A Little Bit of Everything

Posts tagged ‘HSUS’

‘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