5 Year Member
- Aug 13, 2012
- Location (City and/or State)
- Miami, Florida
Tom said:Peter, I'm sorry that you have some sort of preconceived emotion attached to the word "anthropomorphism" that makes you angry, but that does not make you any less guilty of it. It also does not make it "idiocy", because in fact anthropomorphism leads to a lot of stupid decisions and causes harm to animals. Two examples: All the people who get a second russian tortoise because they think their tortoise needs a "friend". Example two: The youtube video of a leopard tortoise "helping" another tortoise who was flipped on its back, by flipping it back over. We actually argued this one here on the forum. It was obvious that these were two males fighting. The upright male had likely flipped the other one just before the video starts and he was showing every sign of male tortoise aggression in the book. He simply rammed his helpless upside down rival and it happened to turn him right side up. He then proceeded to attempt to chase his rival out of his territory. The "animal lover" crowd saw this as one tortoise helping another. Anthropomorphism. Any beginning student of tortoise behavior could see that it was one tortoise ATTACKING another. I will pre-grant you that a lack of anthropomorphism can also lead to bad decisions regarding animals. I've seen that too.
No one is arguing that animals don't have emotions. I'm a freakin' animal trainer by profession. You think I don't know more about animal's thoughts and emotions than your average Joe on the street? What I am arguing is your assertion that any tortoise would have the ability to reason the difference between "die free than live in a cage the rest of its life...", or the "fair"ness of being brought into captivity. Do animals have emotions? Yes. Do they have the ability to use logic and deductive reasoning to compare and contrast their current captive situation with their former wild situation and formulate a list of pros and cons? No. No they don't. Some people do not read enough into animal thoughts and behavior. YOU are reading TOO MUCH into it, in my opinion. Apes, elephants and dolphins can, to some degree, reason. Tortoises and other reptiles, not so much. Bugs? Nope. Parrots? Certainly. Alligators? No. Dogs? Sure. Etc... In short saying that it is sometimes a bad thing when humans incorrectly ascribe human emotions to animals is NOT the same thing as saying animals have no emotions. You made that leap for some reason, and that is part of why we are arguing. I'm not saying that animals don't have "feelings". They do. I'm saying that tortoises do not have the ability to use reason and logic as a human does, because they don't.
As for your attempt to absolve yourself and others from blame for tortoises being taken from the wild? I say, "supply and demand". With no demand (which is ultimately what you, me and other pet keepers offer), there would be no supply offered. Sure this vehicle has lots of parts, but you and I are what DRIVE this vehicle. This vehicle (the pet trade: all of it, CB and WC) would not exist without you and me and others like us who spend money on pets and pet supplies. Whether YOUR particular animals are CB or WC is irrelevant in my opinion. We ALL fuel the fire. We are ALL part of the same culture or demographic group. If you me and all the others did not like keeping tortoises in captivity and spend our money on it, none would ever be removed from the wild for the pet trade. But we do, so they are. BTW, I find it noteworthy that I have no WC animals. The two species that I currently keep have not ben WC or imported since the 90s. Yet I still feel the way I do about this issue. Again, I believe CB to be superior for many reasons, but I do not share your across the board condemnation of any animals being removed from the wild. Endangered species (truly endangered ones, NOT stupid politically listed ones, like radiateds) sure. They should be restricted, regulated and protected. But common, non-endangered ones like pancakes or russians, I have no problem with in controlled numbers. No species should be depleted from the wild ever, but I have no problem with a carefully observed and adjusted "harvest" of species that can handle it.
And to reaffirm, just conversation here, no hostility. Just making my points and taking in your rebuttals. I think discussions like this are very beneficial. Everyone learns from it. Everyone sees new thoughts and points of view. Everyone will see where different people stand on different issues. Some will agree with either side, and that's okay, but we all get to see and experience each others side, and THAT is what I find beneficial. I may not agree with all of your points, but I do like to hear them. This back and forth "arguing" or discussion, helps me (and others) better understand exactly where you are coming from and what, specifically, you mean by some of your statements. Its all good, in other words.
From Yvonne's post:
Anthropomorphism isn't applying YOUR feelings to an animal, it means giving "feelings" to an animal. Animals don't have "feelings." They look for food...they satisfy their need to breed...they rest...they warm themselves in the sun...they protect themselves when they are threatened...but they don't "feel."
So please understand first, I was not addressing your view of anthropomorphism, but yvonne's, since every word of her post seemed to say animals have no emotion.
I'm sorry if I'm somehow misguided in believing that through this, the meaning was animals do not have emotion. Clearly, that is Yvonne's understanding of the word "anthropomorphism". I was addressing her view of it, not yours. I understand perfectly well that you don't believe reptiles have a sense of logic and reason, and thats your version of anthropomorphism...(We all seem to have a different idea of what that word means)....We will have to agree to disagree however, because I DO believe reptiles have a sense of reason.
Honestly, nobody can accuse another of being an "anthropomorphosist" because that would be a complete matter of opinion. Calling someone else an anthropomorphosist is saying they are applying human feelings to an animal; but that would be assuming animals do not have "human feelings" (e.g a tortoise has no sense of freedom). You accusing me of being an anthropomorphosist has no meaning, because it is your opinion that tortoises have no sense of freedom; it is not mine, and it is not shared by everyone here.
