny desexing can net them $250 a pop) skews their opinion a bit. What happens in the parallel world where the government obliges vets to perform bunny desexing free of charge on request? In that world, do we get vet-sponsored websites telling us how unnecessary the procedure is? It's not impossible. Glass half empty, glass half full.

I'm also worried by the model of sexuality proposed by these (mostly American) websites. Does it reflect cultural prejudices about the impact of gender and sexuality on identity? Americans love to think of gender as something they can rise above, as they love to rise above all determinisms and limitations. They love to see sexuality as a sort of rucksack they could leave at the cloakroom when they don't want to be burdened by it. They hate to think these things might limit their opportunity to be anything they choose to be. Does this anti-deterministic (but also anti-sexual) ideology come through even on American vet-pet websites?



Behind this debate lies the huge question of whether we have free will, of course, and what role our genes and hormones play in it. The experts at AllExperts at least exhibit some doubt. "It's hard to say if [your rabbit's] personality will change [after surgery]" they opine. "He will be calmer, and less sexually motivated. But how much of that is what you perceive as his "personality" is hard to say. Most of the rabbits I've known have not had major personality changes after neutering, though a very few have." It's a bit contradictory. How can being "less sexually motivated" fail to be a personality change?

Behind the reassuring tone of the vets looms a lot that disturbs us, a lot we still haven't worked out. Is it right to make a "surgical intervention" to alter an organism -- or a nation? Will it all go as smoothly as the experts assume? Is it really so simple to cut out the bad stuff and just leave the good stuff? Aren't good and bad -- aren't sexuality and personality, like culture and identity -- all tangled up in a warp and woof too complex for even the best surgeon's knife?

When we think of this stuff we can't help thinking of scary demagogues and cautionary tales. We think of "Chemical Sarkozy", with his recent proposal of chemical castration -- compulsory hormonal treatment -- for sex offenders. The unsettling scientist Craig Venter -- the Dr Frankenstein of the gentech age -- is there too, as is poor post-Ludovico Alex from A Clockwork Orange, Big Brother-loving Winston Smith from the end of 1984, and a crowd of moronic "epsilons" from Brave New World. Must our rabbit now become a character from these scary dystopian novels? Is carrying him to the vet the equivalent of sending in the Fahrenheit 451 fire engines?



Asked "Why do you burn books?", the fireman Montag in Truffault's film is as clear as our pet experts: Books "make people unhappy. Books disturb people, they make them antisocial". The world would be a much better place if books -- and bollocks -- were removed in one clean, surgical sweep. Wouldn't it?

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kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)

I don't know whether you should chop or not chop, but you should definitely write a song about your rabbit's sexual proclivities.


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beketaten
beketaten
Juliet
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)

Your philosophical struggle is an honourable one.
I must say that I'm always on the side of "don't amputate body parts" except in cases of horrible disease.
Let the bollocks stay and jiggle as they may!


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cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)

Try and get Baker something that will distract him from trying to sexually harass you both. A stuffed toy animal could work.


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)

Are you wearing Hisae's hair again?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)

I just did it once. It's an old picture.


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jermynsavile
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)

The world would be a much better place if books -- and bollocks -- were removed in one clean, surgical sweep. Wouldn't it?

But only if wombs went at the same time.


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ex_newironsh15
chris
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)

If the rabbit has no libido left to sublimate I fail to see how he will contribute to the project of civilisation


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)

I also loved watching Fahrenheit 451, what with it's cheesy special effects at the end. I watched it in freshman English, then watched it again 3 years later while I was a teacher's assistant. I never noticed that Julie Christie was both Clarice and Linda. It was pretty odd realizing that.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
2 more questions

But if Baker never meets a female lover to procreate, won't he suffer ?

So maybe the true question is : should we have domestic pets at all, if we are not willing to let them go out, meet others, have sex ?

Francoise


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beketaten
beketaten
Juliet
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)

but animals do masturbate!

and where humans are concerned, sexual desire is a great thing, a creative force...extinguish that, and there's not as much energy to go around.

imagine momus with no balls? oh god. ;_;


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand







(Anonymous)
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
Other option.

For me, the debate ends with rabbit sperm on my feet.
More precisely, it ends here : http://www.cuniculture.info/Docs/Recettes/recette1-72.htm
Difficult, of course, when you are attached to the animal.


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darthhellokitty
darthhellokitty
DarthHelloKitty
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)

If Baker were living a truly natural life, he'd be outdoors, eating whatever he could find, making thousands of baby rabbits, and probably being eaten by a hawk or something after a year or two. Most domestic rabbits aren't able to survive in the wild (despite the beliefs of the idiots who abandon their pets out in the woods). By domesticating rabbits, we have taken them out of that natural life and modified them to fit our desire for a pet.

