A Little Bit of Everything

Posts tagged ‘argument’

You have to put yourself in an animal’s perspective

Since my major is Animal Biology, one of my mandatory courses this semester was Animal Welfare.  Very interesting course with lots of reasons to have different opinions.  It’s had me thinking about my own thoughts on animal welfare and rights.

One thing I specifically wanted to talk about was the tendency of AR people to go, “Well, how would you like it if you were raised to be killed?” and my very interesting musing I had on what it would actually be like to be in that perspective.

First of all, I would be born in a facility and raised, not knowing much about the outside world.  I would have consistent supplies of food and water, shelter treatment when ill, and social interaction (Provided this is a responsible establishment, which is more common than people seem to think).  Even if I was in an outside paddock and could see that there was a world on the other side of the fence, I can’t imagine being interested in it at all.  Putting myself in that mindset, I would think that the outside would be very scary as it would appear much more chaotic and unpredictable next to my predictable, safe, and consistently satisfying lifestyle.

When slaughter comes, it would be quick and painless and then I would be dead and therefore unable to be bothered by the fact that I was killed for food.

I find it funny when I hear people ask “Well, how would you like to be raised and slaughtered for food?” because it’s such a narrow-minded and presumptuous question.  It just assumes that we would carry with us, our current mentality and schemas, into this new situation when the fact is; we would have a whole different perspective and outlook on the world if we were actually in the same position as food animals.

-Daine

12 year old murderer now going to university

Hey guys,

It’s been a while but I thought I’d mention some thoughts I had after reading an online new article and its comments.

Basically, the article was talking about the improvement being made by a 12 yr old girl in Alberta. This girl, unnamed by the media for security reasons, teamed up with her 23 year old boyfriend and murdered her parents and younger brother in 2006, because the parents didn’t approve of her relationship.  The 23 year old was given 25 years in prison and the girl 10; the maximum sentence for a minor.

The article is talking about how the girl is doing therapy, has done well in school, and is now starting a university degree.

Many of the comments on the article are talking about how our justice system is awful and the fact that this girl isn’t in jail for life, or hasn’t been executed, is disgusting.  Personally, I find all those comments disgusting and frankly, horrifying.

All of them talk about character and knowing the difference between right and wrong, and they are SO convinced that they are better than this girl.  How?  Regardless of the reason, they are wishing death on another person.  How are they not similar to her?  Is the presence of action really what distinguishes between good and bad character?

That question is my major musing for the day.

Another thing, though, that doesn’t make logical sense to me at all, is; what is the purpose of a life sentence, or capital punishment?  They boggle my mind.  The purpose of punishment, what makes it different from causing somebody pain for the simple sake of one’s own sense of fulfillment, is the idea that somebody will learn something from it.  The purpose of that, is to have a chance to show that they have learned from it.  Hence, how do life sentences and capital punishment contribute to that at all?

One comment that was defending the choice to let this girl attend university really struck me; ‘What if this girl creates a cure for cancer? Wouldn’t that repay her debt to society?’

Here is the link to the article:

http://news.sympatico.ca/Bell.Sympatico.CMS/CmsTemplates/JE/JE_FeedsArticleTemplate_LeftZone_186.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=82E6FEE2-5CBE-4B6F-8BF1-9D85F52674E9&NRORIGINALURL=%2foped%2fcoffee-talk%2fcontentposting%3fnewsitemid%3d5da28e65-91da-4195-8339-290ec2193d56%26feedname%3dnews-coffee-talk%26show%3dfalse%26number%3d0%26showbyline%3dtrue%26subtitle%3d%26detect%3d%26abc%3dabc%26date%3dtrue&NRCACHEHINT=Guest&feedname=news-coffee-talk&number=0&newsitemid=5da28e65-91da-4195-8339-290ec2193d56&showbyline=true&abc=abc&show=false&date=true&ICPAGENO=120#IC_TOP

– Daine

‘Domestic?”Wild?”Tame?”What?’

