A Little Bit of Everything

Posts tagged ‘government’

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

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‘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.

 

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

A look back…

Last night I was thinking about a post I made a couple months ago where I was really angry with this documentary I saw.  To recap, it was about this orca who was without a pod on the coast of B.C and so started swimming along rivers and bays looking for human companionship.  He/she would swim up to people’s boats and the people would either touch the orca or just watch.  Although there hadn’t been anybody who had tried to hurt the orca, a group decided that to prevent the possibility, they would fine people who associated with the whale.  They would then boat around and tell people who had stopped their boats to see the orca that they had to leave or they would be fined.  Essentially, these people were depriving a social animal of companionship and this pissed me off so much!

Anyways, when I thought about it last night, I could feel the hostility build in me again.  I decided to try and pinpoint what exactly was causing the hostility.  I thought about how people would saythat they had to protect the animal from people who would take advantage of his/her friendliness and hurt him/her.  Not only does that involve humans imposing their will on other species, which ticks me off because, I mean, how egotistical and self-absorbed are we? but it also is extremely indulgant.  I say that because it’s basically people totally ignoring the fact that the problem is the people who think they can hurt animals.  ‘Officials’ would rather impose their will on another creature and spout that it’s ‘for their own good’ when it’s really just harming the creature (the orca wanted friendship and was deprived of it by humans who got off on playing god >.>) than actually confront the real problem and deal with the people who would harm the animal.  Those people need to be dealt with the same way they would be if they harmed a human being; jail, or at least a major fine.  Maybe this will show people that they can’t view animals as lesser beings.  That goes for ‘officials’ though too.  They have to stop believing that they know best when it comes to other species’ lives and just preoccupt themselves with keeping their OWN species in check.

-Daine

Ontario man killed by pet tiger; let the ignorance fest commence

Okay, I know I haven’t posted in forever but I haven’t been sure what to post.  As you can probably tell, I prefer to post about topics and my opinions on those topics rather than what’s going on in my everyday life.  Well, I suppose this post is a combination so I don’t feel like I’m just prattling on about something nobody cares about.

Last week, a man in southern Ontario was killed by his pet tiger.  Coincidentally, this man was the leader of the Canadian organisation for exotic animal owners.  Of course, AR activists jumped on this immediately, as well as various neighbours who have been pushing to get rid of the exotic cats, with no success.  The AR activists have even gone so far as to push premier Dalton Mguinty to ‘regulate’ (read, ban) ownership of exotic animals.  Luckily, he seems reluctant to do so and would rather leave it to individual municipalities.  Hopefully, he will maintain this mindset.

In an attempt to exert some damage control, I have written this article.

‘No reason to ban exotic cats

Throughout North America, there have been many local governments coerced into passing exotic animal bans by both extreme animal rights activists and private citizens who allow fear to consume them and block out logic.  The pressure is usually doubled right after an incident because people believe that what has just been portrayed in the news, can happen anywhere.  In fact, this is the idea that AR groups are constantly pushing.

Recently, a man in southern Ontario was killed by his pet tiger.  Nobody can say how or why because nobody saw it happen but they all assume that the reason it happened was simply because tigers should not be kept as pets.  First of all, there’s a logical error in assuming what happened.  There are a variety of scenarios that could have led to the man’s death and I’m sure if you asked a seasoned exotic cat owner, they could tell you.  Second of all, if you think about the handful of incidents that have taken place in the last two decades in the situation of private ownership of big cats, you’ll realise that almost all the injured parties are the owners themselves.  There is very little danger to the public and in the case of responsible exotic ownership, there is no danger to the public.  The possible dangers of big cat ownership are something that the majority of people know going into it, therefore making it just like any hobby-related danger.  There have been many deaths due to hobbies such as freefalling and bungee jumping yet you don’t see people calling for those activities to be banned.  Therefore, there is no logical reason for exotic ownership to be banned while people are still able to take part in the above-mentioned activities.

To see details on incidents involving exotic cats, go to the statistics page on the website for REXANO, which stands for Responsible Exotic Animal Owners.  Under United States statistics, there is a list of those deaths related to captive big cats versus other causes of death, as well as a list of the big cat related deaths and some information on who was involved.  Of the twenty big cat related deaths between 1994 and 2008, only two were due to pets and those were due to bad choices made by the owner.  It is important to note that those people do not reflect the entirety of the exotic ownership community.  In fact, while the number of deaths related to big cats over eighteen years equalled twenty, thousands of other big cats were being kept with no problem.  It is estimated by officials that there are more tigers being kept in captivity in North America than there are left in the wild.  This would suggest that for every incident involving a captive tiger, there are possibly tens of thousands of captive tigers that have never hurt anybody.  Really, when you think about that, exotic cat ownership doesn’t seem so scary anymore.’

I sent this off to a newspaper in Ottawa and when they din’t reply to me (it’s the second time they haven’t even bothered to reply, grrr) I sent it off to a Toronto newspaper.  It is late but hopefully, they will see the importance of running it.  I could probably rant and rave about this issue a little more but I think I’m just going to sit back and see what happens with the toronto newspaper.