Because Baker's role is that of a pet, it's important to do whatever will keep him and yourself happy and content with him as a pet. Unfortunately, some un-neutered adult male mammals don't make very good pets.

Our dog is neutered, and he is anything but sexless; he enjoys a physical relationship with his toy bear, and we appreciate not having to wash it all the time. No Boston terrier in our area dares to turn its back on him, and he has attempted to romance a Great Dane's ankle. However, he doesn't have an overwhelming desire to break out of the house to pursue a dog in heat miles away, which helps him not get hit by cars.

Your best bet in making a decision is corresponding with people who have their own pet rabbits (they probably agonized over this decision too, and those with un-fixed bunnies can tell you how they cope), talking to Baker's vet, and remembering that a pet's testicles don't reflect on your own.


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contentlove
contentlove
Content Love Knowles
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)

I would concur with this very sensible answer. Look to the health and well-being of your pet. That's the kindest, most responsible thing to do.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)

I have a passionate and very earnest opinion on this subject. The following link, however, expresses it better than I can:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSsJ19sy3JI


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gigant0r
gigant0r
gigant0r
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
wait wait wait

was that a genuine "Rick Rolling" or a sincere attempt to demonstrate the potential effects of castration? because it's making me want to chop my dog's nuts off, post haste.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)

I'm with Philo on this. Animals don't have free will.


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smithsimon
smithsimon
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)

i'm with the consensus, which appears to be that Baker really should be out in the free world, shagging like some kind of animal well-known for having sex a lot, but if we're going to accept the morality of having a pet, then do whatever makes him happiest - rabbits have sex because of an urge to procreate, get rid of that urge and he'll not be as frustrated. And you won't get rabbit sperm on your shoes.

BoingOnline - possibly the best website name ever?!


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kinkado
kinkado
kin
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)

hey momus,

my boyfriend and i (& our roomates) share our apartment with our pet rabbit emily, and we too have been debating the issue of 'to fix, or not to fix', with much of the same reasoning you've just given for baker.

one thing unmentioned here so far, though, is that proposition that an un-fixed bunny is far more likley to develop cancer within the first few years of life.

for that alone (as especially since it's more common amoung the ladies) we'll probably get emily spayed when we can afford it.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)

just buy him a lady bunny to fuck, then you can make a fortune selling the offspring


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)

all sentiment aside i would summon a meeting thoroughly considering the merits vs demerits of Topo being there. it should be a long , japanese style meeting where no one is allowed to leave the room until concensus is reached. if the outcome is that Topo should stay then a second meeting should be called immediately to deal with today's question.


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cheapsurrealist
cheapsurrealist
Dave Nold
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)

Baxter needs a girlfriend who is on the pill. If they don't make The Pill for bunnies then you'll need to get extra extra small condoms and help Baxter put them on when he's feeling randy. Although sperm on the shoes might be easier to deal with. But remember condoms are not 100% reliable.

If you're not going to let him mate then he's like that character in one of your songs - The one about the guy who is the only sexual being in the world.

Chop them off. He won't know what hit him and he will still love you.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)

I am cursed with a strange delusion:
I imagine myself to be
The only rabbit in the world that desires
And reproduces sexually
And every other rabbit is an amoeba
A tapeworm, a eunuch or virus
(Baker-san, I think you are mistaken, son, Baker-san)

So I sit on the tube trying desperately to conceal
This embarrassing anomaly
This sin particular to me
For I, uniquely, must prick up my ears
I, uniquely, have a cock beneath my fur
I scratch it sometimes with my paw in front of boxes of straw

It's as though I (and I alone)
Should be punished for the Universal Sin
Which reminds me of someone
But I am not like Him
I am the only lagomorph in the world that desires
Wandering lost amidst cathedral spires
Sacrificed on behalf of the general
Possessor of an unruly genital

Amongst the dead I scratch my breast
Proclaim my sinful proclivity
For simply living outside captivity
Sexually, as if I were unique, and the world uniquely unforgiving
Some rodent, please understand me!
Tell me you feel the same way!
(Baker-san, I think you are mistaken, son, Baker-san)

So I sit on the straw trying furiously to conceal
This carrot I gnaw, this outlandishly physical zeal
That, if I were to reveal, would seem simply surreal
In your eyes when you realise
I think differently from you
Amidst the phallic towers
Amidst the birds, the bees and flowers
The rabbits too

It's as though I (and I alone)
Should be punished for the Universal Sin
Which reminds me of someone
But I am not like Him
I'm the only lagomorph in the world that desires
Being ushered towards my funeral pyre
To be cooked in a pot, oh, it's criminal!
With mint sauce, dill pickle and vinegar


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)

no. yes. yes. no. yes. ehh. ehh. yes. no. ehh.ehh. of course. &eh.

also, would any of these questions been asked if you'd gotten a lady rabbit?