Tom, you keep saying tortoises have no sense of reason or freedom; from your post: "I'm saying that tortoises do not have the ability to use reason and logic as a human does, because they don't." Your leaving no room for opinion there, because you seem to be saying no matter what, tortoises don't have a sense of freedom or reason. How do EITHER of us know? No study has yet been done to prove it right or wrong. We are basing this completely off of our respective observations. Mine tells me they do, yours says they don't.
I will repeat, it is a complete matter of opinion to say people are ascribing human emotions to an animal, because that would be assuming animals do not have those emotions. As I said, many studies have been done on other species to prove they have emotion, but not yet has one been done on reptiles.
I don't know how it can be denied that tortoises don't know the difference between captivity and a wild life. Here is your difference: wild life = roaming free, wherever they want, no boundaries (okay, maybe a river). Captivity = a wall on all four sides and no way of getting past it. How would they NOT know the difference?
But honestly, lets pay no attention to how the animal might feel about being taken from the wild, because clearly it is a debate in itself that it would even care, and then its another debate that if it cares, whether the animals feelings have any matter to us. So lets drop all of the "anthropomorphism", "personification", and animal emotion crap. It really isn't beneficial to this debate one way or another.
Tom, I'm continually thinking in my mind....And I can in no way understand how you believe that anyone who owns a captive bred animal is the reason for WC animals...Lets take a look at this.
If I and everyone else on earth stop buying CB animals, what result will it have on WC animals? None. If anything, it will increase the demand. However, if we all stop buying WC animals, there will be no more reason for WC animals in the pet trade. There is no way to sneak past this or deny it. It is solid logic...
If everyone just stops buying WC animals, (except for the ones needed for possible "assurance colonies", which should only be purchased by those that plan on contributing them to breeding, not for pets) they won't capture them for the pet trade anymore. Thats about all that can be said about it.
We share the same opinion; that neither one of us would mind controlled capture on the species that can handle it. But there is no such thing as controlled capture. When it is offered, some follow it legally. This then increases the demand for the animals offered, fueling more illegal capture of the animals. There will never be restricted capture. Humans are to greedy.
You seem to believe that "leaving the tortoise out in the wild" is leaving it to death. As I've already explained, its not. What would you do? Are you going to capture every tortoise in the world to have it live in your backyard instead of in the wild because "its safer there"? If your worried about the tortoise in the wild, you should start using no paper cups, paper plates, paper towels - anything made from paper. Start using the organic kind made from elephant poop. Because if you use these products, unfortunately, you are fueling the fire thats burning these tortoises in the wild (e.g deforestation. Your also fueling the other threat of being taken for the pet trade. Your the fuel for both of the fires that threaten them.)
I understand what you mean. I would love to see us fix the problem. The only way to fix it is to protect them in the wild. (Go to the url I posted for more info on why ex-situ conservation does not work)
Lets take a look at why captive breeding on most species won't work.
One problem with captive breeding is that it diverts attention from in situ conservation. Captive breeding can be used beneficially as a supplement; the problem is, it seems to be used as an alternative! What sense is there in treating the symptoms but not the cause? If we focus all of our efforts on ex situ conservation instead of in situ, what will happen? We seem to believe the captive breeding is the best because "one day we can reintroduce them to the wild." Have you ever thought about this; when we IGNORE in situ conservation and focus on ex situ as an alternative, what wild will be left? We seem to believe that we can reintroduce them in 10 years; if something isn't done to protect WILD HABITATS, there will be no wild to reintroduce them to. Thus, your years of captive breeding are now pointless.
Captive breeding and reintroduction also have the potential to decrease genetic variability within species, and transmit exogenous pathogens to wild populations. (You have to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when releasing a tortoise of an already very endangered species into the wild). They are also done without any attention payed to the species minimum viable population size. No one has done any study on just how many animals would be needed for an eventual reintroduction (which, by the time that would happen, we must assume that all wild tortoises would be dead.)
To combat the decrease of genetic diversity, we would have to take every endangered tortoise that is in captivity and contribute it to captive breeding (and probably multiply it by 2 or 3, but lets forget that part). Then, that whole little kink of actually being successful at captive breeding (successful meaning continually reproducing large clutches, not just getting 1-2 hatchlings a year because we got lucky, as it seems to be with species such as impressa and erosa.) Then, reintroduction would have to be successful, (which is unlikely).
Think of what could happen if all the money that is wasted on ex situ conservation was contributed to in situ. Every time TSA spends 3 million dollars on their new facility in (insert country of the year here).
As I said; captive breeding can be an experimental supplement, it cannot be an alternative.
Taking tortoises from the wild to live in our backyards is harmful to them in every sense of the word (unless you have the pure intention of contributing them to captive breeding populations). I know we want to go with the starfish theory, that it mattered to that one tortoise. And it does. It's a sad story, what happens to that one tortoise. But the really sad story, is whats going to happen to that whole species.