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.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.
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.”
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.”