Thursday, July 6, 2017

Exotic Pet Debate Response: Wolfcraft



I couldn’t resist.

This is a response to a very old post on Tumblr, of coursea website that to my knowledge you cannot reply to. That makes sense. This isn’t the first time someone has become a self-appointed victor in arguing against one of my Hubpages articles on a blogging site hidden from me in a nice little sanctuary where one can only ‘reblog’ the article instead of comment on it. 




This post was published on Feburary 10, 2013, so I’m a little late. It’s entitled ‘Melissa Smith’ and the author, Ashley, calls my article ‘What to Say to People Who Are Against Exotic Pet Ownership’ “bullshit”. She likes to take various selfies and drink wine…makes sense. You’d have to be a little inebriated to think any of her arguments defeat mine. 



“Melissa Smith is an independent exotic animal collector.  She is not affiliated with any rescue group, nor makes any note of having any formal education in animal studies or trained experience in animal handling.  There’s the first flaw.  This woman might be able to raise animals that belong the fuck out of her house, that doesn’t mean its right.  Someone asked me to point out all the crap she says that is only animal collector propaganda so here we go.”



She’s right about one thing; I am an independent exotic animal collector. I’m very glad not to be one of those people claiming to be an ‘educator’ or ‘rescuer’ to stupidly justify my animals and in effect, empower my opponents by dignifying the idiotic idea that it’s wrong to keep exotic pets. As for my first ‘flaw’, I’m not sure if my degree in biology counts as ‘animal studies’ but the more important thing here is that I have experience raising my own animals and that will take you much further than formal education.

 If Ashley had her way I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to gain such experience and instead I would be forced into ignorance at the mercy of being educated about hands-on exotic animal care from those social butterflies lucky enough to get a job doing it. Those shy, non-excellent public speakers like me rarely make the short list to work in zoos or nature centers as merely having more passion than the bubbly extroverts is never enough. Volunteer opportunities are also scarce. Everyone wants them.

So I write my animal collector propaganda because I feel I should have the right to personal happiness but also the things I say are true.

Ashley is probably having difficulty understanding because she is taking her position in some animal ‘sanctuary’ for granted. At the end of her post she implores anyone interested in exotic pets to “get yourself into rescue work” as though we’re living in a fantasy world where hard work and dedication will get you what you want.

I can’t reply to all of her diatribe but I can pick the worst ones.



“This is wrong, because the author clearly has no comprehension of how domestication in works. But I do!”

Where in the hell did she decide I don’t understand domestication when I essentially stated, in the paragraph she was replying to, that while many domesticated pets are tamer and make good pets for more people, that doesn’t mean so-called exotic pets can’t make good pets for some people? I also said “Exotic pet keeping requires ‘animal sense’, and adaptability (on the owners part, not the animal).”
 

Anyone who reads my articles knows I discuss domestication intensively. I don’t think I’ve ever argued with anyone that has a better understanding of it than me. Ashley doesn’t come close. There are so many fallacies regarding domestication, I can go on forever. But I’ll address her next statement to expand on that.



“ Domestic dogs have been bred down from ancient civilizations (using artificial selection) to get an animal docile and willing to cohabitate with us.  They do not exist fine on their own.”


While the theories vary, dog domestication most likely began in a similar fashion to cat domestication; they domesticated themselves. An extinct subspecies of the modern grey wolf began living around humans symbiotically. They were likely already ‘docile’ to an extent and willing to cohabitate, which is how self-domestication begins. Many dogs (but not all) can exist fine on their own...that's why some breeds have been bred to help us survive. Of course, some dog breeds can't survive without humans because they have been cruelly designed to require surgery to breath, and you'd be a fool to call that ethical.

Ashley was replying to a parody article I wrote where I pretend to be against keeping dogs as pets. She doesn’t seem to realize it is a joke, and that if it weren’t a joke it would undermine everything I stand for. She goes on to say:


Its common knowledge that wolves are terrified of people and will run from them, so to subject an animal to contact with a creature it fears is incredibly traumatic and cannot result in a dynamic conducive for training.”


None of us exotic pet owners are trying to take an animal from the wild and make it a pet (with the exception of some who adopt abandoned wildlife, but animal rights nutty sites like The Dodo actually love and promote this). An actual wild animal lives in the wild, this is NOT what our pets are.

 Exotic pets are often called wild animals but this is a fallacy. Our pets are human-imprinted and socialized, completely unique from a wild animal. On the other hand, a feral so-called domesticated animal is just like a wild animal.


“I find it absolutely insane that she says wolves psychologically need to be domesticated”


I find it absolutely insane that you are saying I said something that I never said.


