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 Post subject: Animal rights questions?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Firstly, hello! :) I've been trying to learn more about Animal Rights for a while now, but I have some questions I've never been able to get answered. I don't know if it's because they're more personal opinion rather than something that can be generalised, but everyone I've asked has just ignored me and brushed me off and it's becoming a little frustrating. I would be most grateful if someone could help me.

I've always been a bit iffy about Animal Rights due to the portrayal of it in the media, and as I said the people I've come across personally haven't exactly been helpful. I don't like forming any kind of opinion unless I've seen as much of the picture as I can, and surely anyone who is against the killing and suffering of animals can't be that awful? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big animal lover and have always supported animal welfare, but as I've never been able to 100% understand animal rights it's kind of stopped me. That's why I hope to get a few answers, and it's why I finally joined a forum rather than asking individual people.

Anyway, the questions:

Are insects and bugs in general included in animal rights? What does this mean for parasitic animals such as tics, heartworms, headlice and fleas? Is it better to kill them, or let their host suffer? Also for exotic species in our care that eat crickets, is it wrong to through them into an enclosure to their certain death? (assuming the animal eating the crickets can not be released back into the wild for whatever reason)

What about obligate carnivores in our care? Is it wrong to raise and breed rats for the sole purpose of killing to feed to snakes? Again, assume this is a rescue snake that cannot be released into the wild. The same goes for cats, ferrets, etc. (This isn't a question about the ethics of keeping pets, more feeding and caring for animals that are unable to get themselves food for whatever reason)

On a similar subject, what about wildlife rehabilitation centres? A couple of years ago I worked at a Raptor rehab facillity, where we nursed injured birds such as owls and falcons back to health before releasing them again. We wouldn't have been able to do that without meat such as chicks and rats to feed them. Would the answer to this be we should not interfere with nature and let them die in the wild rather than trying to help them? Should we be caring for all animals equally, even if they are not companion animals and living wild?

On a slightly different note, is it exploiting a dog if you teach them tricks? What about if you preform these tricks in front of people for money? And the dog is not forced to preform, but sees it only as a bonding/playful experience with a human?

Now, I'm sure this is probably more to do with personal opinion, but what is your stance on making things with parts of dead animals? Such as taxidermy out of a roadkill fox, or collecting bones from the forest, etc. I guess it would be interesting to hear your take on the use of preserved human remains too, such as what Gunther Von Hagens sells. Also, what of animals that are already dead, what should become of their remains? (Antique fox fur stoles from the 1940s, taxidermy mounts in museums, etc)

My final question is something I feel quite strongly about - Vegan Dogs. (I'm aware cats can go vegan too, but I'm so very against this for many reasons it's probably not something to touch on here! :P )

I’m aware dogs can live on a vegan diet, and if your dogs does okay on this diet than it doesn't bother me. What I'm interested in is learning the motivation for putting your dog on a vegan diet in the first place. I personally believe this is a little odd myself, because I’ve never understood depriving an animal of it’s natural diet. One argument I’ve seen for becoming vegan is that our bodies are adapted to be herbivores - which I agree with and tell people about myself. So why is it that dogs, with a body adapted for a carnivorous diet, have an ‘unnatural’ veganism put upon them? It’s something that’s always struck me as hypocritical, and if someone could explain the reasons behind this i’d be most grateful.

I'm very passionate about this subject in particular, as I went down the career path of becoming a vet but switched instead to specialise in dogs. I'm an advocate for the raw prey-model diet, and my own dog is fed this (whole fresh carcasses and veggies, organs, meaty bones, whole eggs from our rescue chickens, etc, none from slaughterhouses and all killed on site at a local farm) and she has thrived on it, so I’m not being hypocritical here by saying that stuff and then feeding my own dog grocery store dog food or anything (so against that awful slop, it's cruel for the animals it's made from and cruel and terribly unhealthy for the animal it's being fed to!). If you find fault in my logic here please point it out, as I said this is a subject I’m very involved in and happy to discuss and debate with anyone. I’m willing to listen, even learn if you have any new information.

