Libertarians generally aren’t supposed to propose governmental programs, although Libertarians like Frederic Hayek and Milton Friedman proposed plenty of them. The vast majority of planks in my platform call for the abolition or termination of some governmental institution or law, but there are a few exceptions, such as my proposals on pitbulls and second-hand tobacco smoke. And one of my few governmental programs would be a low-cost spay and neuter program.
The program would work thusly: the State would make available to Oregon residents spay and neuter services for cats and dogs at a charge of one-hour at the current minimum wage. The services would be carried out by University of Oregon Veterinary School students as part of their training, and as a way to paying off their student loans, or to gain income if they have no loans. Since the University of Oregon receives taxpayer monies, it is only just that the public should receive back from this subsidized entity a service both humane and frugal. The spay-neuter services would be in the form of mobile clinics, so that all corners and citizens in the State could be serviced.
Though some would argue that this program flies in the face of Libertarian theory and antagonism against any new State programs, I would counter-argue that my vision of Libertarianism includes measures for public health and environmental protection, as well as the protection of the taxpayer’s money.
Actually, I think this measure promotes my brand of Libertarianism in three aspects. First, it would save the taxpayer a small fortune in pound and euthanasia costs. By drastically cutting the number of stray, abandoned, and feral animals, this measure would substantially lower the costs for county animal shelters throughout the state. Many fewer animals would end up being put down, as many fewer would end up being brought to the pound in the first place. Pound food-costs would lessen, and possibly the voluntary animal welfare organizations, whom one can only view with great admiration, could handle most of the problem. Let’s hope we’ll see the day when government pounds have to close due to lack of animals being brought in.
Secondly, this measure would greatly help cut the number of feral animals arising from dumping of dogs and cats in the wilderness, and its associated decimation of native wildlife. Merely on the basis of the environmental and wildlife damage avoided, is this measure justified in my estimation.
Lastly, there is the immeasurable suffering to animals that would be avoided by not having unwanted animals born that will then end up abandoned, sold to vivisection labs, or need to be put down at shelters to make room for the next batch of unfortunates. On this basis alone I would support this measure.
I realize that this measure would cut into the incomes of extant veterinarians in Oregon who make a substantial income off of fixing cats and dogs. Perhaps, if we cannot abolish the income tax in Oregon, we’d give them some kind of tax deduction or credit for the lost business. Still, with spay costs going up over 1000% in 25 years (from $5-$7 at a clinic to over $65 today) thanks to the bipartisan’s inflationary spendthrifting, the cost has grown to a point where many poor people cannot afford to fix their pets. This measure would help rectify that horrendous inflation, and save the State more tax money than would have to be spent if there were inaction on this problem.
So from the fiscally conservative, environmental, and humane sides of the issue, I think my proposal would be a winning proposition for all concerned, while returning to the citizenry a little of the vast socialist subsidies which the public has doled out to the State Universities and Colleges for decades.
Paul Grad, Libertarian, for Oregon Governor