“Because the animal has the innate desire for freedom.  To deny that a 500lb cat is fine living in a cage in your home is to deny the self awareness and independence of the animal, therefore making it an object. Animals are not objects.  You know what kind of people think of other living beings as objects?  Sociopaths.”


What the heck does that mean? Do so-called domesticated species of animals ‘have the innate desire for confinement’? NO. Has Ashley owned any pets or is she just unable to make easy observations because our culture is feeding her the lie that a domesticated animal is somehow dramatically different from one that is non-domesticated? Many so-called domesticated cats give people so many problems they feel they cannot keep them indoors (which is terrible). 

Many cats need EXACTLY the same care as wild cats. Go look at the ancestor of the domesticated cat. Can YOU tell the difference between them?
  
Ashley is also calling me a sociopath that sees animals as objects. She doesn’t understand human psychology OR animal behavior.


“ Imagine for a second that she were talking about making her own meth, just for her, because she knows how to do it right.  Yup, exotic pet owners use the same rationalizations as drug addicts.”


Ashley, you’re the drug enthusiast here. Your Tumblr has several pictures of you holding a glass of wine. Your analogy fails because there IS NO right way to do meth. A better example is alcohol. Hopefully Ashley is an example of a person that uses the substance responsibly; no drinking while operating heavy machinery or overdosing. Alcohol can be VERY dangerous in the wrong hands, far more deadly than large exotic pets. There is a right way to do alcohol and a right way to keep exotic pets. Punish the OFFENDERS.


And again, this is a link with more information backing up why domestic dogs are pets and wolves are not.  Its from Psychology Today.  Take that, Melissa Smith.”


Haha, take what? I can argue circles around these links blindfolded. The simplistic little article in that link is hardly worth my time, but I can say that I’ve never made a claim that wolves are just like dogs. I’ve only said that you can keep a wolf successfully, as dogs are not the only animals people can keep. In fact, dogs are the ONLY species that have evolved a human relationship, other conventional pets Ashley approves of haven’t.


“Melissa Smith seems to think that being an exotic animal collector makes you an oppressed minority.”


It does. As you can see here, I have to put up with this bulls_t ignorance that causes me to lose my rights. I’ve never been oppressed as a ‘PoC’, but certainly as an exotic pet owner.


“Since you’re a Christian, I’m going to Bible you on this”


Is she talking to me?? Did I ever say what religion I have or don’t have?


“If you locked yourself in a room with a loose, captive bred tiger for an hour, you’d come out in way worse shape than were it just a dog.”


Duh. I’ve actually even said that:

"Of course, exotic pets can be more dangerous in other ways. A randomly selected dog is far less likely to be more dangerous than a randomly selected tiger. Exotic pets are often more dangerous to handle in comparison to most dogs. Most exotic pets will leave you alone unless you interact with them, and then you have the risk of getting bitten in defense, regardless of size. Specialized knowledge is usually needed to capture and transport pets like alligators, servals, kinkajous, and of course all large exotics."

Me

 THE POINT IS that it’s simple to not get attacked by my pets, all you have to do is not lock yourself in a room with them and try to pet them and you’ll be fine. My pets won’t come barreling around the corner to attack you like many dogs have...this type of attack is rare with all animals but certainly with exotics. Dogs are far more comfortable with humans and more likely to attack.


“Wild animals crave the freedom to walk around where ever they want with no limits as much as humans do.  For the most part, domestic dogs do not.  I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of loose dogs who will always stay on their property.  Exotic pets will not. Ever.  Ever ever.”


Ashley, I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of ‘lost dog’ and ‘lost cat’ posters. Are you stupid? Millions of dogs cannot be off leash. I had a dog that would run around the neighborhood a few times a year when she managed to slip out the door. According to you these dogs are like wild animals so I guess we shouldn’t own them. Nor should we own any pet that doesn’t stay on its property if allowed to roam, such as rabbits, horses, cats…you catch my drift. ALL ANIMALS.


“lets point out again that we’ve learned by this point that the difference is that domestic pets WANT to be with humans”


Utter bull. Not true at all. Ashley, not every domesticated pet is a DOG. My opponents seem to ALWAYS think of dogs, and only dogs, when discussing domesticated animals. I don’t understand it. It’s so stupid.