I hope not to offend anyone. I'd appreciate any response, even if it's just to shout at me (though of course I much prefer intelligent responses) Thank you for your time, and I hope this was the right place to post this! :crazy:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:55 am 
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Mutt wrote:
Firstly, hello! :) I've been trying to learn more about Animal Rights for a while now, but I have some questions I've never been able to get answered. I don't know if it's because they're more personal opinion rather than something that can be generalised, but everyone I've asked has just ignored me and brushed me off and it's becoming a little frustrating. I would be most grateful if someone could help me.

I've always been a bit iffy about Animal Rights due to the portrayal of it in the media, and as I said the people I've come across personally haven't exactly been helpful. I don't like forming any kind of opinion unless I've seen as much of the picture as I can, and surely anyone who is against the killing and suffering of animals can't be that awful? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big animal lover and have always supported animal welfare, but as I've never been able to 100% understand animal rights it's kind of stopped me. That's why I hope to get a few answers, and it's why I finally joined a forum rather than asking individual people.

Anyway, the questions:

Are insects and bugs in general included in animal rights? What does this mean for parasitic animals such as tics, heartworms, headlice and fleas? Is it better to kill them, or let their host suffer? Also for exotic species in our care that eat crickets, is it wrong to through them into an enclosure to their certain death? (assuming the animal eating the crickets can not be released back into the wild for whatever reason)

What about obligate carnivores in our care? Is it wrong to raise and breed rats for the sole purpose of killing to feed to snakes? Again, assume this is a rescue snake that cannot be released into the wild. The same goes for cats, ferrets, etc. (This isn't a question about the ethics of keeping pets, more feeding and caring for animals that are unable to get themselves food for whatever reason)

On a similar subject, what about wildlife rehabilitation centres? A couple of years ago I worked at a Raptor rehab facillity, where we nursed injured birds such as owls and falcons back to health before releasing them again. We wouldn't have been able to do that without meat such as chicks and rats to feed them. Would the answer to this be we should not interfere with nature and let them die in the wild rather than trying to help them? Should we be caring for all animals equally, even if they are not companion animals and living wild?

On a slightly different note, is it exploiting a dog if you teach them tricks? What about if you preform these tricks in front of people for money? And the dog is not forced to preform, but sees it only as a bonding/playful experience with a human?

Now, I'm sure this is probably more to do with personal opinion, but what is your stance on making things with parts of dead animals? Such as taxidermy out of a roadkill fox, or collecting bones from the forest, etc. I guess it would be interesting to hear your take on the use of preserved human remains too, such as what Gunther Von Hagens sells. Also, what of animals that are already dead, what should become of their remains? (Antique fox fur stoles from the 1940s, taxidermy mounts in museums, etc)

My final question is something I feel quite strongly about - Vegan Dogs. (I'm aware cats can go vegan too, but I'm so very against this for many reasons it's probably not something to touch on here! :P )

I’m aware dogs can live on a vegan diet, and if your dogs does okay on this diet than it doesn't bother me. What I'm interested in is learning the motivation for putting your dog on a vegan diet in the first place. I personally believe this is a little odd myself, because I’ve never understood depriving an animal of it’s natural diet. One argument I’ve seen for becoming vegan is that our bodies are adapted to be herbivores - which I agree with and tell people about myself. So why is it that dogs, with a body adapted for a carnivorous diet, have an ‘unnatural’ veganism put upon them? It’s something that’s always struck me as hypocritical, and if someone could explain the reasons behind this i’d be most grateful.

I'm very passionate about this subject in particular, as I went down the career path of becoming a vet but switched instead to specialise in dogs. I'm an advocate for the raw prey-model diet, and my own dog is fed this (whole fresh carcasses and veggies, organs, meaty bones, whole eggs from our rescue chickens, etc, none from slaughterhouses and all killed on site at a local farm) and she has thrived on it, so I’m not being hypocritical here by saying that stuff and then feeding my own dog grocery store dog food or anything (so against that awful slop, it's cruel for the animals it's made from and cruel and terribly unhealthy for the animal it's being fed to!). If you find fault in my logic here please point it out, as I said this is a subject I’m very involved in and happy to discuss and debate with anyone. I’m willing to listen, even learn if you have any new information.

I hope not to offend anyone. I'd appreciate any response, even if it's just to shout at me (though of course I much prefer intelligent responses) Thank you for your time, and I hope this was the right place to post this! :crazy:


I could give you a detailed response to your questions but I'm wondering what your own answers to your own quetions would be? I mean, what do you think? Are insects included in animal rights? Should a person with an animal companion allow tics or fleas to feed on their cat or dog......?

