RE: Animals in the News 2010 - 2

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"I don't find any of your analogies particularly useful or analogous though. "

OK, If you don't think cetaceans should have equal or similar rights to humans then they are animals. If they are animals it is cruel to cage them in an environment so unlike their usual place in nature. That's why zoos are moving towards (relatively) uncaged animals.

If they are sentient, as seems to be the general consensus, then being caged without consent or having broken a law is a violation of the most basic rights of individuals. That would be the gist of my position and in keeping with legislation in Spain extending certain 'human' rights to great apes.

Neither argument uses anthropomorphizing to make the point.

Either way, we're not talking about killing some white mice bred for the purpose of research or a kid's pet goldfish swimming in a bowl and I think the idea that the rest of nature is here to educate or amuse us doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

I'd rather eat whale than watch one swim around a tank.

The analogies are perfectly apt whether you want to accept it or not.

"When society sees a dog/cat being mistreated, they get put into cages to
remove them from harm. Granted that is supposed to be a temporary
situation, but is it not similar?"

I think we really need to make the distinction between domesticated animals being mistreated by humans and wild ones that simply are the victims of bad luck or injury from natural causes. Our obligation to our environment isn't to save individual creatures, it's to live in such a way that our oceans and other wild places aren't turned into toxic dumping grounds for human garbage, so that all creatures can exist in some semblance of the 'natural' order. Unfortunately, that approach requires all of us to curtail our appetite for Dick Cheney's vision of our "non-negotiable way of life."

emd By emd

"I'd rather eat whale than watch one swim around a tank."

Can't eat the aquarium ones as they are farmed. I only eat wild whale.

Whale hunting. Now there's something we can all get behind.

emd By emd

I agree with you Chris.

I've been mulling over how to bring it up with my girls, who love the aquarium,
and how to work that attitude into my life.

Your analogies might be apt for some other discussion, but not with respect to
discussing whether it's ethical to have whales in aquariums. You attempt to
evoke mental images of a poor abused dog, but I'm not fooled, the case you
present isn't clear cut even in your analogy, and it's less clearcut when that
analogy is generalized to whales.

No, I don't think cetaceans should have equal or similar rights to humans and
that they are animals. It's not necessarily cruel to confine them. As you point
out, zoos are moving towards more natural habitats, so you agree it's ethical to
confine them, so long as we make efforts to provide them with what we can to
make it seem more like their natural habitats.

Are you really getting at that no (non-domestic) animals should be confined?
Should we get away with zoos entirely? Are the fish tanks at the aquarium
unethical?

I do not believe that whales are sentient in the capacity that you intend the
word in your post. I certainly don't believe they should be equated individual
rights.

Dugly: "As you point out, zoos are moving towards more natural habitats, so you agree it's ethical
to confine them, so long as we make efforts to provide them with what we can to make it seem
more like their natural habitats."

I'm going to assume you're not pretending to be intentionally dense here, nor are you trolling.
Though honestly, I'm not sure what else it could be that's preventing from seeing the difference. I'll
try to explain with an even more apt analogy.

You've got a lion in a zoo. Similar to orca, they are a pack animal. Similar to an aquarium, a zoo
also serves scientific and edutainment purposes.

The most conservative estimate that I read listed an individual lion's average daily travel is about
6.5km per day. An estimate for an orca's daily travel is 300-1300km (that's for a resident group,
transient groups are much larger). Let's go absolutely rock-bottom conservative and say 300km.
So, you've got a lion with a daily travel distance which is *at the very low end* about 45x smaller
than an orca.

If I understand right, you can't see anything wrong with keeping an orca in a bare, lifeless, 6M liter
concrete pen (6M L for both whale pens at the Vancouver Aquarium). Let's err on the side of
conservativeness again, and assume an average depth of only 10m at the aquarium (it's more, but
I can't find a figure), that leaves 600 square meters (about 6500 sq ft).

Now, using those very conservative estimates above that showed a 45x reduction in travel distance
daily, an analogous pen to keep a lion in would be a bare, lifeless, 15.3 sq m concrete pen (about
145 sq ft). That's a 3.6m x 3.6m (less than 12' x 12') concrete cell. FOREVER. Never leaving that
cell, until it dies.

Those estimates are ludicrously conservative as well. Comparing a given surface area of 10m deep
water to a surface area of the ocean is bordering on absurd for a deep-diving creature. The relative
size of the pen in which these cetaceans are kept when compared to their natural habitat is
truthfully, much, *much* smaller.

However, using those conservative estimates, one would shudder to think of another animal kept in
a pen of equally small percentage (not to mention stark, lifeless, concrete!) of their normal range.
Especially if that animal were *never* removed from that pen.

Dugly, do you honestly think there would be nothing wrong with keeping a lion in that size of a pen?
Do you really think that there's nothing unethical about that?

Do you think there's nothing unethical about pulling the wings off dragon flies? Do you enjoy pulling
the wings off dragon flies?

