I couldn’t resist.
This is a response to a very old post on Tumblr, of course—a 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."
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.