Intelligent questions deserve intelligent responses. I don't mean to belittle your inquiry, but I'd rather hear your own ideas about these before giving mine.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Anyway, the questions:

Are insects and bugs in general included in animal rights?(1) What does this mean for parasitic animals such as tics, heartworms, headlice and fleas? Is it better to kill them, or let their host suffer?(2) Also for exotic species in our care that eat crickets, is it wrong to through them into an enclosure to their certain death? (assuming the animal eating the crickets can not be released back into the wild for whatever reason)(3)

1--No, 2--kill them, 3--No

What about obligate carnivores in our care? Is it wrong to raise and breed rats for the sole purpose of killing to feed to snakes? (4)Again, assume this is a rescue snake that cannot be released into the wild. The same goes for cats, ferrets, etc. (This isn't a question about the ethics of keeping pets, more feeding and caring for animals that are unable to get themselves food for whatever reason)
4---No

On a similar subject, what about wildlife rehabilitation centres? A couple of years ago I worked at a Raptor rehab facillity, where we nursed injured birds such as owls and falcons back to health before releasing them again. We wouldn't have been able to do that without meat such as chicks and rats to feed them. Would the answer to this be we should not interfere with nature and let them die in the wild rather than trying to help them?(5) Should we be caring for all animals equally, even if they are not companion animals and living wild?(6)
5---Yes, let them die in the wild, 6---No

On a slightly different note, is it exploiting a dog if you teach them tricks?(7) What about if you preform these tricks in front of people for money? And the dog is not forced to preform, but sees it only as a bonding/playful experience with a human?(8)
7--No, 8--No, it is OK

Now, I'm sure this is probably more to do with personal opinion, but what is your stance on making things with parts of dead animals? Such as taxidermy out of a roadkill fox, or collecting bones from the forest, etc.(9) I guess it would be interesting to hear your take on the use of preserved human remains too, such as what Gunther Von Hagens sells.(10) Also, what of animals that are already dead, what should become of their remains? (Antique fox fur stoles from the 1940s, taxidermy mounts in museums, etc)(11)
9---It is OK if not to excess with some, but for me, I don't want dead things/parts on display around the house. 10- and that includes human remains. 11- the remains should be shallow buried.

My final question is something I feel quite strongly about - Vegan Dogs. (I'm aware cats can go vegan too, but I'm so very against this for many reasons it's probably not something to touch on here! :P )

I’m aware dogs can live on a vegan diet, and if your dogs does okay on this diet than it doesn't bother me. What I'm interested in is learning the motivation for putting your dog on a vegan diet in the first place. I personally believe this is a little odd myself, because I’ve never understood depriving an animal of it’s natural diet. One argument I’ve seen for becoming vegan is that our bodies are adapted to be herbivores - which I agree with and tell people about myself. So why is it that dogs, with a body adapted for a carnivorous diet, have an ‘unnatural’ veganism put upon them?(12) It’s something that’s always struck me as hypocritical, and if someone could explain the reasons behind this i’d be most grateful.

12--it is hypocritical and unnatural forcing of the cat or dog's diet, to me. The people that do such things defy logic, to me. [-X :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:25 am 
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Cats on a veggie diet? [-(

I don't believe that would be healthy at all: cats are naturally meat-eaters; it's the way they're constructed.
Anyone who tells you cats can be healthy on a veggie diet doesn't know much about cats.'


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:34 am 
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Iowanic wrote:
Cats on a veggie diet? [-(

I don't believe that would be healthy at all: cats are naturally meat-eaters; it's the way they're constructed.
Anyone who tells you cats can be healthy on a veggie diet doesn't know much about cats.'


Or they may know about cats and just do not like them ..... :twisted:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:58 pm 
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To be completely honest, Ki-ki has at least three times helped himself to potatoe salad(I'm not kidding)
And according to my brother, Ki-ki's eaten oreo cookies. :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Iowanic wrote:
To be completely honest, Ki-ki has at least three times helped himself to potatoe salad(I'm not kidding)
And according to my brother, Ki-ki's eaten oreo cookies. :oops:


My wife accused me of taking Hershey's Kisses from her stash and eating them. I had not done it so we assumed one of the boys had been doing it. That was until we caught our cat, Cocoa, removing the wrapper and happily eating one of them. She left the bits of foil wrapper on the dresser and went on her merry way. Our older dog loves the iced Starbucks coffee so much he will go after the glass. So far this month he has spilled three glasses onto the floor getting his share.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Good questions. Answers would only be possible in a black and white world.