Dugly, you're walking through a desert and you see a tortoise laying on its back, its belly baking in
the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're
not helping.

"As you point out, zoos are moving towards more natural habitats, so you agree it's ethical to confine them, so long as we make efforts to provide them with what we can to make it seem more like their natural habitats."

No, I don't agree that it's ethical at all. I merely used that fact as an example that even the people who DO think its ethical are aware that cages and small pools aren't the right way to house captive animals.

It's all a moot point however. If you believe it's ethical to cage wild animals then the conditions they live in is little more than an issue of optics and making sure your 'investment' isn't damaged, because deep down, the animal's welfare doesn't interest you beyond the point where your benefit from the animal ends.

I accidentally closed a tab that addressed some further points about zoos, aquaria, etc. and don't have time to retype, but would suggest that the wiki link below concerning the Great Ape Project is required reading for anyone insterested in animal rights. With people such as Jane Goodall, Peter Singer, and Richard Dawkins offering their support, its efforts are hardly that of a lunatic fringe.

"I've been mulling over how to bring it up with my girls, who love the aquarium, and how to work that attitude into my life."

Absolutely agree. Face the same problem in my house too. All of us are acculturated to accept captive animals as normal and it takes a big effort to reconcile what we've learned growing up with the new knowledge we gain as adults.

Final point.

The new funding being given to the Aquarium is being used in part to expand the whale pool. If it was sufficient for the whales in the past why does it need to be expanded now?

"An estimate for an orca's daily travel is 300-1300km (that's for a resident
group, transient groups are much larger)."

You're truly a gem Temple. Like seriously, do you even THINK about what you
type? Sadly you probably do, but lack the brain cells to make any intelligent
inferences. I can see why you have so much trouble in these discussions. You
just make numbers up... nicely done.

Oooo, transient groups travel more than 1300 km / day! Yah, they get on the
underwater bullet trains and commute to tokyo to work as a sushi busser.

Then you go on to make some absolutely ridiculous statements and suggest I
pull wings off dragon flies? What a waste of time you are.

Seriously, have you stopped having sex with goats? Did you eventually manage
to get out of grade 1? Did you stop hitting your mom yet?

You, temple, are a useless troll, please just leave me alone.

CK:

I do believe there is a point at which captivity becomes cruelty, I think that for
the benefits of those animals we take that it's worth treating them as well as
we reasonably can while achieving the benefits we get from doing so. In my
opinion it would be self defeating to merely hook them to machines to keep
them alive and have people poke and prod them.

I mentioned above that I think it's a worthwhile discussion to have about what
the minimum tank size should be, maybe it's worth expanding the tanks
(apparently the aquarium agrees).

Perhaps it was sufficient before, but more might be better.

Furthermore, in many of your cases you fail to recognize that there is actually
more than the one pool including a pool that isn't viewable by the public. But I
suppose that would destroy most of your analogies.

Dugly: "Oooo, transient groups travel more than 1300 km / day! Yah, they get on the
underwater bullet trains and commute to tokyo to work as a sushi busser."

I suppose you're right. I had ignored the top-end of the spectrum, as I was focussing only on
the conservative end. I found that 300-1300km figure through multiple sources, but the 1300km
does seem a little improbable.

Surely that figure that was immediately dismissed by me in favour of only the bottom-end of
the range doesn't mean you cannot answer the questions.

Oh, and as for "suggesting you pull wings off dragon flies", In my different analogy, I *asked*
about another form of animal cruelty and whether you felt it was ethical or not. I assumed your
reaction would be "of course not, don't be absurd!". And from your reaction, I'm assuming that
you do believe that *that* specific form of animal cruelty is unethical. However, I then wonder
why this *other* form of animal cruelty, keeping whales in relatively minuscule, lifeless,
shallow, concrete pools, is seen by you to be ethical.

I think the reason you refuse to play along with apt comparisons which highlight specifics of
your opinion is because your feeling that keeping whales in a relatively miniscule pen is ethical
is not based on rationality, rather it is an irrational assertion.

"multiple sources" none of which will be provided.

And then you're going to compare the range of the orca, to the habitat provided
for beluga (everyone knows all cetaceans are exactly the same after all).

And of course you're going to ignore the posts I've already made where I
present rational discussion about why I'm of the opinion that it's ethical.

But you're not going to bother saying why it's unethical, you're just going to
state that it's animal cruelty.

Fortunately, I know when the argument is over, once Temple weighs in there's
no point to continuing the conversation. It's like trying to teach a 2 year old
calculus.

"In the western Arctic, for example, belugas can range 800 kilometres from the Mackenzie Estuary during the summer while, in Hudson Bay, belugas seldom range more than 100 or 200 kilometres from the estuaries of the Churchill and Nastapoka Rivers. "

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/publications/uww-msm/articles/beluga-en...

Repeated laps of the whale pool is no substitute. Walking in circles around Pacific Spirit Park is no substitute for hiking the West Coast Trail.

