1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Is owning a tortoise cruel?

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

Help Support Tortoise Forums by donating:

  1. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):

    your kidding right ? i'm basing it off the people i see around me today , what i've seen sold and owned over the years , how rare some of that stuff is today in captivity , the neglect i've witnessed in my life , the folks i've seen on this board alone who don't use or have access to a vet , or can't afford it , added to the common sense estimation of the percentage of folks who will take a free to $30 dollar "pet" to a vet for a couple hundred dollar bill ..... do you realize how many folks think it's odd to take a gecko or a turtle to a vet ? or a parakeet ? or a hamster ? the vast majority ...hell my vet can tell me about "in the early days " of veterinary care for reptiles , which is i would guess the early to mid 1990's .. how many adult red eared sliders do you own right now ? you've had them right ? i've seen tubs full of podocnemis unifilis at woolworths for $4 a piece , they got to live 30-40yrs how many 20lb adults you see around ? map turtles by the thousands , what's their lifespan ? caimans , $9-$10 , they got to live 40yrs ? do you know how many kids i knew that had 1 or 2 or 4 ....... burmese pythons got to be capable of living 40yrs ? where did all these adults end up ?
  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    Kent, South East England
    I said I was bowing out, but I need to say that my reason for doing so wasn’t fear of you Tom. You know that I haven’t been afraid to say things you may not agree with.

    I was tired last night and I did want to say my bit. I just get the feeling that conservation isn’t understood in the same way by people, including on TFO. For some their desire to own seems to exceed their desire to preserve. And they get very vocal over their rights as a human... rights I don’t think they actually have.

    I get managing deer populations and the like, but we aren’t talking about deer. We are talking about tortoises and many are endangered, most are “at risk”, in the wild. I cannot condone collecting them for the pet trade.

    When I see the work my daughter and her ecologist colleagues do working to conserve the natural environment... and the work done by various zoological and ecological trusts around the world ... they are doing what’s important.

    Having these tortoises as pets does nothing to conserve the wild population and, in my opinion, adds to the stresses placed on the wild populations.

    For every “Tom” owning one of these wild caught pets there are many people who have absolutely no idea and do a lot of damage.

    Now that really is my last word if only because I have just joined my husband who is working in Spain and debate isn’t really something I’m interested in right now :D
    Tom and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Jan 9, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    Agreed. Human interference caused this problem, and human intervention is now required to keep things from getting worse.

    In some cases this is true, in other cases things are too far gone and our continued help/interference is required to keep the eco-system from getting worse.

    Granted, but how is this relevant to our discussion here? I don't wish to intervene in what happens out in the world, I just wish to bring a few members of some species into captivity for my own enjoyment, the enjoyment of others, and in a few cases to save a species from certain extinction.

    I am happy to be the one to inform you that "keeping animals in our houses" has been the main source of husbandry and care advancements for animals. Zoos and government organizations typically fail miserably, and when they succeed it is because a private keeper is telling the zoo keeper how to do it right.

    Protected areas usually fail, conservation efforts fail because they usually can't overcome the driving factors that caused the problem in the first place, and education is getting more and more difficult because more and more people don't want us to have captive animals with which to learn and teach with. I can tell you from a career of doing animal education for decades, I even hold a college degree in "Wildlife Education", that people learn more, demonstrate more passion, and are more motivated into positive action when they see a living breathing animal in front of them vs. a picture or some film footage on TV.

    I've never understood the disconnect between a CB animal and a WC animal. I realize that people disagree with this, but buying a CB animal is giving a direct financial reward to the people responsible for removing the parents of the CB animal from the wild. CB animals certainly make better pets any way you measure it, but the owner of a CB animal is still directly responsible for the removal of animals from the wild. Can't have CB animals if you don't have a good size pool of WC foundation animals to start with.

    Selfish to take animals for my own needs? Okay. I won't argue that. Its selfish in the same way I enjoy my dog, my car, or a good meal. Or desert. Taken further, what do we do in life that isn't selfish in some way? Doesn't everyone do everything because that is how that want to do it and it please them? My animals please me. I enjoy caring for them and watching them do their thing. It is a very selfish thing indeed.

