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 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.