"Resident killer whales sometimes travel as much as 160 kilometres (100 mi) in a day, but may be seen in a general area for a month or more. Resident killer whale pod ranges vary from 320 to 1,300 kilometres (200 to 810 mi)."

Temple confused range with daily travel. Right numbers wrong category.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale'

Dugly:

You've been offered a number of rationales backed up by statistics to explain why people think whales in captivity is unethical. The only thing you've offered as a counter-argument is the philisophy of utilitarianism, the tenets of which many would argue are well past their best before date. I could use utility to justify eugenics, genocide, even old-fashioned murder. Not many people typically will invoke its approach anymore as its many flaws are well-known. That's fine that you want to use it as your justification, I still haven't seen you actually prove whales in captivity is a successful application of utilitarianism, whereas via analogy, Kantian ethics, and various other methods, more than one poster has shown how captive whales is unethical.

'Because Temple said it' isn't a reasonable counter to his points.

Keam: "Temple confused range with daily travel. Right numbers wrong category."

Indeed I did, fortunately it didn't materially affect the relative comparisons.

Dugly: "And then you're going to compare the range of the orca, to the habitat provided for
beluga (everyone knows all cetaceans are exactly the same after all)."

Wait, how is this relevant? Orcas were housed in these exact same pools, and we're having a
discussion of ethicality of holding cetaceans in, specifically those pools. It seems that you
suggesting that there *is* a difference between the ethicality of confining these two species in
these pools. Are you suggesting that it's ethical now that there are only belugas?

From what I can tell, the differences between the two species, for the sake of this discussion,
seems to be completely confined to the amount of distance they travel. Am I understanding that
you have a threshold which the orcas passed, but which the belugas do not?

The more you try to use rationality to defend your position, the more holes in it you reveal.

--

Dugly: "But you're not going to bother saying why it's unethical, you're just going to state that it's
animal cruelty."

You see, what I can't understand is that you can't seem to realize what *our* argument is. Forget
about debating that argument, it appears that you don't even know what we're saying.

It has been repeatedly asserted that keeping an animal confined in a minuscule, lifeless, concrete
pen is cruel, and that is why it is unethical. Others have shown repeated illustrations and
comparisons as to why they think that is cruel. For example, keeping a lion in a very small,
concrete cell for its entire life, never letting it out until it dies is a very accurate analogy, and I'm
guessing you choose to ignore such comparisons, because you agree that they *would* be cruel,
and that would shed light on the indefensibility of your assertion.

I thought that your argument was that the cruelty to the animals was offset by it's greater good to
humanity (which is still highly debatable). But is your point that it is *not* cruel to house an
animal in a pen which is a minuscule percentage of their natural habitat, which is very shallow for
a deep-diving creature, and which has no other marine life save for a couple of companions?

Three questions for you Dugly. I await your answers. Please feel free to speckle in more schoolyard
insults, I find them extremely entertaining (I suggest you explore the goat line of thinking to see
where it goes, that one is rich with colourful possibilities).

Is it cruel to the beluga to house it in its tiny concrete cell?

Would it be cruel to house the lion an equally tiny concrete cell?

If there's a difference in your answers, why?

In the western Arctic, for example, belugas can range 800 kilometres from the Mackenzie Estuary during the summer while, in Hudson Bay, belugas seldom range more than 100 or 200 kilometres from the estuaries of the Churchill and Nastapoka Rivers. "

Not a problem, the Feds are giving the Aquarium money so they can build a bigger pool. Problem Solved.

Saw Star Trek IV on TV last night, makes a strong case for the following:

1. Whales are smarter than we think, hunting them down is not a good long term plan, but putting them in a pool is ok.
2. If we attempt to release whales into the wild they will be killed by Russians unless Time Travel is possible.
3. Leather Capes, Platform Boots for Men and Pink Shirts make a strong fashion statement.
4. Love Interests in movies from the 80s aren't nearly as good looking as they are today. The remake will have Megan Fox playing the Marine Biologist.
5. Kirk rocks the Man-Fro.

m2c

emd By emd

If only Spock were here to mind-meld with the whales.

New Vegas Show just opened...keep up the good work!

A lion attacked its trainer at the MGM Grand recently in front of a large group of tourists. In the video below, you see a lion going after a uniformed man and biting his leg. A couple captured it on tape while in Las Vegas for their honeymoon and appeared on the "Early Show" this morning to show their video and discuss the attack.

According to "Good Morning America," the trainer is now recovering and plans to return to work. The lion is already back on display.

emd By emd

Book for you all to read

When a SeaWorld Orlando killer whale succumbed to a sudden illness Monday evening, it was the third killer-whale death at a SeaWorld marine park in just four months and the 24th in the past 25 years, according to federal records and company figures.

full story linked below:

I went to the aquarium last week and was so surprised to see how happy all the
animals seemed to be. I thought they'd all be neurotic messes!

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