    Wrong? No. No its not. Not wrong in anyway. On that point we will not agree. When I look out at my animals enjoying the lives that I've provided for them, man, everything about that is right. When I think about what I've learned while caring for my captive animals and what I've been able to share with others to improve the lives of animals all over the world, no, there is not one thing wrong with that.
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  4. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    Fes, Morocco
    It's not a case of fearing you will come to Morocco and biff me on the nose, I'm not bothered, even if that were likely, I get plenty of biffings from wifey. But there is something strangely terrifying about communicating with certain people without eye contact or facial expression and they can come over as aggressive, manipulative or dishonest. (not saying you are all these things) That's part of the reason for the horrid 'emoticons' or 'emojis' or whatever they're called, I hate them but have learned that to use them with some people, on some occasions can be useful for conveying a tone, even though this can be false, too. :mad: You would be more than welcome to come to Morocco anytime and visit, but not for fisticuffs, for mint tea and animated discussion.
    And a look at some camels.
    I was not talking about not saving animals, I was talking about taking them from the wild needlessly, on a whim, or for entertainment. Yes, many birds, tortoises etc, would die in the wild if we don't rescue them, but should we do it? I don't think so, unless they are critically endangered etc. Mostly it is better if we leave them alone and concentrate on protecting their environment IMHO.
    We cannot and should not think we are doing an animal a favour because we are taking it out of it's natural habitat and placing it in another even though it will probably live a much longer and easier life.
    The giant panda is a "conservation reliant vulnerable species" , the California Condor was and is still critically endangered, so is the Burmese star. Sulcatas should be left where they are and their habitats protected and the peregrine falcon is not an endangered animal, you can't use that as an example, they'll only become endangered if people take them out of the wild for "their own good."
    The right to decide. Lions and tortoises don't 'decide' to eat what they do, they just do it. We are different we can take actions not based entirely out of instinct or basic thought processes. Yes, it's a question of what's right and wrong, a matter of ethics and principal. It's here that we disagree. People have different ideas of what's wrong and what's right.
    Genetic diversity : Clearly not all populations of animals are numbered in the millions. Removing some for the pet trade can be devastating. Here, for example the Testudo graeca soussensis is still being taken so people can have nice pets. There will soon, quite likely, be none left in the wild. The same can be said for your example of the Burmese star, though some of those are sold for 'medicine' too. Why should you want to take a macaw from the wild just so it looks pretty in your living room? Yes, captive bred have come from ancestors at some time taken from the wild, but often generations ago and it is no longer necessary for the breeders and sellers to take more from the original source.
    Personally, I would never buy a pet of any description, but that's just me, I'm not condemning the purchase of pets wholesale. But I eat meat and love veal, so i guess i'm a hypocrite
    And I'm genuinely very sorry about your bird.
    Tom likes this.
  5. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    South Florida
    Honestly I luv discussions like this. Guess I’m a natural contrarian-so I like to put in my 2cents, curious of people’s ideas & logic.

    This heated topic rages throughout the pet trade , with naturalists, conservationists, keepers & even vegetarians getting in on it (though usually over raising animals for food). I was once vehemently (verbally) assaulted for hunting and shooting a caribou in Alaska. And at a block party barbecue no less (& yes, I pointed out the irony ). And yes , my family with 4 teens ate caribou all winter.

    It often degenerates into absolutes. Words like ‘all, every, & absolutely’ make discussion difficult. Even stating ‘ most’ is often subjective to ones experience.

    That does not make it a fruitless debate. Just one where measured thinking helps.

    It is true that many animals, including tortoises, suffer in the hands of dealers & ignorant or uncaring keepers. It is also true that many have long & healthy lives , and are sometimes saved from extinction through the breeding and husbandry efforts of hobbiests. Also through regulated breeding programs - kept on compounds like the Aldabras , have been restored. Some are experiencing such destruction of habitats and illegal collection , like some Star tortoises, that intervention has become necessary to prevent extinction.

    It is not an all or nothing proposition. And each species has its own issues.

    Humans intervene. We interact with the natural world in which we live. The purists will say if you find an injured tortoise leave it be. It will either die or recover but there is no good reason to remove it and care for it. It disrupts nature.

    Others ( like me ) would say no. If it is legal to do so , I will take it home. Tend it’s wounds and help it recover. I might even go so far as seek vet attention. Then I will send it back to the woods. As a boy I saved 2 baby raccoons this way. Both had mothers hit on the hiway. I’d do it again.

    I keep tortoises as pets. I also have 2 dogs & 2 cats. They all have good lives. Never have I thought of it as keeping them in jail. Nor can I feel any guilt over not perfectly mirroring the “ wild” state of their kind. Often my husbandry improves on that.

    Maybe that was 4 cents? :)
    Tom and Big Charlie like this.
  6. Amber26

    Amber26 Active Member

    May 5, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    I think the question is a difficult one to answer. The ops statement is animals 'meant' to live in the wild and 'make' them live in cages.

    Many animals are born in captivity-they have never seen the wild and know no difference, and would likely not survive if set free as I doubt their immune systems/tolerance would be that of a wild animal.

    I have horses for example. They were once wild and now domesticated. I ride my horse and he jumps over obstacles for me. Is it cruel? Am i whipping him over the jumps? No. Infact he perks his ears and tries to go faster towards the jumps. He enjoys it. This plays into what others have said about the needs of animals and if they can be met. By riding, I am meeting his need for exercise. He also runs around his paddock, or stands and eats grass. He doesn't have to worry about getting attacked by predators at night because he is in a barn.

    I feel the same for my tortoise. The breeder told me the father was wild caught. Mother was captive bred. As long as we can meet the needs and properly care and provide for any animal I do not think it is cruel.

    I do feel it is sad that many people do not understand the proper care or have the proper resources for said animals and yet keep them anyways. That's why this site is a great place to come. If I had not found this site, my baby redfoot would likely be living in an open top table with coil bulbs and little humidity being fed lettuce. Would I have thought I was being cruel-no because that was the information I was given at the time of purchase. I thought it was the proper care. Now I know different and thankfully found this site as I brought my little one home. It is a very touchy subject and as long as the caretaker (us) is eager to learn and take care of our animals I do not think it is cruel.

    Cruelty would be KNOWING the proper care and not providing. Or not providing proper care because they can no longer keep or want the animal.
    Bee62, Tidgy's Dad and Tom like this.
  7. Benjtort

    Benjtort Active Member

    Jan 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Location (City and/or State):
    I think I’d ot is domesticated then it is ok as long as it has proper living conditions
Similar Threads: owning tortoise
Forum Title Date
Debatable Topics Is owning a tortoise 'cool' Dec 29, 2015
Debatable Topics Owning South African Leo's Sep 30, 2013
Debatable Topics Why do they even keep the tortoise Mar 6, 2019
Debatable Topics Should Wild Caught Russian Tortoises Kept Dry? Dec 26, 2018
Debatable Topics Slow start for stolen Perth zoo tortoise case Dec 19, 2018

Share This Page