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
Ale or Lager

Find a recipe for jugged hare! Bon appetit!


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rachilious
rach
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)

I took my bun to the vet as soon as his testicle dropped. I couldn't stand the smell of droppings and him being territorial ( droppins everywhere!).
He's the same bun afterall, he just doesn't go around my feet so crazy as he used to and I think he found out that I'm not his gf after the surgery.
As far as the cost, you might want to go find a Animal Birth Control Center. They charges $60~$80 vs. $100~$300 ( reg. vet). Make sure your bunny is in good health shape and young b/c ABC only does a quick physical work , no blood work or post care.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)

The white elephant in your argument is that Barker is YOUR PET. Regardless of whatever quaint notion of preserving his natural rabbit rights you might have, you OWN HIM. You'd like to frame your opposition to castration as a rebellion against an unjust system, but you are implicit too.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 09:54 am (UTC)
ashley treatment

Reading this I'm reminded of my disquiet over the 'Ashley Treatment'

http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!E25811FD0AF7C45C!1837.entry?_c=BlogPart

To perform a hysterctomy and breast-bud removal on a severly disabled girl and give her high-doses of oestrogen to to stunt her growth and prevent other signs of secondary sexual development.

There are pragmatic reasons - to spare her the inexplicable (to her) pain of menstruation, to keep her physically small enough so that her ageing carers can handle her.

But there's also a sense in the discourse of her parents that her pre-sexual identity is her true one. That she sould remains an innocent "Pillow Angel". There is open admission that adult breasts would sexualise her in ways that might disturb the care-givers who have to handle and clean her.

Very troubling.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 10:45 am (UTC)
real personality

I doubt that Baker currently has the focus to commit to a program
of yoga, pranayam and meditation with a mountaintop guru -
this would eventually produce the same effect as the chopping,
but you might have a decades-long wait, and costly retreats to
pay for.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
NW6 ex-rabbit owner weighs in

I'm really glad Baker never jizzed on me when I visited!

My childhood rabbit was never neutered but was non-growly and friendly until the day he died, probably because every spring/summer we did allow him to 'cover' someone else's female rabbit. Also, he had a lovely disposition. Whatever the case, I'm gratified to say I've never had to deal directly with bunny spunk.

ISTR that yours is pedigreed or whatever (rule: paid-for bunnies are, free bunnies are like rabbit-flavoured moggies) so go back to the breeder and ask if LAGOMORPH HOOKUP is an option here.

If you cannot manage to do this for him you have to get him neutered, honestly, since the frustration causes him to growl and scratch but also to CHEW - and you'd feel TERRIBLE if he chewed through a high-voltage cable and therefore died of sexual frustration. xx


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: NW6 ex-rabbit owner weighs in

No sex makes me growl and chew through high-voltage cables, as well.


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obliterati
obliterati
Night of the Living Dave
Mon, Sep. 10th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)

Sir. A rabbit ejaculating on your feet has nothing to do with book burning. One is a rabbit ejaculating on your feet, and the other is book burning. If the rabbit was ejaculating on some books in an attempt at censorship, trying to control the lumpen masses with it's rabbitty fluids, I could see how speculation would go in the direction of Huxley and Farenheit 451 ...etc., but something tells me this is not the case. Maybe your feet constitute literature of this nature, "dangerous" feet which only inspire decadence and the liberation of the human soul, I know my feet sure are, so perhaps I am in error. The word pedagogy has to come from somewhere afterall.

Perhaps we're all a little bit better as people if we can tell the world that rabbits are ejaculating on our feet. I would certainly hate to be told I couldn't explain this if it were happening against my will especially, but unless you were planning on setting Baker up on dates in the first place he wouldn't be reproducing anyway, right? Getting your bunny fixed would therefore not interfere in his destiny as urban bunny, I'm assuming.

Regardless of that, your bunny obviously exists in a "state of nature" to some degree or he wouldn't exist at all, but if Baker lived in an actual bunny habitat, i.e. not one purposely built for domesticated bunnies, he wouldn't be ejaculating on your feet unless you went to visit him in the wild, and if you want to have a "city bunny" rather than a "country bunny" maybe you should go the distance and get him the rest of the city bunny trappings, such as neutering, a cell phone, and an mp3 player.


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