“Said every asshole ever. I’m sorry, but where is her information coming from?  Where has she gained her experience?  A person who has successfully splinted an arm can call themselves a doctor, but without the appropriate formal education, you just have a village idiot trying to make themselves more important.  Like Melissa Smith. Again, take out the pet part and replace it with meth, its just more rationalization.  None of it is substantial.  Melissa Smith is entitled to her opinion, she’s entitled to have as many opinions as she wants.  However, she lets her opinions over ride basic compassion, logic and science so that way she can justify doing whatever she wants with the animals she thinks are cute.  That’s pretty horrible”


A slew of insults calling me an asshole, a village idiot, and accusing me of having no compassion, and for what? I’ve written endless arguments that you struggle to refute, and you have the nerve to call it insubstantial because of your moronic meth comparison. Fuck you Ashley. You’re a wolfaboo interacting with what I’m sure are wolfdogs, not wolves, which are actually a domesticated species, talking down to me because you’re probably angry that ‘average’ people have exercised their rights to own exotics and that makes your privileged position at your fake sanctuary (real sanctuaries don’t allow human interaction with large carnivores, of course unless they’re just dogs) less special. 

You actually think wolves are ‘spiritual’ and that really tells me all I need to know about you. Ironically you accused me of being a Christian, yet you are the religious as well as deluded one.


“ Now, I am unwilling to live without them at all.  However, I will not ever insult an animal that is equally as much of a 'person’ as I am by possessing it.”


Right, as I guessed, Ashley wants to own exotic pets but her own self-righteousness prevents her from doing so. Good for her to stick to her wacky principals but leave me out of it. I understand that animals are equal. Animals are definitely not ‘persons’ because if they were, owning any pet including dogs would be unethical. 

If animals possessed personhood like a human I can only imagine how evil our breeding practices of making them unable to survive without us (this is all of my opponent’s dumb-ass justification for keeping one species over exotics and it isn’t even true) would be. Okay.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stupidity Surronding Video of "Killer Sea Lion"



One reason why exotic pet owners are always being given a hard time is due to this inane idea that the term 'wild animal' is synonymous 'animal that wants nothing more than to injure or kill you when given the opportunity'.

Given that most people seem to have this excessive adoration of animals that causes them to celebrate the deaths of big game hunters, one wonders how they can have such a low opinion of wildlife.

Every time a video surfaces showing a strange and shocking incident involving a wild animal, people flock to the comment sections to declare how stupid the victims are, yet other videos involving wildlife that end well are riddled with praise. Those who even begin to suggest there is a problem are told:
  • "Get a life! You're just jealous."
  • "Mind your own business!"
  • "You must live a sad life if you have the need to bring others down like this"
  • "You must be fun at parties"

A few weeks ago someone on my Facebook friends list shared a video with a 2 year old baby swimming in the open ocean with a bunch of dolphins. The comments for this video were typically filled with ooos and awws, very few citing the danger of this encounter because they were transfixed with the sight of a vulnerable toddler having an experience that they all envied. Any criticism was met with accusations that they just want to wrap children up in bubble wrap and prevent them from creating memories.

It can be almost guaranteed that the supporters of that encounter will be the first to, when a negative and shocking outcome happens to be filmed involving a wild animal, shout:

  • LEAVE WILD ANIMALS ALONE!
  • Stupid humans, why do they always have to mess with nature? 
  • This is SeaWorld's fault! Telling people that wild animals are playthings! 
  • Of course this happened! It's a WILD ANIMAL!
First of all, as this sea lion is an actual wild animal (not an exotic pet or well-socialized zoo animal, which ignorant people still consider to be 'wild'), it needs to be said that there is NO SUCH THING AS A LARGE SPECIES THAT WILL NEVER INJURE OR BITE A HUMAN, especially when it comes to smaller and more vulnerable children.

All animals can bite, it has nothing to do with it being 'wild'.  

Note the similarities between the incident and this one involving a fisherman:


The sea lion clearly had mistaken the child for a fish or something else it was used to receiving, which is why it approached the humans in the first place. The sea lion had no plans on killing or eating the child, because if it did, she wouldn't be with us. The animal knew it made a mistake and was gone the moment the little girl fell in the water.

Second of all, the criticism being aimed at the family is ridiculous. No, they definitely shouldn't have been feeding the sea lion, but this is hardly a sin that people go crazy with anger over when presented in videos with more attractive conclusions.

As the animal was willingly approaching, the onlookers assumed it was friendly. In many videos with curious and far more potentially deadly killer whales that receive little or no criticism, the same occurs. Plus, they were on a dock, and probably didn't realize or expect that a sea lion would leap out of the water and grab someone.

This type of expertise can't be expected of the general public. This incident was very uncommon. The know-it-alls that rush to the video's comment section to declare what the family did wrong AFTER they can view the consequences are also the people that romanticize cute animal-human interaction videos featuring WILD animals of all kinds from The Dodo.

