The suffering of animals, and other travesties
I fancy myself a fairly perceptive human being, and this has been bothering me for some time, so I just thought I ought to voice these concerns to the general aquarium hobbyist public.
On an unnamed website, I saw a discussion in which a girl stole a goldfish from a couple of guys at a house party because she was concerned that it was suffering. "Stole" may be a bit of a strong word here, but I had the impression that she was fairly inebriated and took the fish without permission. According to her, the fish was listless and the water was full of algae. She took it to the pet store and bought a 40 or something gallon tank for it, along with all the other equipment. The picture showed a pretty sparse set up with some live plants. Her story was received with "you are a beautiful human being" and "omg how thoughtful and kind of you!" et cetera.
On numerous occasions, I have seen people pointing fingers at others for keeping bettas in 1 gallon prisons. I have seen people rage on about the suffering of goldfish, and how if you want to do it "right", goldfish should be kept with no less than X gallons per fish (I won't make a definitive statement, because everyone has their own opinions on this matter). People get their feathers ruffled over the smallest things. I can't help but feel that these things are blown out of proportion. Granted that most people on this forum keep aquariums for their aesthetics and pleasure, so let's not even talk about the majority of hobbyists on this forum. I feel that will cloud the issue. Let's talk about your average person who puts a tank in the living room to drop a few fish in. Spending a few hundred dollars for a single $5 fish seems slightly insane for a child's first pet.
I can understand that if you have a more pricier specimen, you'll want to do things right in order to keep that animal alive and healthy enough to breed. However, to call people cruel for keeping their fish improperly is just unreasonable. I struck me that this girl chose to use such strong language to describe these gentleman whom she took the goldfish from. There is a lot of injustice in this world, so pick your battles wisely.
I feel like I have a lot more to say about cruelty to animals, but I have so many mixed emotions on this issue that it is difficult to let it all out. It's not that I advocate cruelty to animals, but I do think we need to evaluate our values so that we don't lose sight of our goals. If I want to put a little goldfish in 15 gallons, so be it. Maybe I know what I'm doing, maybe I don't. Maybe I will learn something from it. Maybe it works. Maybe it works for a while. Maybe it's a disaster. What's the big deal?