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."

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.


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.”

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.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dippy Exotic Pet Rant of the Day | One Green Planet

  “3 Ridiculous Reasons People Give for Keeping Exotic Animals as Pets”

 (One Green Planet’s Corrine Henn couldn’t fail harder at criticizing exotic pet ownership if she tried.)

    “Despite the myriad of animal and human welfare issues that keeping an exotic animal as a pet poses, there is very little regulation in place in the U.S. that prohibits people from continuing this bizarre hobby.”

What “human welfare” issues are involved with exotic pets? Oh, I know, how about denying people pet ownership rights, which has been proven by numerous studies to benefit human health. These findings, of course, were considering dogs and cats, but there’s no reason they can’t apply to other species.

However, as it is “bizarre”, the ditzy author believes exotic pet ownership is inherently terrible, and here are her laughable ‘rebuttals’.

    “They state on their website, “animals are personal property and we oppose legislation that restricts the private ownership or use of animals.” They then go on to state that bans on exotic animal ownership force owners, “to choose between giving up their beloved non-human family member or keep the animal illegally.”
  "How one moment a wild animal is considered “personal property” and a “loved family member” the next, is beyond our comprehension, but this points to the great disconnect between feigning care and doing what’s best for animals that are ketp as exotic pets.”

While it might be a strange concept to ignorant and non-thinking individuals, pets are property regardless of what you think about them. And trust me; you want it to stay that way, even if it doesn’t sound pleasing to human sensibilities.

Your right to possess a dog in the first place comes from the fact that it is deemed as ‘property’ by the law. Obviously, if animals weren’t considered property, you couldn’t buy dogs, cats, hamsters, or any pet. In a perfect world, there would be no dog overpopulation problem, and those who think they are not a part of the dog-buying industry because they’ve ‘adopted’ their pet would probably seek new companions from reputable breeders.

Well, too bad.

Who says anyone has the right to manipulate canines with selective breeding for human benefit?

The word ‘property’ only denotes that you have the right to keep and make decisions for your dog (or any pet) and that another human cannot violate your rights and steal, harm, or kill it. It also makes you responsible for the proper care of that animal. Why is this so horrible?

Just because a chair is also property does not mean you can treat an animal you own the same way as one. We have animal welfare laws in place that make it illegal to abuse your living ‘property’. Exotic pet owners simply want the same rights that dog owners have…to possess the pets of their choice.

So whining about this term is due to a kindergartener’s understanding of legal concepts.

1. To Benefit Wild Populations (One Green Planet Claims)

    “While this is a nice thought, people who purchase exotic animals are usually doing so for themselves, not because they wish to benefit the wild species as a whole. Most exotic animals who are kept as pets never learn how to survive in the wild, therefore making it impossible for them to ever be released to join wild populations. In fact, studies have shown that wild members of a species are less likely to mate with a captive member of the species, completely debunking the idea of repopulation via captive breeding.”

First of all, yes, exotic pet owners get pets for themselves, just like all other pet owners. Duh.

But because of the obscene amount of criticism received, some owners like to suggest that captive exotic animals can contribute to conservation.


Obviously, they do nothing but harm the environment (‘Rewilding Australia’ suggested that Australians start keeping pet quolls instead of cats to benefit the ecosystem), yet exotic pet owners still feel they need to make excuses for their pet choices, and that is ridiculous. However, the idea that some captive animals can help restore animal populations that are in trouble in the wild is not absurd.

Famously, ranchers and zoos helped save the American bison from extinction. California condors, black-footed ferrets, Arabian oryx, golden lion tamarins, and Mexican wolves have also been restored by captive breeding and successfully released into the wild.

The One Green Planet writer either chose to ignore this, lied, or is just incredibly ignorant.

She thought she would ‘debunk’ this irrefutable fact by pointing out one study that showed a tendency of house mice to prefer mating with fully wild mice over those captive bred in captivity for three generations.

It did not occur to the writer that captive bred animals could potentially restore populations after an extinction event or that there is a likely possibility that not all species will behave like house mice.

While I would agree that most captive animals will likely never have their genetics re-introduced into the wild, this is mostly due to lack of habitat to carry out such a task. Captive animals are seen as a ‘last resort’ and efforts to conserve animals in situ are of the most importance.

2. A Learning Experience (Lazy non-rebuttal)

“For some exotic pet enthusiasts, taking care of a dog or cat is simply not challenging enough. They enjoy the “journey” of owning an exotic animal and having the opportunity to observe its behavior. We can’t help but question what satisfaction anybody receives from knowing they’re capable of keeping a wild animal alive restricting it to an outdoor enclosure or tank."