I saw a honey bee trapped in a spiders web outside my flat window recently. It's legs furiously pumping. It's face looking into my window. At first I wanted to free it then the spider came. I knew I couldn't interfere.

I only intervene when I feel nature has gone wrong or is in an unnatural state.. A creature injured on the roadside for example.

I fed my cats on meat, that is their diet.

I used to have a dog that i taught to go around me before I threw the ball. She seemed to enjoy it. No sticks or stones just a movement of my arms accompanied by my voice.

Circus animals are a big no no.

One with an ounce of empathy can tell if the 'lesser' animal is okay.

Man is the measurement of all things? Be it geometry, psychology, theology? Reason, his perception/empathy of nature.

When anything becomes a pest or a detriment be it man or beast it has to be dealt with.

Nature has dealt with pests in the past and will deal with man in the future.
Mothy

If God created nature and thus man and made man in his own image then surely he gave man dominion over his creatures. Did he create that spider to spin the web and the honey bee to be entrapped and for that human to think/feel?

Or are they entities that feed off human emotions?

We have been visited by shadows, ufo's reported over our houses,we have unexplained supernatural occurrences that infiltrate our daily lives.

And we have Johhny the scientific guy. How we love him.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:32 am 
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There are 4 key issues that divide people on the issues of animal rights:

1) the obvious one is the suffering of animals. Some people say animals do not suffer or do not suffer in the same way but personally I do not buy that... pain has a specific purpose to motivate the animal to do what will keep it alive longer and I see no difference in that purpose for humans so our experience of pain should be similar to that of the animals. Where you start to get into grey areas are very small animals... single-cell amoeba will respond to avoid repeat of damage but do so in a chemical method... do they have a sense of pain even though they have no brain? I had a pet oyster and it could detect which human was putting their hand in the water... it opened for me because I fed it and it buried into the sand for anyone else. Oysters do not have a central brain but a bunch of blobs of nerves scattered around it's body. My point is that this animal with no real brain was doing complex behavior with the purpose of increasing pleasure and avoiding pain. Same goes with my pet spiders and pet grasshopper... microscopic brains but they still come to know me as a safe creature. I will add boredom to a form of pain generally termed depression. Keeping their mind and body doing the sorts of activities their body and brain were designed to do is very important to avoid that depression but different animals will have different needs based on their wild habits. A hamster just needs tunnels and stuff to move around... not much to keep a hamster busy.

2) the second one is the sense of free will. We feel trapped when put in prison and assume that other species will share that experience. This is not always the case. Freedom also is at odds with security. Cats, when given freedom, will return because they like the company of humans and of course like the food (or in the case of farm cats, the wild rodents attracted to our food stores and waste). Keeping cats indoors is much safer for the cats but is it cruel? I do not think so as long as they do have something to occupy their brains. I had a horrible problem with pest mice at one house and I was raising other rodents for pets. I used live-catch traps and kept these mice as pets. I had several hundred house mice and over a hundred deermice. They were tamed and prevented from breeding (separated genders). When they figured out how to get out, I would not know until someone was trapped because they would prefer to stay in their cage except for a bit of exploring. When entering a room, they would rush back to their cage and go back in. From their perspective, being a pet in a cage was a cushy arrangement. Of course this does not apply all animals or all individuals but for me, the evidence is that this sense of freedom is only our instincts telling us to have options for escape should we be attacked. When our safety is assured, that need for freedom is lessened and this "our" can include other animals

3) self-determination. We like to think that we can do what ever we want but that condition is very rare in the past and still not possible for most humans. If we cannot have it, it seems silly to worry about animals having it. When you are in the wild, you have no choices... you must do what is required to survive. People controlling an animal is not a bad thing but rather providing a purpose to their life and interesting things for them to think about. Ferrets think being put back in their cage is the worst thing you could ever do... but when they get tired (in a few minutes), they gladly head back for a snooze. My point is that there is no real hardship with cages as long as their mind has stuff to do (and they get exercise).