Okay guys, a while ago I made a post about my thoughts on the misuse of the words ‘wild’ and ‘tame’.  I decided to redo that and here you go;

 

‘Domestic’, ‘Wild’, ‘Tame’? – What do these words mean?

Every time an animal rights activist makes a statement attacking exotic animal owners, you often hear the same words being mentioned over and over again; ‘Tame’, ‘Domestic’, ‘Wild’.  This is because the general public tends not to know the exact definition of these words and so AR groups capitalise on this and lead people to believe the simplistic meanings they have attached to the words.  They then use them as inflammatory words, evoking emotion, rather than logic, in their listeners.  As a biologist, I will start by explaining the word ‘Domestic’ as that is the one word that has a scientific basis.

The word ‘Domestic’ describes animals that have been domesticated.  The process of domestication is fairly simple and straightforward; it does not take thousands of years as some people would have you believe.  The process simply involves breeding several animals of the desired species, picking the offspring that are most friendly to humans, breeding them, and repeating this until you get the desired results.  It’s human-influenced selection as opposed to natural selection.  Granted, this process can last for a couple decades but the domestication of Russian foxes[i] shows us that the process need not take more than 50 years.

Now, what is often done in the media and by AR groups is that, the words ‘domestic’ and ‘tame’ are used interchangeably.  This is a problem due to the fact that, as I have just said, ‘domestic’ has a scientific, quantifiable meaning.  In comparison, ‘Tame’ does not have an exact meaning and therefore can be thrown around subjectively.  Generally, the term ‘Tame’ is used to mean ‘not wild’, which brings us to the last term, and the one that I think is the most grossly misused; ‘Wild’.  This term can be used as both a noun and an adjective and both uses are wielded as swords by the AR groups, media, and other misinformed individuals.  I will first tackle its use as a noun.

Probably the most common sentence spoken by people who oppose exotic animal ownership is “These animals belong in ‘the Wild’!!” Well, what is ‘the Wild’, anyways?  I will choose to interpret it as land untouched by humans.  Unfortunately, there is less and less of that available.  Of course, we should be acting to stop that but there’s only so much we can do.  Personally, I think ‘the Wild’ is becoming somewhat of a myth. In addition to that, It is strange how people are convinced that ‘the Wild’ is this magical, happy place.  It is most definitely not.  The average animal will spend its short life constantly looking over its shoulder for predators or rivals, constantly worrying about getting enough food and water, and finally dying a most likely, very painful death due to disease, starvation, or being ripped apart by a predator or rival.  There is no chance to enjoy the freedom that AR activists tout as being vital to an animal’s happiness.

Used as an adjective, ‘Wild’ is applied like a stamp, marking certain types of animals as being impossible for a human to have a relationship with.  Well, that would suggest that these same animals are also impossible to domesticate which is disproven by the aforementioned Russian fox breeding project.  The only difference between animals that are domesticated, and animals that are not, is the inherent friendliness towards humans that is shown by the domesticated animals.  This does not mean that it is impossible to form a good relationship with a non-domesticated animal, but simply that it is more challenging.

In conclusion, the three words that are the subject of this article are words that unfortunately, have been badly misused for a long time and are really at the root of the misconceptions about exotic animal ownership.  If the public’s knowledge of these words and their definitions can be corrected, then it should be fairly easy to convince them that exotic ownership is just as valid as ownership of domestic dogs and cats.


[i] In 1959, Dmitri Belyaev started a breeding project at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk.  It continues today.  The project was to selectively breed foxes in the hopes of getting a fur animal that was easier to handle.  Unfortunately, the objectives had to change as the domestication process caused the majority of the foxes to lose their solid colour and show spots, which is not desired in the fur industry.

 

Why I think the ‘Severus being in love with Lily’ thing in Deathly Hallows is complete bull

Hey guys.

