In 2006 an exhibition titled “Handel and the Castrati” was held at the Handel House Museum in London. The quotes below are from an article by Sean Coughlan, a journalist for the BBC.
“In 17th and 18th Century Italy, about 4,000 boys were castrated each year, from the age of eight upwards, with the aim of making a fortune as opera singers and soloists with choirs in churches and royal palaces. Composers were enthusiastic about the more complex musical possibilities of these voices - and music lovers turned these exotic figures into the pop idols of their day.
According to historian, David Starkey, ‘It is unnatural in every way, depending on an operation that is an abomination to every man, and yet if it worked, delivered something that, in the opinion of some of the greatest composers of all time, was the supreme human voice - founded on utter and supreme inhumanity…It's horribly like the child star of today, forced into this artificiality, forced through the shocking mill of Hollywood - to deliver that ineluctable, strange, desirable thing of star quality.’"
Isn’t it appalling what parents will do to their children in the pursuit of fame and fortune? No, this isn't 17th or 18th century Italy, and we don’t castrate our kids, although high, pre-pubescent voices are increasingly popular with music fans. Would we do it? I hope not.
And yet…we’re perfectly willing to castrate our dogs for human convenience, and for a cause that no longer exists. Why are we so eager to mutilate our pets, especially in the face of studies that the procedure is bad for their health?
If you have had dogs for many years, and never bred a litter, accidentally or otherwise, how does this butchery and yes, abuse, of your dog “save lives”?
The article concludes with the statement that, “Rather grimly, only a small number of those boys who had been castrated became star performers, with the majority failing to make a career in music - even after this toughest of career choices.”
And how many dogs have suffered from the removal of healthy organs for…nothing.