4) this has nothing to do with the animals but is a very big dividing point between "animal welfare" and "animal rights"... individuals having control over others: For some people, exerting any control over an animal in any way is wrong. These people wish to control people by stopping them from doing anything to control animals. For them, the idea of domesticated animals is morally wrong and they wish for all domesticated species to become extinct. Of course using animal products is also supporting such control over animals. For the question of "should your dog get a vegetarian diet", their answer would be "you should not have pets in the first place". I am sure you can tell that I do not share this attitude. For me, freedom is more important for humans but also is more important to wildlife because we humans have altered the world so much, it is our duty to help the wildlife make the best of the little land we have left for wildlife. Zoos are very important tools to save species and wild spaces (but we have not taken that new goal of zoos seriously). I might agree with going vegetarian but for the reason of growing your own food and leaving more land to wildlife. I will be developing better ways to raise animals in the hope that people will quit eating cows and start eating rabbits and guinea pigs... so more deer and antelope can roam


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:45 am 
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On occasion emotion outweighs reason. This is when derangement raises its ugly head.

'YOU MOTHY', 'STOP STARING OUT THE WINDOW!', 'sorry 'sir', i feel there is something wrong with the system'

'there is something very wrong'.

'WHAT WAS I JUST SAYING MOTHY?'

'i wasn't listening 'sir'. 'you are a teacher that teaches the system,sir'.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:37 am 
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Anne; that's a very good 'entry-level' sum-up of the issue.... :clap:


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:09 am 
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Ann Vole wrote:
There are 4 key issues that divide people on the issues of animal rights:

1) the obvious one is the suffering of animals. Some people say animals do not suffer or do not suffer in the same way but personally I do not buy that... pain has a specific purpose to motivate the animal to do what will keep it alive longer and I see no difference in that purpose for humans so our experience of pain should be similar to that of the animals. Where you start to get into grey areas are very small animals... single-cell amoeba will respond to avoid repeat of damage but do so in a chemical method... do they have a sense of pain even though they have no brain? I had a pet oyster and it could detect which human was putting their hand in the water... it opened for me because I fed it and it buried into the sand for anyone else. Oysters do not have a central brain but a bunch of blobs of nerves scattered around it's body. My point is that this animal with no real brain was doing complex behavior with the purpose of increasing pleasure and avoiding pain. Same goes with my pet spiders and pet grasshopper... microscopic brains but they still come to know me as a safe creature. I will add boredom to a form of pain generally termed depression. Keeping their mind and body doing the sorts of activities their body and brain were designed to do is very important to avoid that depression but different animals will have different needs based on their wild habits. A hamster just needs tunnels and stuff to move around... not much to keep a hamster busy.


I think this misses a huge point. The anticipation of pain can serve as an amplification in humans but generally not animals as they do not have the self awareness. an exception might be a stun gun, where the noise scares prior to the pain being inflicted. You cannot impart the totality of the pain threat to animals as you can humans. Just as you can tell a child pulling off a bandaid will not hurt or may hurt only a moment, no such explanation can be given an animal.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:14 am 
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Yo, Matt? We helping you any?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:37 am 
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Mutt wrote:
Anyway, the questions:

Are insects and bugs in general included in animal rights?


Yes, if and when they decide to grant themselves such rights.

Quote:
What does this mean for parasitic animals such as tics, heartworms, headlice and fleas?


Only if the animals to which they are parasitic do not grant themselves rights to NOT ne used and have better defense of their right.

Quote:
Is it better to kill them, or let their host suffer?


Why compromise? Do both. Let the host suffer and them kill them ... <just kidding>

Quote:
Also for exotic species in our care that eat crickets, is it wrong to through them into an enclosure to their certain death? (assuming the animal eating the crickets can not be released back into the wild for whatever reason)


No, as it is a choice and as long as one is comfortable with the choice and will accept the results of the choice.

Quote:
What about obligate carnivores in our care?


In our care means we are obligated to feed them their proper food.

Quote:
Is it wrong to raise and breed rats for the sole purpose of killing to feed to snakes?


No more so than raising sunflowers to feed the seed to birds.