Again, it’s been a while since I last posted; I guess I’m waiting for topics that I know I can write a lot about.  So, even though I finished the ‘Deathly Hallows’ a long time ago, and doubt I’ll read it again- due to the fact that reading it made me cry the whole way through- whatwith the new movie and all, I have gotten back into the fandom ie. reading fanfics, looking at fanart etc.  From the time I read the chapter that detailed Severus’ supposed love for Lily, I didn’t buy it, and now I think I’ve gathered my thoughts enough to explain why.

There is absolutely nothing in the prior books that suggests that Sev was in love with Lily; in fact, after the fifth book, I was under the impression he loathed her almost as much as James.  This seems really out of place since pretty much everything that shows up in the seventh book is hinted at in the previous books.  One of my favourite part of Rowling’s writing is the fact that there were so many little things in the previous books that seemed insignificant enough for the reader to forget but then proved to be important by the end of the series.

So, why does Sev’s ‘great love’ for Lily come as such a surprise? Personally, my thought is that Rowling was halfway through writing DH when she suddenly realised that she still hadn’t given Sev much of a backstory.  So then she decides, why not insert a little twist and say that he loved Harry’s mom all along?  Wouldn’t that be shocking?  Now, I’m not trying to disparage J.K Rowling or anything-I still think she’s a brilliant writer- I just think she did that particular part of the story hastily and poorly.

Now, looking past the fact that the only prior depiction of an interaction between the two is negative, let’s actually analyse the interaction.  The explanation for what happened in the memory is that Severus had just been tortured by the marauders and so was lashing out at the first person he could, namely Lily.  Most people accept that explanation. I don’t.  Not for a second. Here’s why.

The term ‘mudblood’ is considered an extremely insulting, derogatory term in the wizarding world, somewhat similar to the word ‘nigger’ in ours but in some ways worse because whereas some people actually use the word ‘nigger’ as a term of endearment, or ‘cool’ term, the term ‘mudblood’ is always considered offensive in the wizarding world.

So why, pray tell, would somebody who is supposedly ‘so in love’ with somebody else, call them such an abhorrent name on a whim?  Well, somebody might say that he said it out of anger and he didn’t really mean it.  Again, I beg to differ.

Anger is an emotion that, like all emotions, when felt strongly, can loosen one’s inhibitions.  That is to say, anything a person says while angry; that person truly believes at some level.  Another way to explain it is; when people are really angry, they tend to just spout things off, right? So, how could they possibly have time to make anything up?

This is why I think that the fact that Sev called Lily a mudblood belies the fact that at some level, he truly believed she was.  And now, I must ask, how on earth could somebody be as ‘in love’ with somebody as Severus claims to be with Lily in DH, and still think of them as being deserving of a derogatory, offensive name? I don’t believe they can be.  As much as the idea is kind of nice and fits in with the majority of the plot, I just don’t think it’s realistic in the slightest.

So there you have it; my thoughts on why Severus couldn’t have been in love with Lily, or at least, as in love as he suggests he was.

Catch ya later!

-Daine

The pending Ohio ban on exotics

Hi guys,

Somebody on a forum asked if somebody could write them a blog entry about the pending Ohio ban on exotics.  I wrote one and have decided to post it here as well.  Also, I reccommend you visit her blog, as she has tons of awesome information on keeping exotics;

http://www.thepetfox.net/

Here is the entry;

“Hello everybody,

I am not normally the blogger for this page but it has been requested that somebody write a post on a subject that is very close to my; the blog owner’s; and the rest of a large community’s, hearts. Earlier this summer, HSUS made an agreement with the farm bureau and Governor Strickland of Ohio on some regulations that would be passed. Included in this agreement was the prohibition of the acquisition of exotic animals. Effectively, Ohio, which has long been a state of freedom for exotic animal owners, was going to do away with that freedom without giving any warning or time for opposition. It was an extremely underhanded deal. HSUS failed to pass their last bill banning exotic animal ownership because of our community and so now they’re trying to slip it in without giving us time to react.