Uh, OK, but actually, no one cares about your ignorant opinions. You can question the exotic pet owner’s satisfaction all you want, but without evidence that the animal is experiencing poor welfare, your animals-only-belong-in-the-wild religion will be fully ignored.

3. If Cats and Dogs Can be Domesticated, Why Not Exotic Animals?

“The idea here is that if a wild animal only knows human care, they will not experience their natural instincts and in a sense “be wild.” While some exotic animals will lose their ability to survive in the wild and never learn how to hunt –i.e. rendering them dependent on humans for food – they will not become “domesticated” as such. They will still maintain their natural instincts to hunt, run, mate, and well, be wild.”

Apparently this nitwit feels that all domesticated cats and dogs have lost their instinct to hunt, run, and mate.
Well, it’s clear that while they are berating exotic pet owners, the author must have never owned or seen any kind of animal in their life.

Either that, or they fail to make common sense conclusions and that’s why they shouldn’t be allowed to exhibit their ignorance on a public website. While not all dogs and cats hunt, although a significant number of them do, all animals have the mating instinct.
No, you do not get to say your dog doesn’t have this instinct if you have surgically altered their reproductive system.
I know it’s hard, but try and think rationally.

“Trying to domesticate an exotic animal would take thousands of years to accomplish and take the species entirely out of the natural ecosystem … is that something that we really want to mess with?”

No, it would not take thousands of years (and yes, I do want to mess with it). Significant changes occur in captive bred animals in as little as three generations.

How do I know this? The author’s own cited study!

“In fact, studies have shown that wild members of a species are less likely to mate with a captive member of the species”

This likely means that the captive bred mice are behaviorally different (although environmental effects could also be playing a part), indicating the potential for genetic differences.

Other studies experimenting with the ‘domestication phenotype’ have shown major shifts in genetic expression that result in changes in morphological and physiological traits. Some animals in the experiment had reduced flight response, which is essentially what domestication is all about.

So, in not an extensive length of generational breeding, animals may express genetic features that will enable them to better ‘acclimate’ to captivity.

It is not clear how far this process much go before an animal can be considered ‘domesticated’. Animals like Syrian hamsters are common pets that are not seen as ‘wild’ animals.

Clearly, the agenda-driven One Green Planet author doesn’t have brain functioning to comprehend this subject, so I won’t get further into it.

Henn needs to keep some animals and pick up a few books like I have to resolve her lack of an education.

*After finishing this post, I clicked on her name for more information

“Corrine is a graduate of Delaware Valley College with a degree in Conservation and Wildlife management.”

Someone slept through class!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Born Free: Three (Stupid) Reasons for Banning the Private Possession of Exotic Animals

Our Dippy Exotic Pet Rant of the day comes from none other than Born Free, probably one of the top zoo/pet haters. 


         1. Those crazy exotic animals threaten public safety!!!’

Born Free says:

“Across the country, many exotic animals privately held have escaped from their enclosures and freely roamed the community, and have attacked humans and other animals. Children and adults have been mauled by tigers, bitten by monkeys, and asphyxiated by snakes.”
Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)  Via Flickr

That’s the thing about animals; many of them come equipped with claws, teeth, and other modes of self-defense.

First, we need to talk about how silly it is that we are making generalizations about ‘exotic pets’. You might as well replace the word with ‘pets’; it makes no difference.

Many pets have escaped and freely roamed the community, and have attacked humans and other animals.

See? This sentence makes the same amount of sense. Instead of singling out an arbitrary definition of ‘exotic pets’, it includes all animals like dogs which we all are highly aware do the same exact thing. So why does no one care what the non-exotic pet does? They just don’t, that pretty much explains it.

Born Free goes on to talk about how dangerous exotic felines are and that “Adult exotic felines weigh anywhere between 300 to 500 pounds depending on the species…”, but actually Born Free, this is a factual error. You just mentioned previously an ‘ocelot’, and its adult size is 17-24 pounds. How can they make such a blatant error?

I actually conducted research spanning several months about injurious exotic cat incidences. Based on the available evidence, exotic cat attacks, both big and small, are anything but common.

Let’s just say I was able to find no more than 6 exotic cat attacks to an uninvolved (with the animal) member of the public in the last 25 years (!) I did my absolute best, and if I missed an incident or two it was not my intention, but 6 incidences is shockingly tiny. Large constrictor snakes also kill on average one human a year, if that.