An animal being 'wild' has NOTHING to do with what danger is poses to humans. Remember, flies, chipmunks, anoles, and sea horses are wild animals, while domesticated bulls aren't.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Orca Too Depressed to Nurse? Has Dr. Ingrid Visser Completely Lost it?


Up until now, I haven’t had a single negative thing to say about Dr. Ingrid Visser (unlike her accomplice John Hargrove), a ‘marine biologist’ often cited by anti-SeaWorld activists as being a world-renowned orca expert. This I don’t doubt, but now I have some troubling insight into how a respected academic can forfeit basic scientific principals and exploit their concrete status in order to inflict harm on a company whose ethics they disagree with. Such an act reeks of confusing desperation from a side brimming with so much support.

 

From The Dumb Dumb (or Dodo):

“Recent footage taken at SeaWorld appears to show a mother orca who's too depressed to nurse her calf.
Ingrid Visser, Ph.D., a marine biologist who specializes in orcas, and John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer, recently took a trip to SeaWorld San Diego with a team from Superpod, an upcoming orca documentary project. While there, they spotted an orca named Kasatka apparently refusing to nurse her calf, a 2-year-old male named Makani.”
Now wait, let’s be clear on something. Regardless of what I’m about the speculate about this situation, I’m not going to say that Visser is definitely wrong about her biased hypothesis; that would make me guilty of the same logical fallacy she seems to be obliviously shoving to her naïve audience. Instead, I am completely against her 'methods', and I find it almost laughable (if it weren’t so sad) that she is simultaneously accusing SeaWorld of being anti-science, surely ready to launch the 'they started it!' defense if confronted.

In the video we have a brief glimpse of the orca Kasatka not allowing her calf Makani to suckle, and this is cause for headlines that the animal is “depressed”? Talk about taking the ball and running with it.

The first obvious logical fallacy the SeaWorld-hating duo is making is called confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconception—in the case of Visser and Hargove, both are dead set with their opinion that orcas are suffering 24/7 at SeaWorld, and they’ve obviously snuck into the aquatic theme park to obtain incriminating footage to suit their beliefs.

This cognitive bias makes it impossible to remain objective, and this is imperative if you are going to call yourself an animal behavioral scientist. So Visser has the GALL to then say:
"SeaWorld doesn't like me as a scientist," Visser explains. "They don't like the fact that I'm seeing things in the wild that reflect badly on them with the orca in captivity here."
THIS WAS NOT SCIENCE VISSER. IT WAS MALICIOUS PROPAGANDA.

No self-respecting facility should hesitate to remove a person with this particular goal. Visser is seen giggling in the face of her and Hargove’s escorting out of the park, something they certainly deserved, but that’s the understatement of the century.

Why is a “world-renowned” orca expert promoting horrifically bad science and rampant anthropomorphism? I would certainly expect this from Hargrove, not Visser. I am far from being an expert on anything, but several independent sources state killer whale begin weaning after about a year.
“Newborn calves nurse for about a year before weaning”.
Animal Diversity Web


Yet Visser is claiming SeaWorld is fabricating this information and using it to “justify separating calves from their mothers well before it's healthy”.
"I've seen pretty independent calves at one year — I've seen utterly dependent ones at three years," she added, emphasizing that there's not "clear-cut" answer for when calves stop depending on their mothers.”
Two things. These orcas are in captivity, and yes, this is the reason these activists’ blood boils. But we can certainly expect atypical behavior from captive animals, and that doesn’t automatically make it bad.

It is inevitable that the behavior of animals in human care will differ from wild animals and it is completely unreasonable to assume that every strange behavior performed by a captive animal is evidence of depression, suffering, or bad health. But this of course is the core of their arguments and why the crux of their philosophy fails (in my opinion) regardless of whether their beliefs are accurate or not.

There can be numerous reasons why the orca was not letting the baby nurse. That being said, even an experienced orca expert should be aware that even though we’ve made strides, we still know very little about wild killer whales and even something as important as gestation length was unknown until they were bred in captivity.

Visser speaks as though she knows everything and any intellectual worth their salt understands that they always have a lot more to learn. This applies especially to all cetaceans. 

Visser says “some mothers allow nursing from calves who are 3, 4, 5 years old, even older”.

Well, maybe this one didn’t (without bad mental health being the culprit).

 Or maybe Visser just hasn’t been lucky enough to witness every behavior of these animals.

Is the calf’s bumping a stereotypic behavior? The Dumb Dumb describes stereotyping as: “repetitive and meaningless patterns that animals sometimes develop due to the stress of captivity”.

But if the calf is, as Visser describes, “so desperately hungry”, the behavior has meaning. The baby is trying to feed, that would make it not a stereotype.

