Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Mouth of Nature

An "animal rights activist" has told authorities they must kill a polar bear cub born in a zoo because they have no right to raise a wild animal as tame. The bear cub has been ignored by his mother, but zoo authorities are hand feeding it. This has outraged the "activist". (Apparently there is some dispute now over whether this activist is being fairly quoted by the English-language press. So be advised that he may not have said what is attributed to him in the context presented.)

Berlin Zoo's abandoned polar bear cub Knut looks cute, cuddly and has become a front-page media darling, but an animal rights activist insisted Monday he would have been better off dead than raised by humans.

"Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws," animal rights activist Frank Albrecht was quoted as saying by the mass-circulation Bild daily, which has featured regular photo spreads tracking fuzzy Knut's frolicking.

"The zoo must kill the bear."


Being an "activist", especially one for nature, is an interesting job in several ways. First it gives one the authority to speak on behalf of a transcendant and awesome phenomenon without any obvious qualification or power of attorney. Ancient Greece had individuals who claimed to channel the thoughts of nature, or at least the deities. They were called oracles.

An oracle is a person or persons considered to be the source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature. It can also be a prediction of the future, from deities, that is spoken through another object or life-form. In the ancient world many sites gained a reputation for the dispensing of oracular wisdom: they too became known as "oracles", as did the oracular utterances themselves, whose very name is derived from the Latin verb orare, to speak.

But in one sense at least Frank Albrecht is claiming to speak for man. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws." And here's the problem. By basing his argument on law Albrecht is implicitly acknowledging the power of humans to determine what is "species appropriate".

31 Comments:

Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Abandoned by reason, animal rights activists should be euthanized for crimes against humanity. The natural state of madmen is to wallow in their own piddle. We are fools to lend them credence when their true fate is obscurity.

Even Germans, whose country is home to more than a few moonbats, must roll their eyes over killing a fury little creature, but, perhaps, there is an appeal to develop an uber species of polar bears.

What is species appropriate for holding wild animals in captivity anyway? but a chance to bring understanding and empathy for their plight, and possibly to help promote preserving what is still wild.

The society must kill the heretic.

3/21/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

Kill a bear born in a zoo because it's not wild? Will hand feeding make him grow up to be a dangerous polar bear? Egad.

3/21/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

DDT was banned to prevent the extermination of the Bald Eagle. Since then, 93,000,000 people have died of malaria. Malaria was practically wiped out by DDT before DDT was banned.
http://www.junkscience.com/malaria_clock.htm

If you told an animal rights activist that Bald Eagles would go extinct tommorrow unless he agreed to sacrifice 93,000,000 humans, I wonder what he'd say?

I suspect the zoo-guy would be okay with that.

3/21/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Those people are having FUN!
Next thing you know, they'll bring CHILDREN into this!
This is an OUTRAGE!
(AND, the damnED Bear is having FUN TOO!!!)

3/21/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The challenge now is to try to imagine how they will top this absurditiy with a better one.

3/21/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

"He thought he saw an albatross that
fluttered 'round the lamp.
"He looked again and found it was a
penny postage stamp.
"'You'd best be getting home,' he
said, 'The nights are very damp.'"

Lewis Carroll

If it's nonsense, even stupidity, you want, whay not choose the best?

3/21/2007 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger MrKufr said...

Four legs good! Two legs bad.

3/21/2007 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If we could get two of them bears, we could stick em in a wagon and make it past the teacher TO blow them up in a pre-school!
COOL!
ROP

3/21/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Desert Rat said,
Now here is an interesting piece from the Weekly Standard.

IT IS A WONDERFUL CASE of man-bites-dog, but don't expect to see this headline in any newspaper:
"Bush administration's efforts to protect women through United Nations action thwarted by European Union."

Yet that is exactly what happened at the recently concluded Commission on the Status of Women, where the United States' intention to help women (in this case, girls) ran afoul of dominant feminist orthodoxy. The Bush administration introduced a resolution condemning the killing of girls, because they are girls. Such acts include old-fashioned infanticide, the kind of cultural practice the British tried to stamp out in the bygone days of colonial India, as well as the evermore popular use of modern sonogram technology in order to identify and eliminate girls before they are born--what is called sex-selective abortion.

And this is where the United States met the opposition of the European Union and its allies: abortion-on-demand orthodoxy seems to mean women's total freedom to choose, even if that choice eliminates the next generation of women, for the very reason that they are women.