– Daine

Sexting Ban

First, I want to say that I was completely unaware of the concept of ‘sexting’ until I started hearing about it on the news so I don’t know what these statistics of ‘1 in 5 teenagers have sexted’ are all about.

Second, I don’t agree with taking naked/half-naked pictures of yourself and sending it to people; I have no idea what would possess people to do that.

Now that being said, I strongly disagree with this law that the government is creating (or has already created, I’m not sure) that is basically criminalizing sexting (correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure I heard there’s jailtime as well as a fine because sexting is being considered child pornography).

So, if I disagree with the act, why do I disagree with banning it?  Well think about the history of laws and bans that actually make sense.  Why ban smoking in public places? Because it negatively affects other people without their consent.  Why ban public drunkenness?  Because it negatively affects other people without their consent.  Why ban sexual assault or child pornography (and by that I mean, other people taking pictures of naked children without their consent)?  Same thing.  You see, those things all have to do with a person being affected who does not want to be affected.  That makes sense.

Now, take this sexting business.  A teenager makes the choice to take a picture of themself naked to send to a beau.  They certainly know the web well enough to know that they are taking the risk that lots of other people will be able to see it.  If they don’t take that into consideration, they are going to be negatively affected when others do see the picture.  The thing is, they are the only ones who will be negatively affected (and don’t give me that ‘their family, their friends etc.’ because shame and embarassment on their parts don’t count).  So, they make a choice and they get to deal with the consequences.

So what happens if/when this is criminalized?  Well, there’s suddenly a new precedent in courts and parliament.  Suddenly, it’s okay to take away a personal choice if it is perceived to be ‘not good’ for people.  That’s a really slippery slope guys.  I mean, where do we draw the line?  What will separate the choices we’re allowed to make from the choices we’re not?  With this sexting case as precedent, I’m sure that there are many other things that the government will be able to justify criminalizing.  Personally, this freaks me out.

-Daine

Why is there a divide?

Okay, so I watched a little bit of a documentary show called ‘The Passionate Eye’ on CBC and it was about this particular orca who had been seperated from his pod and as a result was seeking out human companions.  I soon had to stop watching simply because I was so enraged.  Why? Two words; stupid humans.  And I’m not talking about the people who touched and played with Luna (the whale), oh no, they were great; they were careful and didn’t try to take advantage of Luna or anything.  I’m talking about the scientists and government people.  They just up and decided that they didn’t think people should interact with this whale because oh, apparently it is more common for whales who interact with humans to be injured and killed.  Paraphrasing one of the lead scientist in the department of fisheries’ words, ‘we should keep up a barrier in between us and ‘wild animals’.’

So basically, this whale who was very lonely and just looking for attention was denied that because some humans who just happen to have power in human society (even though it is all in our heads and really has no practical impact in the real world beyond society’s delusions) decided that they knew better.  Because don’t we always?  Know better than other animals, I mean.  Of course, I’m being sarcastic.

For a second though, imagine I wasn’t being sarcastic (That is basically the opinion of the majority of the human race).  Didn’t I sound like a self-centred, egotistical sociopath? We have absolutely no concept of anything outside ourselves.  We think we do but as we only ever try to understand things in terms of ourselves, we cannot possibly expect to understand the way the minds of members of another species works.

One of the things that really disgusted me was when the show talked about how scientists discourage the use of words such as ‘friendship’ in relation to what they deemed as ‘animals’.  I put that in quotation marks because we are in fact, animals too so it’s quite strange that we would be placed in a different group to them.  I’m going to go more into that later when I bring up the whole concept of putting up a barrier between us and ‘wild animals’.

So, apparently this whole whale thing has ‘revolutionized’ the set idea that scientists have that non-human animals do not experience emotions or even consciousness like we do.  Because obviously, we are so. damn. special.  Sarcasm again.  You can tell this ticks me off.  I just can’t stand this stupid superiority complex that humanity insists on having.

On to this whole ‘barrier’ concept.  I’ve already started to express my opinion on our self-imposed separation from other animals.  Why? (notice the relation to the title of this post)  Why has it been turned into an ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing?  We are all animals that are sharing this earth and have gone through the exact same amount of evolution.  We all have our individual responsibilities to maintain the fragile ecosystems that encompass us and we all have our individual ways of fulfilling those responsibilities.

Scientists claim that we are sentient and other animals aren’t.  What are signs of sentience?  If I remember correctly, language is one of the major qualifications of ‘sentience’.  So am I interpreting this correctly?  When dogs bark, that isn’t language?  When one wolf howls and then another one howls back, that isn’t a form of communication which is the definition of language?  It seems to me that the only reason to not consider the above mentioned circumstances language is that they aren’t the same as our language.  The same thing can be said of the way the Japanese communicate, or the french, or the chinese etc.  So, what?  They don’t have language?  They’re not sentient?

But wait a minute, that’s dangerous ground, that’s sounding like racism. Woooooh

Oh, the hypocrisy.

Well, I could probably carry on with my rant but I think I’ve got my main  idea across so I’m going to publish this and go to bed.  If I have anything else to say, I’ll just make another post.

I hope everybody is having a great holiday

-Daine