“In the video, both Visser and Hargrove touch on the anti-science mentality that leads the park to embrace a misguided and often flawed approach to interpreting orca behavior.”

It’s almost as if the The Dodo is illustrating the irony of this promotional propaganda masquerading as an inquisitive scientist wanting to observe animals objectively.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Your Cecil the Lion Hysteria Aides the Animal Rights Movement


 It’s déjà vu all over again as another iconic African mammal, previously a reticulated giraffe named Marius living in a European zoo, is dominating headlines and social media sites over its untimely death. Unlike the former situation that involved faceless zookeepers committing the 'atrocity', our nefarious villain has a name this time, Walter Palmer, and many are proudly declaring him as the most hated man in America, as well as internationally.

Numerous celebrities, including teary-eyed Jimmy Kimmel, have been fanning the flames and gaining their own acclaim for parroting the sentiment of the masses, further suggesting that Cecil the lion’s fate is of the utmost importance to the American public. To hold any other opinion would be downright social suicide.

 Of course, it’s not that I personally approve of big game hunting that is not initially for food purposes, and truthfully, had this situation been receiving little attention I would have been one of the few sounding off on the subject. But the enormously disproportionate response, and the inane battle cries for vengeance being blasted all over social media is forcing me to comment in defense of the wealthy dentist whom is now public enemy number one.

You CANNOT murder an animal


What I find the most troubling about this scenario are not the inevitable comments from those blinded with emotion and fury, but the raving and ranting coming from ‘our own’; in this case, I’m referring to exotic pet owners and supporters, as well as those who oppose the animal liberation movement and believe in humans using animals as long as there are reasonable welfare standards.

These people probably partake in non-necessities such as pet-keeping, animal product consumption, and removal of ‘pest’ animals should they show up in an undesirable area. Many of these individuals are using the word ‘murder’ to describe the dentist’s actions, and that is utterly egregious.

 If you are an owner of a so-called exotic pet and some moron has accused you off keeping a slave or prisoner as they so often do, you would respond with uproarious opposition. Yet these same individuals use a term that is meant to describe the action of killing a human being with non-human animals, suggesting they want 'Cecil' to have human rights, or as the insidious Non-human Rights Movement (recently in the news for losing a case to grant habeas corpus to chimpanzees) would call it, the right to bodily liberty.

Even this misguided organization would not advocate for Cecil’s rights because lions are not apes, elephants, or cetaceans. They’ve shown no demonstrable self-awareness to the extent of mirror recognition, yet we have people who would consider themselves animal welfarists (as opposed to animal rights) decrying murder for a large feline.

It’s no wonder that animal rights movements are gaining so much momentum when non-animal rights followers can’t stop agreeing with them unwittingly.

 The same situation is occurring with the rampant opposition of SeaWorld and the cries to get that entire zoological facility shut down.    

It’s not that agreeing with one form of animal 'exploitation' requires you to agree with every form of it. You can disapprove of Cecil’s killing. I mostly do.

But there is disapproval, and then there is sheer OUTRAGE. Shock and horror. And calls for the dentist to be exiled from the country. At least, that's some of the more tame requests.


--An exotic pet owner

 When we as a nation have mutually decided that animals can be used for food, pets, and can be evicted when we want to build our homes on top of their territory, we need to maintain reasonability and level-headedness in the face of people violating our somewhat arbitrary ethical standards. We need not be blinded by our own arrogance and perceived moral superiority. We can dislike killing lions without freaking out like the crime is  on the level of human genocide. We should recognize when the response is excessive and ludicrous even when we agree with the sentiment.

Why do we care about Cecil so much anyway?

 This blogger, Matt Walsh, puts my thoughts on this so eloquently that I thought I’d quote it here. Unfortunately, he undermined his article when he described some of the most evil human atrocities as abortion and pornography which is clearly a Christian-minded attitude, and while I have no objection to him exercising his beliefs, his interjection of them in the article ignores the complexity of those controversies and  presents them as the objective truth, which will alienate many readers.

