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Is owning a tortoise cruel?

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by Buddybenj, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is my mom. Lol
    Do you see them often?! Or just that once?
    Im not sure where you live but its cold and snowy in Maryland during the winter and birds always migrate to warmer areas (not just geese im assuming since i never see the smaller birds either) so i would feel terrible if she let them free and they didnt know to migrate and died from the cold.
    But maybe its bird instinct to go to warmer areas?
  2. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    That is why I take Oli out for "walks" if so I may call them. I am 100% sure he enjoys roaming around outside without boundaries/borders.:D
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  3. Hector108

    Hector108 Active Member

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    I have just seen that bird once. I live down here on Brownsville, Texas so in winter it doesnt get very cold. In winter i see large groups of crows flying across the sky but i sometimes still see groups that big through out the year, so i dont know if they're migrating.
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  4. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, the only time i see crows are when it gets colder. Interesting
  5. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

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    I was about to say "im sure every tortoise likes it" but Khaleesi is always ehhh about it. I think shes just not good with the change though. So roaming time in my moms backyard is like going to the beach for the first time. Its so niceeeee, but shes like WHAT IS THIS PLACE O_O
  6. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I have the same problem with statements like that. I understand OP's point when saying they weren't "meant" to be in captivity, and I'm not referring to him, but I have seen people use this argument for the movement to close Zoos and Aquariums because animals were not "meant" or "made" for captivity.

    My take on this:

    Putting religion to the side for a minute, humans are the only ones that assign meaning to, well, everything. To me it doesn't make sense to say an animal belongs in the wild, because of meaning. If a rock hit earth tonight, the Universe would keep chugging along. Now, with our intelligence, humans (should) have an obligation to avoid doing what is considered harmful to others, nature in this case. Of course there are always extremes and finding a balance will never happen as everyone uses a different moral "scale". One end would be removing humans all together, and the other being removing nature. Introducing an animal to the pet market to be captive bred then sold is not necessarily harmful to nature, or the animal assuming all needs are meet. In-fact, the pet trade could help wild populations, as well as promote awareness.

    From the individual animal's perspective, such as a tortoise in our example, its not super intelligent ( no offense). Their psychological/social needs are minimal, so the suffering of it "wishing" to be out in the wild, even if it was taken from the wild, is probably nonexistent. And like others have said, if all other needs are met, they can live a decent life. Now if you look at a much more intelligent animal, such as a whale, that may be a different story. Such an animal has many psychological needs, and spacial needs. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about keeping animals, such as whales, in captivity, when they have demonstrated amazing physical feats, while being complicated socially and psychologically.

    I consider it cruel when an animal is exposed to prolonged, and/or intentional suffering. If a dog was hit by a car that's not cruel, just an accident, unless neglect was involved by the owner. If a tortoise develops MBD from improper diet or lighting, then perhaps that's cruel. Unfortunately many of us had to learn the hard way in this hobby, but we are now armed with the experience to prevent others from going through the same thing.
  7. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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  8. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    I also agree with most of the answers here.It all depends on a lot of things.
    I am actually "against" keeping birds in cages, especially too small cages. Because birds have evolved to be flying in the sky, not crawling around in a cage. And dolphins and whales and other captive ocean mammals are supposed to be in the wide and wonderful ocean, not floundering about in a concrete pool. Reptiles crawl on the ground in the wild and we can keep them crawling around on the ground in captivity too. So if their particular needs and comfort are being met, I don't see that as cruel. My opinion.
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  9. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That's a very interesting take on it. One that I have not thought of. Now, I do think most species, even whales, can be kept in captivity successfully, but it isn't cost effective to devote a small lake to one animal. The world is run by money, and that will probably never change.
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  10. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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    Nicely put, I couldn't agree more!
    Even the biggest tortoise could be well provided for with the right set-up and space.

