Sluggo: I agree with you, there is no need to talk of extremist values in order to understand the harm. However, the question you pose, whether or not someone is okay with such treatment, is at the heart of the issue. What if someone was okay with it? How would you respond to them?
In some cases, my response is to explain objectively the harm that is being done. If you are okay with it, my response might be to ask why. Then my response is to do what I have done here: to challenge the assumptions that underlie your answers.
I have two rescue dogs who were abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I can't imagine doing that, but I pluck nuisance snails out of my fish tank and flush them down the toilet. I don't make any truth-claims such as "a snail is not the same thing as a dog" to justify that difference. I am comfortable with the ambiguity. When people make categorical statements like "a fish is not a dog," I want to know what criteria are being used to make that distinction. Some people employ all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify why they are outraged at puppy mills, but okay with keeping a Betta in a shot glass. I am more interested in that thought process than I am in the actual treatment of the dogs or the fish.
I had a betta when I was a kid. I stuck him in 1 gallon, no plants, hardly remembered to feed him (although I did a pretty good job of cleaning out his tank weekly). .........How can you call me cruel for my treatment of my betta?
"Cruel" is emotionally-laden. It implies a level of intent, where "neglect" and "mistreatment" do not.
Last edited by Sluggo; 03-04-2013 at 07:47 PM.
Reason: just because