Other than that, his article is a brilliant assessment on why lions matter more to our privileged psyches than more substantial issues. If you can’t bear the right-leaning slant, at least read these quotes from his article:

"It seems baffling. It would all make sense if our culture showed no concern for the plight of human beings, and also displayed a similar wanton disregard for animals and trees. Then we would just be nihilists and Darwinists. Human life has no objective value, we would reason, therefore no life has any objective value. We would be naked and honest barbarians.
But our barbarism is clothed and hidden beneath this thin veneer of an arbitrary concern for random animals and plant life. And not even every animal. That’s why most of the people panicking over “Cecil” will still order the hamburger when they go to Applebee’s, still use insecticide to ruthlessly poison innocent roaches and ants, and still drink milk extracted from enslaved cows.
We search desperately for an acceptable target for our surplus of withheld scorn, and when we locate it, we unload like we just chugged a gallon of laxative. Our pent up rage and anger mixes with guilt and self-loathing, and together it creates this concentrated bile that drowns and destroys whatever tragic chump they throw before us to be devoured. It’s nothing personal against him, really. Walter Palmer is a sacrificial lamb. A punching bag, strung up and dangled in front of progressive America as a way for them to release their moral frustrations. He’s an object. A receptacle for their misdirected vengeance. It’s like self-flagellation, only minus the self. And next week they’ll be flagellating some other patsy, and nobody will even remember or care about poor old Walter Palmer.
A year from now, someone will do a follow up story about that villainous dentist from long ago, and we’ll all think, “Oh yeah, whatever happened to that guy?” Then we’ll see that he lost his business, his family, and his dignity, and now lives as a sad shell of a forgotten man. “Serves him right for doing whatever he did,” we’ll say proudly, as we get back to feasting upon the newest Scoundrel Du Jour. It’s a never ending pattern, played out over and over again by a progressive culture filled with craven wimps, always compensating for their moral failings by tearing down false Satans, too afraid to do battle with the real one.
Why Walter Palmer? Why Cecil the Lion? Well, there’s a randomness to it, of course. And there are always the superfluous reasons, like the fact that most of the members of the lynch mob probably have fond memories of “The Lion King.” But I think, more fundamentally, progressives choose to care about lions because lions are an abstraction. They care about the idea of lions.
Real lions are all the way in Africa, or else contained in zoos. You can go and see them, or watch them on TV, or read about them, but crucially, lions will never ask anything from us. Our affection for them presents no challenges. We don’t have to accommodate them. I can say I love lions, but this love will never require me to do anything. Lions will never inconvenience me. They’ll never get in my way. I can defend the lives of lions by angrily Tweeting about hunters, and then I can go on my way, live however I want, and never be asked to change my lifestyle for their sake."
I particularly adored this final paragraph, as he articulates why I feel so strongly about defending places like SeaWorld even when there is enough evidence to call into question their practices and choice of species.

The ease of hating these black and white villainous figures gives people a sense of comfort and accomplishment. It excuses them from the introspective process of facing your cognitive dissonances head on in order to form a consistent set of priorities and moral character.

When I tried to demonstrate my feelings over the controversy of SeaWorld by pointing out that the outcry is all over 23 animals in the face of millions of captive animals in our country, someone called it out as a logical fallacy.

Maybe so, but I wanted my readers to step back and analyze the situation, and consider their over the top reaction in the ‘broad scheme of things’.

Cyber mobbing SeaWorld, or a single misguided hunter from Minnesota, is not a productive action. In fact, in all of our blind, knee jerk rage to induce internet mob justice, we might be making things worse by prompting the ignorant masses.

We should instead be thinking about our cultural values and the roots of our angst instead of patting ourselves on the back for defeating arbitrarily-selected celebrity antagonists with the failed logic of our enemies.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Slate’s Pathetic Rant about Animal Hybrids Reveals More Double Standards for Exotics and Domestics

Response to: The Sad Truth about Zonkeys and Ligers


There really is no end to the ample logical fallacies and public displays of ignorance. This time, I’m shouting out Jason Bittel of Slate.com and his asinine arguments for why hybrids of the exotic persuasion, and probably only hybrids where one parent is exotic, is wrong and that there is some dark sinister truth that he will unmask for us simpletons.

I approached the article with an open mind because, truth be told, I’m not crazy about hybrid animals either—particularly hybrid big cats—because I feel tigers and lions are over-bred in relation to the availability of adequate and responsible homes for them (the same exact situation with our dogs and cats)—but otherwise, I see nothing about the practice that elevates it so far above our other animal trades in bad ethics.

So I began to read Bittel’s article and was immediately flabbergasted by the stupidity.

His first dark ‘truth’—hybrid animals are infertile, and some ‘suffer’ from dwarfism.

“But hybridization has its costs.

Zebroids—the name for any zebra-based hybrid—are almost always infertile, and they sometimes suffer from dwarfism. Perhaps this isn’t so surprising. While horses, zebras, and donkeys look similar and belong to the same genus (Equus), each species has a different number of chromosomes. So just because you can interbreed them doesn’t mean you should.”
They’re infertile!? You mean like most mules? SO? How does this harm the animal? In fact, it’s a good thing for over-bred animals for aforementioned reasons.