    I am a big whale lover and I have strong opinions on that topic.
    I think a fish tank is one thing (when they obviously have enough room) but there literally isn't a tank big enough to give big mammals the necessary room to grow and prosper.
    I think things like elephants and giraffs, rhino's, exc. should be in the wild.
    With that being said... unfortunately, we are losing so many of our creatures in nature due to us, people, taking their homes away or killing them..
    It's the saddest thing ever that one day most of our animals will ONLY be found in zoos or conservation centers.. :(:(:(
  11. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Luckily there are still a good many humans who are fighting their whole lives to try to protect and conserve the animals in their natural habitats, by trying to police the parks from poachers, and groups like Greenpeace etc....and the "Sea Shepherd" crew! Long may they fight, I admire them tremendously.

    Maybe we humans will disappear before we completely destroy....no. I won't go there!!! LOL. Nuff said.
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  12. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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    LOL.. yea, nuff said. Honestly, I hope your right. :)

    I was born a tree hugger but in recent years it has really set in. haha
    ...if only I had money, I would be a force to be reckoned with! lol
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  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Not addressing just you here. You just had the most quotable quote.

    What's the difference between a cichlid in a large fish tank in my living room and a cetacean in a large pool at Seaworld? My fish aren't educating anybody about the plight of wild animals, and my fish don't have a 24/7 staff of caretakers and vets. Does anyone want to make the case that those dolphins are not happy and well cared for. Probably happier and better cared for than most people's dogs and cats. Certainly happier than their wild counterparts dodging predators, pollution, parasites, food shortages, territorial fighting, and humans.

    What's the difference between a giraffe herd in a 5 acre enclosure, and a tortoise herd in your back yard? I've seen wild animals in Africa. That is a brutal, cruel, unforgiving existence. I've seen the same species in captivity living free of drought, parasitization, starvation, predation, and territorial fighting with conspecifics. With my human capacity for reason, logic, "feelings" and philosophy, I would MUCH rather be a rhino or Gemsbock living at the San Diego Zoo than living "free" in the wild. Think about this. Who here would rather live outside in a forrest, or out in the Australian Outback, or in a South American Jungle, or in the African Sahel, with no shelter but what you could make with your hands, no protection from predators, no medical care or medicine available, no protection from other humans, no food or water except what you find, etc... I choose my house. I've got clean, healthy drinking water, literally on tap. I've got a lovely roof and walls to protect me from all the elements. I've got fences to keep the wild animals away. I have hospitals and grocery stores. I have police and fire fighters for emergencies. Etc...

    I think we need to tread lightly here. This is dipping into animal rights territory, and those people are the enemy of pet keepers and meat eaters. They would like to ban you from keeping any pets, including domestic dogs and cats. I think the next person that says animals are better off in the wild needs to get rid of all their pets, and then go try living in the wild for a year. Experience the heat of summer and the cold of winter without all of our comforts. You go live off the land for a year and then come back and tell me how much better life in the wild is. If you survive.
  14. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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    Good point Tom.
    I agree with you.. to a point. haha
    Let me just say this (getting back to tortoises for example), A Hermann's can find up to 200 different varieties of plants and flowers in the wild.. I can't offer them NEARLY that at home. While we (or someone.. that isn't me..lol) know the names of most of those- a lot just cant grow where I am in Michigan.
    I figure I can push through that and at least offer a lot of options- even if not 1/4 of them.. to make our guys happy..

    it Is easier to provide a good home for them vs a lot of other animals, same as cats and dogs and fish. But how is 1 acher or even 5 achers enough for a rhino to run.. or a giraff to "stretch".. or a lion to act as it would in it's natural home.. Thankfully, most people that work with animals (in zoos, exc) love them and WANT to do the best by them. THAT is the only good thing I can think of. (o, yea.. and probably that they don't have to fear for their lives, as much, is good too ;))

    It's crazy that both sides can make so much sense.. haha.. There are contradictions everywhere.. :eek:;)
  15. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    If I just allow the weeds and grass to grow in my tortoise yards, eventually, over the years, there's plenty of variety for my tortoises to graze on. Is it pretty? Is it sculpted and mowed? Is it lovely to look at? No, quite the opposite, but the tortoises have a nice variety of things to eat.
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  16. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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    That is my goal!! I have been planting seeds like mad and just keep begging them to grow faster!! lol
    I can't wait to be able to plant some in the enclosures!
    Do you just plant in the soil and cover it with substrate? or do you plant the whole pot?
    I'm not there yet but have been wondering about the best way to do that when the time comes. :)

    Nice topic change, by the way;)
  17. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Russian tortoises have been documented wandering for miles a day in the wild. Probably farther than a giraffe or rhino on some days. Why is it okay to confine a russian tortoise, but not a giraffe.