Perhaps a good thing to explain now; is how animal rights groups like HSUS work, and what their true objectives are. They want owning any animal to be banned. The reason they aren’t taking on the whole pet owners community is because they are cunning. They know that there is no way that they would be able to take on a group so large and win so they resort to following an old proverb; divide and conquer. They pick out the minority group and go after them; in this case, the exotic animal owners. The thing is, because those groups use bullying and intimidation tactics, the rest of the pet owners are nervous that they will have their pets taken away and therefore are more willing to agree with the AR groups in the hopes that they and their pets are left alone. The groups know this and use it to ostracise the minority group until it’s easy to take away their rights. This also ensures that once other groups are being targeted, the groups before them will not help them due to the fact that they were not helped when they were targets.

MAKE NO MISTAKE; AR GROUPS WILL EVENTUALLY GO AFTER EVERY PET OWNER. DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET SUCKED INTO THEIR MANIPULATION. BAND TOGETHER!

For those of you who are not already involved in the exotic animal community, here are some statistics to chew on. Approximately one person a year dies from a captive big cat attack, and one from captive venomous and non-venomous snake attacks(Deaths from other captive exotics are so small that they are not statistically significant). Approximately thirty three people die from dog attacks each year. Approximately sixty two people die from skydiving every year. These statistics illustrate two very big double standards. If thirty three people die from dog attacks every year, yet owning a dog is still perfectly acceptable, how does it make any logical sense to ban exotic animal ownership because of two deaths a year? And don’t try to use the ‘well, there are more dogs kept than exotics so the numbers pan out’ argument. That is a very flawed argument. You see, that argument assumes that as the numbers of captive exotics grows, so too will the number of deaths. Life does not work in perfect mathematical fashion like that. Yes, the number of deaths COULD grow, but they could also stay the same, or even reduce for all we know. So essentially, your argument is based on imaginary numbers. I’m pretty sure that politicians will agree that they want to base legislation on REAL numbers, not imaginary ones, and the real numbers tell us that more people die from dog attacks than exotic attacks.

The second huge double standard revolves around the fact that owning exotics is considered a hobby by a lot of people. You know what else is a hobby? Skydiving. Look back up at the statistics for deaths that come from skydiving; sixty two! Yet, nobody is calling out to ban that. Why is it that it is socially acceptable for a person to decide to skydive, fully knowing the risks, yet is not for a person to decide to own an exotic pet, fully knowing the risks. Well, I suppose you could say that not all prospective exotic pet owners know the risks, but I’m pretty sure I could say that about skydiving too. In fact, while it can be said that some people should not own exotic pets, the same could be say about dog owners and their dogs, and even parents and their children. The point is, people need to think about exotic pet ownership in the same light as similar hobbies, instead of singling it out, because that just leads to double standards and hypocrisy.

Last of all, I’ll leave you with this; exotic pet ownership is not a public safety issue as the AR groups would lead you to believe. If you search out the details of the twenty captive big cat attacks that have happened in the last twenty years (you can check this out at rexano.org), you’ll see that all twenty deaths were people that had voluntarily put themselves in that situation. Not one of them was a bystander.

-Daine”

So, I hope this has educated some of you who are not aware of the trials faced by exotic animal owners.

-Daine

Abortion in the Media

Occasionally, when there’s nothing else on, I’ll watch ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ and there’s one thing about it that really bugs me.

That thing is how abortion is depicted.

Throughout the whole series, abortion is treated like this horrible act that people should be ashamed for even thinking about.  One of the characters in the show did everything right; she was on birth control, her partner wore a condom, etc. It just so happened that some things went wrong; the condom broke and because she was on a new birth control pill, it wasn’t yet effective.

Things happened that were totally out of her control and she didn’t want a baby…so why shouldn’t it be okay for her to have an abortion?

Well, she was planning to but there was suddenly a shitstorm from all around her.  Her friends, family, and partner were all adamantly against her having an abortion and they made her feel like a horrible person for wanting to do what she wanted to do.  She is a teenager, extremely susceptible to social pressure, so of course she felt like she had to have the baby.