For some odd reason I never hear anyone crying about producing mules. That’s because both the animals involved in this creation are domesticated and when an animal is domesticated the same ethical rules don’t apply to them.

Why? There is literally no reason other than appeal to emotion logical fallacies.

Because domesticated animals are already our adopted genetic freaks, our manipulations of their genes and production of bizarre and often times debilitating physical traits do not register on the average person’s ethics meter.

On the other hand, exotic animals are perceived as ‘pure and wild’ and manipulating them is perceived as a crime against nature. So this might be the reason why, say, the idea of dwarfism in an exotic hybrid shocks with the ol’ appeal to disgust fallacy and this same person can have a Yorkshire terrier sleeping at their feet—you know, the animal that is a sub-species of the wolf.

The ignorance is reinforced by special interest groups spewing lies. Big Cat Rescue rears its ugly face once again, claiming that ligers—a cross between a lion and tiger—grow so large their “hearts give out”.

Remember our very large and loveable Great Danes, St.Bernards and Irish wolfhounds? They don’t have much in the way of lifespan either. And guess what, there’s no wild for them either! (as the Big Cat Rescue croonie Susan Bass puts it for the ligers and tigons).

If you want objective information and truth, you never go to Big Cat Rescue. They’ve made their agenda clear (they want to end all exotic feline captivity, this is only further reinforced by the implication that any animal born should have a wild to return to) and won’t let the truth hamper their goals.

So pair an ignorant with the deceitful and we have another winning example the nonsense exotic pet owners/zookeepers have to put up with.

There is one positive thing I have to mention, many of the comments to this article exhibited rare intelligence!

“Ligers growing until their hearts give out is sad, but the best argument you have against the rest is...they're infertile?  Sounds awwwwwful, what a horrible thing these breeders are doing.”







Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jurassic World’s Anti-Zoo Message?



Zookeepers and pet owners are unsurprisingly failing to grasp the irony of their enjoyment of a recent mega-blockbuster.

It’s difficult to determine if the anti-zoo themes in the wildly popular Jurassic World are intentional or simply inevitable, given the lack of creativity present in mainstream Hollywood and the need to invent a silly excuse for dinosaurs to behave very un-animal like and inflict a massacre upon their human captors.

As I write this, there is a popular meme of zookeepers mimicking the stance of the new momentary acting hero Chris Pratt and his ‘raptor training’ scene, an image I’ve been forcibly exposed to in advertisements for the last 4 months. Ever since I viewed the trailer for this movie some time ago, I was not thrilled. The animals in it appeared to be their typical, unrealistically hyper and murderous selves that we see in mainstream cinema, having much more in common with shallow B monster movies than anything remotely natural. This is of course why most people enjoy these movies—it is a self-hating desire to witness the over-the-top deaths of humans committing a ‘crime of hubris’ in ‘playing God’.

This is exactly the same mentality that many zoo haters exercise, along with accusations of zookeepers and exotic pet owners ‘enslaving’ non-humans. Many might believe my criticisms towards simple-minded sci-fi fodder are out of line, but given that even the film’s own director espoused the theory that Jurassic World has themes in common with the anti-SeaWorld documentary Blackfish, I don’t find my theory to be overly outrageous.

Yeah, there’s a bit of a [‘Blackfish’]  vibe to this story,” “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow told Slashfilm. He compared the movie’s havoc-wreaking Indominus rex to a creature that grew up in a SeaWorld-type environment. “Our new dinosaur…is kind of out killing for sport because it grew up in captivity,” Trevorrow said. “It’s sort of, like, if the black fish orca got loose and never knew its mother and has been fed from a crane.

Truth be told, I’m fairly certain Trevorrow is an idiot, who is merely tacking on more ‘depth’ in a shallow movie where it simply doesn’t exist [intentionally]. As previously stated, it is difficult to create any other plot themes for this over-milked theme park storyline that doesn’t go the way of the animals enacting vengeance in the face of the human race’s bad ethics. Trevorrow has apparently also stated that the hybrid dinosaur villain, the ‘Indominus rex’, symbolizes’ consumer and corporate excess’, and that the dinos were…

"…meant to embody [humanity's] worst tendencies. We're surrounded by wonder and yet we want more, and we want it bigger, faster, louder, better. And in the world of the movie, the animal is designed based on a series of corporate focus groups."
 
"There's something in the film about our greed and our desire for profit. The Indominus Rex, to me, is very much that desire, that need to be satisfied."

So as I suspect, these messages are vague, have tirelessly been done before, and can be stretched to apply to many situations and entities. Let me state for the record that I do not believe that the creators had Blackfish or zoo hate in mind when creating the film, but perhaps more insidiously, the presence of these themes reveal a growing trend of non-activists and non-extremists sympathizing with aspects of the animal liberation mentality.