Quote:
Again, assume this is a rescue snake that cannot be released into the wild. The same goes for cats, ferrets, etc. (This isn't a question about the ethics of keeping pets, more feeding and caring for animals that are unable to get themselves food for whatever reason)


I see no problem with this.

Quote:
On a similar subject, what about wildlife rehabilitation centres? Would the answer to this be we should not interfere with nature and let them die in the wild rather than trying to help them?


Given many of the rescue situations are the result of human action or due to human creations, it is our responsibility to provide such care.

Quote:
Should we be caring for all animals equally, even if they are not companion animals and living wild?


We cannot care for animals equally because animals are not equal. Those which are prey cannot be saved from the predator without dooming the predator and inversely the predator cannot be saved without dooming some of the prey animals.

Quote:
On a slightly different note, is it exploiting a dog if you teach them tricks?


No, unless there is strong negative actions used to force the trick.

Quote:
What about if you preform these tricks in front of people for money?


Working dogs earn their room and board.

Quote:
And the dog is not forced to preform, but sees it only as a bonding/playful experience with a human?


Dogs also like to teach tricks to humans. If they look a certain way we humans will take them outside.

Quote:
Now, I'm sure this is probably more to do with personal opinion, but what is your stance on making things with parts of dead animals?


As long as the animal is dead, I see no problem with it.

Quote:
Such as taxidermy out of a roadkill fox, or collecting bones from the forest, etc. I guess it would be interesting to hear your take on the use of preserved human remains too, such as what Gunther Von Hagens sells. Also, what of animals that are already dead, what should become of their remains? (Antique fox fur stoles from the 1940s, taxidermy mounts in museums, etc)


No problem. I actually came close to purchasing some old museum exhibits from the turn of the century a few weeks back. My wife was not opposed to it but the display area just was not in our house for either of them due to the size. (Native squirrel and pheasant species)

Quote:
My final question is something I feel quite strongly about - Vegan Dogs. (I'm aware cats can go vegan too, but I'm so very against this for many reasons it's probably not something to touch on here! :P )


Dogs can live on such a diet, but they will go crazy for some meat too. I believe treats are due them since it is their natural diet too.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Wayne Stollings wrote:
The anticipation of pain can serve as an amplification in humans but generally not animals as they do not have the self awareness.
and this is a point I will strongly disagree with you on. Self awareness is a state that I think is an important factor in much of the behavior modification necessary for the survival of most animals. I put the border line between self-aware animals and non-self-aware animals in the insects between flies and bees and their reaction to windows. Many fly species will pound their head on a window for days with no change... the fact that they did not succeed at going forward does not stop them from trying again. Bees ants and wasps have to return to their nest for survival but flies just need to find food and have sex... nothing more is required for survival. A bee confronting a window tries once, then tries other windows once, then tries different corners on each window once, then tries walking around the edge of each window. Failure results in a new strategy. For me, this requires the level of thinking that encompasses a will... a plan that changes and is not stimuli-driven. A fly smells food... flies to it. A fly sees another fly... tries to have sex. A bee needs to go into different modes... find flowers, return to the hive, show where the flowers are by a dance, deposit nectar, make a wax lid... these are a lot of different activities with only stimuli based on context of what has happened in the past so memory of events and experience of failure needs to be part of their brain activity. I raise rodents and can see them plan nest structures and build them to a per-visualized plan. When someone else is stealing materials, you can see them get agitated and to also rebuild according to their original plan. This has all the earmarks of deciding to do something based on a plan with a selfish purpose. On the documentary about the making of the IMAX film about beavers, they used tame beavers and put them in a giant abandoned beaver dam lake in Alaska. To their surprise, the beavers were lazy for months and did no cutting down trees. This tells me that dam building is not instinct and beavers are basically lazy. Turns out their main activity when they did start cutting down trees was storing food (tree branches) for winter (poked into the mud of the bottom of the pond). Instinct was obviously involved as these were tame beavers but that is further emphasizing the non-instinct of the dam building. Tool use including mirrors has been used for a test of this "self-awareness". Baboons have a rather big brain and they fail this test. I have set up situations to see gerbils using mirrors as tools and I have seen both cats and dogs use mirrors as tools (I had to train the cat to do starring contests with me first as cats will not look another in the eyes to figure out that it is their reflection).


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