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Old 03-04-2013, 12:31 AM   #1
Gnomecatcher
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Default 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?
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:34 AM   #2
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Would you raise a puppy in a closet? Would you leave a horse in its stall for the entirety of its existence? For which species is it "acceptable" to provide less than an adequate environment, and what criteria do you use to make that determination?
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:45 AM   #3
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Would you raise a puppy in a closet? Would you leave a horse in its stall for the entirety of its existence? For which species is it "acceptable" to provide less than an adequate environment, and what criteria do you use to make that determination?
This is going to somehow spark a political debate, I know it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:56 AM   #4
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Would you raise a puppy in a closet? Would you leave a horse in its stall for the entirety of its existence? For which species is it "acceptable" to provide less than an adequate environment, and what criteria do you use to make that determination?
This is the problem right here. People don't understand that fish ARE NOT dogs, fish ARE NOT horses, and fish are most certainly NOT human beings. Don't compare two un-related animals to the same scenario.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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Fish ARE NOT dogs, fish ARE NOT horses, and fish are most certainly NOT human beings. Don't compare two un-related animals to the same scenario.
What assumptions do you make to come to these conclusions? What are the criteria you use to separate them? Is it okay to raise an Oscar in a 2.5 gallon tank? Why or why not?
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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What assumptions do you make to come to these conclusions? What are the criteria you use to separate them? Is it okay to raise an Oscar in a 2.5 gallon tank? Why or why not?
Now you're just dramatizing. Oscars would out grow a 2.5 and that is the equivalent of giving a lab a kennel half it's size. If it is physically incapable of surviving in there than that's a different topic. The goldfish has a long time to grow and you're assuming nothing would change on the owners behalf when it grows.

Tell me why you say a goldfish is in pain, why it doesn't like the situation.
The goldfish doesn't think it is cruel, he is just trying to survive to pass on its genes like all animals. You could say lakes that dwindle in the dry season in Africa is cruel. But do animals think of it that way? No. It's human emotions that personify everything that they see fit.

Not allowing an animal to reproduce could be considered just as cruel as its environment it's in. Since, in nature, that's the main goal of life.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:51 PM   #7
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Tell me why you say a goldfish is in pain, why it doesn't like the situation.
I never said "pain," I said "stress." "Pain" is subjective. However, there are plenty of well-established signs of stress in aquarium fish. If you don't know them, then you have homework to do.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FisheriesOmen View Post
This is the problem right here. People don't understand that fish ARE NOT dogs, fish ARE NOT horses, and fish are most certainly NOT human beings. Don't compare two un-related animals to the same scenario.
Does not matter in my view.Dog,cat,horse,or tropical fishes.
If and when,, someone takes on the responsibility to care for the afore mentioned,then they should do right by the creature.
Recall many post's where folk's gass their fishes with CO2,keep unsuitable fishes with other fishes requiring completely different water chemistry, different aggression level's,keep fishes in tiny glass boxes ,bowl's , feed fishes improper diet's,poor maint,etc,etc,.
Is almost humorous to see,/hear how defensive they become when told they aren't doing the fishes that have no say,,,any favor's.
I take particular exception to those who keep Betta's in wholly unsuitable enviornment's for their long term health,, but yet profess their love for these fish, which they often give cute little names to and many of their post's are punctuated with a long RIP list of the fishes that have died under their care.
Recall a popular Discus forum,where great pain's are taken to provide near sterile enviornment for the Discus,excellent food's,maint, but these same folk's think nothing of subjecting other fishes to temperatures unsuited for their long term survival and place them in near oven like temp's without a thought and become quite defensive when informed that they aren't doing the fish any favor's.
I personally have broken car window's on two occasion's,,Once to provide relief for a child ,the other for a dog.These folk's too,, became defensive.
Go figure.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #9
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Gnomecatcher: I really appreciate the reasoned way you approached this topic. You write like you have a philosophy degree. Keep going!

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I personally have broken car window's on two occasion's,,Once to provide relief for a child ,the other for a dog.These folk's too,, became defensive.
Go figure.
A person of action! I would enjoy hearing a more detailed account of their reactions.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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Last edited by Delexboarfoot; 03-04-2013 at 06:57 PM.. Reason: should have read rest of thread before opening mouth
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:55 AM   #11
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The problem I see here is equating one species with another. Problems immediately arise when you compare dogs to rats to humans to whales, and so on. A dog has many orders of magnitude greater human-like qualities than a bug. If we only consider suffering in terms of the human experience, then a dog might be said to have a greater capacity for suffering. I have tried to define terms before we start wandering into vague expressions, as David Hume calls it.

I didn't mean to say that it was acceptable to provide a less than adequate environment for any animal. I merely wanted to suggest that humans project their own feelings and emotions on other animals, sometimes unreasonable so, and that it is inappropriate to suggest that a person's supposed inhumanity to a goldfish is somehow equivalent to abusing a child, or even a dog or a rat.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:49 AM   #12
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People are weird; myself included.

The same person who rants about the inhuman treatment of an unexpectedly gifted goldfish will routinely ignore the fact that the fish they bought are part of a process which results in the death of thousands of fish every day. Or they'll excuse the death of a new species in their tank as an unfortunate part of the learning process while refusing to grant someone new to the hobby the same grace.

Frankly, I think some people also just like feeling the thrill of moral righteousness. Sure, they failed to recycle, cheated on their taxes, stole post it notes from work and lied about their phone being broken to avoid a call from mom--but they still get to claim the moral high ground.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:51 AM   #13
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People are weird; myself included.

The same person who rants about the inhuman treatment of an unexpectedly gifted goldfish will routinely ignore the fact that the fish they bought are part of a process which results in the death of thousands of fish every day. Or they'll excuse the death of a new species in their tank as an unfortunate part of the learning process while refusing to grant someone new to the hobby the same grace.

Frankly, I think some people also just like feeling the thrill of moral righteousness. Sure, they failed to recycle, cheated on their taxes, stole post it notes from work and lied about their phone being broken to avoid a call from mom--but they still get to claim the moral high ground.
Amazing, thank you for this.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:37 AM   #14
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People are weird; myself included.
I wouldn't raise a puppy in a closet. I don't give a second thought to those chickens that are kept in a cage not much bigger than themselves.

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The same person who rants about the inhuman treatment of an unexpectedly gifted goldfish will routinely ignore the fact that the fish they bought are part of a process which results in the death of thousands of fish every day. Or they'll excuse the death of a new species in their tank as an unfortunate part of the learning process while refusing to grant someone new to the hobby the same grace.
I don't think we do fish any favors by selling them for a buck and a half. Psychologically, $1.50 says "expendable, don't expect it to live very long, and don't think twice about replacing it when it dies in 3 months."
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:14 AM   #15
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Default The suffering of animals, and other travesties

I suspect one of the many reasons some folks can be so passionate about the subject is animals don't have the moral failings we humans do and are therefore blameless, which means any "cruelty" shown toward them is entirely unjust.

I think injustice makes most of us angry to some degree.

Now whether each of us might liberate the captive goldfish and how we define "cruelty" - I think that might be less universal...
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