So when Born Free boldly states “With so many exotic animals in private hands, these incidents are not rare”, I find it hard to believe anyone would consider the actual facts ‘not rare’. What is rare? Zero?

“By their very nature, exotic animals are dangerous creatures.”

Born Free basically just stated that a sloth is dangerous. And hamsters. And cockatiels.

There you have it, the lack of logic and basic reason with animal rights sites is blatant and absurd. And they probably don’t care, as long as they properly fear-monger you into complying with their ideology. 

         2. Scary Diseases!

“Many exotic animals are carriers of zoonotic diseases, such as Herpes B, Monkey Pox, and Salmonellosis, all of which are communicable to humans.”

It’s true, exotic pets can carry disease. Are the ‘acceptable pets’ disease threat free? No. But that doesn’t stop activists from sensationalizing this about exotic pets as though it’s some anomaly that only exists with them.

You will always hear them talk about these three diseases: Monkey Pox (prairie dogs), Salmonella (reptiles) and Herpes B (macaque monkeys).

According to the CDC, your number one source of Salmonella comes from contaminated food. It also has been linked with the keeping of backyard chickens. Chickens are domesticated, so I guess that source of infection doesn’t matter. Even dogs can carry salmonella.

Someone might say that the risk of getting Salmonella is higher in reptiles than dogs. This is true, but what is this, some kind of contest where the loser gets banned and the winner stays legal? That doesn’t make any sense.  As you might guess, dogs and cats have their own unique set of zoonotics that they might pass on to you.

Born Free ‘forgot’ to mention that the CDC saysReported cases of infection in humans are very rare; since the identification of the virus in 1932, there have only been 31 documented human infections by B virus, 21 of which were fatal”. The last death occurred in 1997 with a researcher that worked with macaques. 

So there you have it, a serious disease but ridiculously rare.

And last but not least, monkey pox, the animal rights activist fear monger’s golden child of explaining how the exotic pet trade (event the small ones!) will end us all.

In 2003, monkey pox was reported in the United States for the first time, and the source of the infection was traced to imported Ghanaian rodents including Gambian pouched rats, tree squirrels, and dormice. Monkey pox has a case-fatality ratio of 1%-10%...in remote, medically underserved areas in Africa. 

The people in the U.S. who got the rare disease got mild symptoms.

Still, an embargo was enforced on the sale and importation of prairie dogs and numerous African rodents. We lost a lot of cool animals like jirds and jerboas because of this ban but the world did not end. While still illegal to ship these animals from Africa, captive prairie dogs are now allowed to be sold within the U.S. and all is well. 

It makes much more sense to address issues as they show up rather than to ban hundreds of animals for such a low risk of serious disease outbreaks.

Remember, Born Free doesn’t really care about these diseases or their impacts, they just hate all animal captivity and will say anything to get their way. 

      3.  It’s just cruel, all of it!

“When in the hands of private individuals, the animals themselves suffer. These animals do not adjust well to a captive environment, for they require special care, housing, diet and maintenance that the average person cannot provide.”

Again, making massive generalizations is akin to flat out lying. Anyone who says ‘exotics pets are…’ and doesn’t end that sentence with something like ‘living organisms’, ‘DNA-containing’ or ‘required to eat in order to live’ is probably either ignorant to the extremely diverse amount of species or doesn’t care about the accuracy of their statements.

 Many exotics do very well in captivity. Those that don’t are probably already unpopular pet choices for a reason. I would say that in general, the mammals and birds that do best in captivity and breed readily end up in the pet trade while the less hardy animals stay in professional zoological facilities.
Of course, they all require someone who knows how to care for them, no different from any other living organism.

 Even an animal as seemingly easy to care for as a goldfish is often cared for incorrectly by most people; that doesn’t mean they should be banned or that goldfish are unsuitable for captivity. 

Pet stores and bad breeders are often to blame for ignorant people getting pets they can’t, or refuse to handle properly. Many people will often get a dog and improperly care for it. Just because the dog won’t die easily doesn’t make this any better.

Many exotic pets, and most of the ones Born Free thinks they’re talking about, are not for the “average person” anyway. There are many non-average people that shouldn’t have their pets taken from them.

Born Free has tried to turn their emotional ideology into facts, but they’ve failed. Lucky for them, many legislators don’t let the truth stand in the way of their decisions.