What pisses me off so much is that the whole show treats that like the opinion all people should have of abortion, not like the individual opinion of one person.

What the hell?!

Thousands of teenage girls are probably watching this show.  Like it or not, a lot of people (especially young people) interpret television as a reflection of the real world so television shows have a responsibility to provide a balanced outlook on life, not propaganda.  Yes, I realise that science fiction and fantasy shows do not reflect real life but they make it pretty clear that they don’t.  Shows that don’t feature superpowers, robots, or anything else that cannot be found in modern civilisation, are automatically assumed to reflect real life.

People should just learn to get a grip and stop trying to control other people’s lives.  If you don’t want an abortion, fine!  We’re not making you have one.  But let us make our own damn decisions about how we want to live our lives!

– Daine

Debunking Vegetarian Propaganda

Okay, these two points are points I’m seeing people who are promoting vegetarianism, bringing up regularly and it’s annoying me.  They’re not necessarily lying to you, they’re just conveniently not telling you things that would discourage you from doing what they want you to do.  It is important that you know these things though.

A lot of vegetarians like to sing the praises of soy, saying it has this nutrient  and that nutrient, is high in this vitamin and that mineral, and is very good for this.  What they’re telling you is absolutely correct.  What they’re failing to mention though is that in addition to its nutrients, soy also contains toxins which, when consumed more than every so often (once every two weeks or so) can act as carcinogens.  Hmmm, personally I think that little tidbit of information could be useful.  Also something to watch out for is, the same people will probably try to draw your attention to the Japanese, saying that they eat a lot of soy and their cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world.  Those two points are also absolutely correct.  What they fail to mention however, is that the majority of the soy consumed by the Japanese, is fermented.  The fermentation process pretty much kills the toxins in the soy and renders them harmless.

Some people are trying to convince us to go vegetarian by talking about how a cow’s metabolism of energy from vegetation is so inefficient that the same amount of vegetation that feeds one cow, could feed 20 vegetarians.  That is partly true and partly false.  It is true in that cows’ (and other herbivores’) metabolic processes ARE fairly inefficient and the amount of vegetation needed to give a cow a certain amount of energy does not reflect the amount of energy the vegetation is storing.  The part that is false is that, that vegetation could feed 20 vegetarians.

This is because the majority of energy in a plant is stored in a compound called cellulose (some energy in plants is stored as starch, all energy in animals is stored as glycogen or fat).  Cellulose is the most abundant form of carbohydrate and energy on the planet.  Unfortunately, it is a very complex structure that can ONLY be broken down by an enzyme called cellulase.  Herbivores have tons of this enzyme present in their stomach(s) and intestines but sadly, humans have barely a trace.  What does that mean for humans?  It means that they would probably get more energy from the cow than all the vegetation the cow ate.  An important thing to remember is that there may be a lot of vegetation but way more people would be able to get an adequate amount of energy by sharing a cow than the vegetation the cow would eat because the meat is such an energy dense substance and is also way easier to digest.

Of course, you can’t just live on energy.  You also need vitamins and minerals, of which vegetation is an excellent source.  All I’m saying is that energy to run your body is a necessity and due to not being very digestible, vegetation would not be a very good source.  That is due to the high amount of cellulose in most vegetation.  I did mention that some energy in plants is stored as starch.  Potatoes, bread, and pasta are good examples of this.  They are excellent sources of carbohydrates.  Even with those though, I don’t think a vegetarian diet would be able to totally fulfill someone’s energy needs.  Obviously, vegetarians survive, but I have to question their health and energy levels.

I guess the main thing to look at really is, we are omnivores people, not herbivores.  If you look at diagrams of both kinds of digestive systems, you’ll notice they do not look the same.  Herbivores often have multiple stomachs and their intestines are much longer than ours.

Anyways, I just wanted to confront those two misconceptions because they were really frustrating me.  By the way, I’m majoring in animal biology with a minor in nutritional and nutraceutical sciences so I DO have class material to draw from for this.  I’m not just spouting random stuff.

-Daine