It has of course leached into Hollywood as it has done numerous times before, yet even the zoo community cannot see the obvious harm these messages can cause.

Aside from essentially criticizing animal captivity as ‘human arrogance’, a crime punishable by graphic death by mammal-like reptiles, the movie like many others paint animals and their behavior absurdly.

Dinosaurs apparently are able to communicate with each other sophisticated information, and there is an ‘alpha’ dinosaur instructing other dinos that are not even of its same species to kill humans (if this was not directly lifted from How to Train Your Dragon 2, it just shows how unoriginality tends to repeat itself).

Overall, films like these contribute to the idea of a doomsday mentality when many powerful carnivores are in captivity.

It doesn’t matter how silly it sounds; many people wholeheartedly believe that animals are just furry people who might retaliate against humans and any example of animal behavior gone wrong—for instance a human fatality caused by a big cat’s territorial instinct—is often described as such. Just read any comment section.

You’ll often actually see people lampooning the deceased and suggesting they got what they deserved for being involved with a captive animal.

Of course, the incident in Zanesville, Ohio is by far one of the worst, if not the worst cases of large dangerous animal escapes in American history, and it should be noted that despite the severity of it, there were no human fatalities or animals hell bent on revenge.

So perhaps if you are along for this fight, think about what you see on the silver screen and the ramifications it has for your chosen lifestyle or occupation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Wildcat Sanctuary: Crazily Hypocritical and Dense


Here is further proof that when you deal with anti-pet/zoo/captivity ‘sanctuaries’ such as Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and the Sandstone, Minnesota-based Wildcat Sanctuary, you will be faceing logical fallacies, deceit, and shameless hypocrisy. 

This particular rescue popped on my radar this week when I viewed this insidiously stupid post of theirs:
 



Seriously? So the writer of this post is actually collecting stories of  “medical and behavioral problems”  involving hybrid cats—and here’s the kicker—they are outright rejecting successful stories of happily owned hybrids by declaring that no one post any photos of them.
 

What is it called when one only seeks facts to support their ingrained, unchangeable, and often erroneous belief?
 

Confirmation Bias.
 

One of the most commonly employed logical fallacies of the anti-exotic nutters.

 Here, this biased attitude is illustrated with little awareness of its blatancy, appearing almost ironic and humorous. But it is not intentional satire, it’s real, and that makes it thoroughly depressing. 

What’s worse, out of all the controversies of the exotic pet trade, hybrids have got to be the most ridiculous pet to complain about because they are essentially (and this definitely applies to Bengals) domesticated cats. 

Bengals are the same size as non-hybrids and are pretty much the same animal with more ‘dog-like’ activity.
 

 Of course they can have “behavioral problems”, as do many dogs and cats. If I were an idiot, I would run around collecting those stories so I could announce to the world that dogs and cats make bad pets and are suffering in the pet trade.

Believe it or not, this is not the only disgraceful element of this ‘sanctuary’ I’ve witnessed this week.


On May 14th, the private sanctuary celebrated the birthdays of their twin one year old white tigers.


SAY WHAT?


What the hell is a ‘sanctuary’ doing with baby animals

As many should know, babies are not in need of homes unlike the displaced adults. Cute baby tigers are in high demand. Sanctuaries exist to provide homes with their limited space for those animals that need it the very most. Just where exactly were these cubs ‘rescued’ from?


Why, it was the AZA-accredited Michigan City Zoo! What’s extra amusing is that you cannot find this information anywhere on the news reports or on the sanctuary’s website; I discovered this in the exotic animal circles on Facebook. Here is the origin of the animals.


And guess what else? WHAT. WHAT. WHAT?? They are asking for donations!

 “They quickly outgrew their temporary space at the sanctuary and are looking forward to the new and improved “wild space” being prepared for them at the sanctuary this summer. 
The Wildcat Sanctuary has a “Wild Space” fundraising campaign to raise funds for an in-ground, tiger-sized pool for these two, as well as the big trees and high perches they’ll love.  Since this will be their home for the next 20+ years, they’ll need plenty of room to roam to live wild at heart the rest of their days at The Wildcat Sanctuary.”


ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
 
Either they are lying, or they seriously don’t have the means to care for the animals that they did NOT rescue, which is the mark of a terrible owner. You do NOT acquire animals if you do not have the funds to house them when they get older, hoping to ‘cross that bridge when you come to it’ by begging for other people’s money.
 
That is despicable.
 
No wonder the Wildcat Sanctuary can’t get their facts straight. They probably assume all exotic pet owners are as irresponsible and pathetic as them.