    In SouthAfrica, which is rich in tortoise species, there are over 22,000 species of plants available for consumption. What is your point in bringing this up? Do we not meet our captive animals nutritional needs with what we have available?

    I hate it that tone doesn't make it into the typed word. I find it necessary to explain my tone. I'm not mad or argumentative here, just asking thought provoking questions and making conversation in a friendly tone with other animal keepers. I don't anyone to feel like this is a hostile conversation in any way.
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  18. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

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    Thanks Tom.
    I'm not taking offense at all. :)
    But I have to say your thought provoking questions are tricky..lol..
    I mean..IIII know my reasons, but putting it into words is harder than I'd thought.:rolleyes:

    My only point in bringing up the food if that they each such a big variety (and my giraff example- probably eat 1/1000 of that variety.. so aside from their space necessities the food part would be easy..er..lol)) I guess it just seems like EVERYthing would be better in the wild.. Mother nature isn't always nice but it is natural.

    If only people did what was right by all creatures, (providing the very best they can) I don't think there'd be any problems.
    If whale, giraff, rhino exc enclosures could be expanded (by alot) then I wouldn't feel so badly for them..
    As it is..even if there is no rhyme or reason, I feel for them.:p:p
  19. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    To the fish vs cetacean argument. I think the difference is your fish is a simpler creature. They have a lower capacity for reason and emotion compared to whales. How do we know if they are happy? Do fish even have a capacity for happiness, or is it just a non-stressed state? I would hesitate to imply there isn't a difference. We also would have to define what "happiness" is for each animal. I'm honestly undecided if keeping whales, as Sea World does, is right or wrong when considering the individual animal, and the habitat provided. There is a whole spectrum of "ethical scenarios" that can be questioned. Does offering protection to an animal mean it has a "better" life? My biggest issue is the size of the habitat, which is obviously the same issue many share; however, as I have said that I am undecided, I am not qualified to conclude, nor have I researched if the orcas are just fine in their current set up. It is easy for us outsiders, and even easier for those who do not work with animals to see these whales, or any other animal in a cage, as prisoners.

    I realize the logical choice between living on your own in the wilderness vs in the safety of society is quite obvious for a human, but not so much for the animal. A response from an animal rights activist may be "if this is true, why not round up as many animals as we can?". I'm certainly not on their side, but I think its important to consider how they reason and their "logic" when trying to understand both sides. Again, with the giraffe vs tortoise argument, my response would be similar to the fish vs orca. I do not see many people bringing up psychological needs and the differences between other species. However, humans have been keeping livestock for thousands of years, which giraffes are similar to, so they may be easier to keep in captivity than a whale.

    I do agree that this is dangerous territory on an internet forum, but glad to see that our members are being constructive about it. I also think it is an important thing to consider when you are part of a hobby that is constantly attacked by those who do not understand what is involved.
    TammyJ likes this.
  20. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    As has been suggested and pointed out here, the intelligence of the animal probably has a lot to do with whether or not they are "happy" in captivity. Also the way they are treated and housed. There are too many ifs and buts to count!
    I have a lot of pets and I love them all and try to do the best for them.
    I also "use" these pets (especially the reptiles!) to teach the kids in my area how beautiful reptiles are, something that always surprises and delights them. Some of them cannot believe that they won't get "stung" by the snakes! So, a bit of education thrown in.
    I still feel sorry for birds in small cages and captive whales. "Safe" and well fed or not. That is just me!
    I really like this site.
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