The Bush administration's concern about infanticide and sex-selective abortion is not exaggerated; although numbers are difficult to establish, most demographers believe that millions of girls are now killed in this manner every year. The British medical journal Lancet recently surmised that there were perhaps 100 million "missing" girls in the world, girls not allowed to grow into women.
"

So, since I'm opposed to the killing of innocent people, on general principle, and have always thought of fetuses as "people", this was interesting news, to me.

100 million dead baby girls world wide, 20 million babies in the US, a Genocide without precedent in world history. I was all ready to climb a soap box.

But then I saw who did the study:
The British medical journal Lancet the same folks that thought maybe 600,000 people have gone "missing" in Iraq and can be assumed dead.

Never mind, there is no problem with abortion, if Lancet is the source of the data.
Right or Wrong?

3/21/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Rainbow Six captured these lunatics perfectly....they want to kill everyone except a chosen few.

Tom Clancy a prophet???

3/21/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

If we view activism as an "ism" it could be defined as "rule by the most passionately committed but the least self interested." In this political system legitimacy comes from passionate commitment to an issue where the activist lacks any real reason for acquiring this commitment. In fact if passion overwhelms reason itself it is merely proof of extra commitment to the cause.

If you work for an oil company and support Oil exploration your view is tainted by obvious self interest (even if you would not profit directly from the drilling). If you work for an oil company and passionately oppose exploration you have double credibility--you are taking a position that seems against your self interest (even if the value of your own oil holdings increase as a result--see any billionaire who wants to raise your taxes).

Anyone who has an actual reason to learn about the nuts and bolts of an issue, and to have gained practical experience by working in the field, can have their opinion rejected if it doesn't conform--they are "self interested."

This applies to foreign policy. If a military intervention is in the national interest it is automatically "bad."

This is an attempt to give an evolutionary advantage to fools but I think it will fail in the long run.

3/21/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Wretchard, speaking truth to power, I love it.

3/21/2007 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa... I hate to be contrary here, especially because Albrecht's stances in general are radical and in many cases appalling. But: It's not accurate to say Albrecht said the bear must be killed because he'll be raised by humans. The stories saying that are not properly quoting him.

There is discussion of this in Ann Althouse's post on this topic. In summary: He was protesting the killing of another animal at another zoo, and was sloppily drawing an analogy to the rationale in that case to this one by saying (and I paraphrase, because the Google translation from German leaves much to be desired) 'If the Leipziger zoo were exempt from punishment for killing a baby bear because it could not be raised, that logic means that the Berlin zoo must kill baby bear Knut'.

Here's the link to the story in it's original German at Faz.net (Note: They're not the ultimate origin of the story, they're merely as far back as I can trace it):

Faz.net Knut story

... and the followup stories:

From The Daily Mail

And from The BBC

And here's the ugly Google-lation from German to English of the relevant part of the story:

"The reason: Hand raising has behavior disturbances with animals to the consequence, this suffering by the killing was prevented.

For Albrecht that was a contradiction. If the Leipziger zoo were allowed to kill a bear baby because of the damages exempt from punishment, then nevertheless also the raising of bottle of Knut would have to be illegal? Thus he sued the citizen of Berlin zoo and explained opposite the pictures “that after the logic of the Leipziger zoo also in Berlin the bear baby had to be killed."


I think Albrecht's stance that human "contamination" renders a wild animal unable to survive in the wild is bunk. Species reintroduction programs that involve hand-raising animals from birth would be rendered moot if that were the case, and they're anything but. So calling such hand raising "not species-appropriate" frankly shows his ignorance. "Appropriate" is a matter of opinion, not a hard-and-fast fact, and if the animal survives and thrives, then what matter is it how it was fed?

In spite of that, I'm forced to admit that the story of him saying the Berlin zoo "Must kill Knut" is a misrepresentation of what he actually said. He may have put it sloppily, and BILD (the original source of the story, from whom FAZ.net, BBC, and then everyone else took it) misused his quote something awful, but he's not guilty of saying "execute the cub because humans are raising it".

------


Wretchard is right about one thing: Animal Rights activists attempt to fill a role more based in superstition than anything else. It is crazy how much anthropomorphization is done in regards to animals; for example, I was bowled over by an anti-fishing ad with a picture of a hook in a man's mouth and a caption reading something like "Hurts, doesn't it?". The idea is that fishing is cruel and inflicts pain. Well, talk about an overgeneralization! Species of popular freshwater gamefish like smallmouth and largemouth bass eat crayfish and other prey fish like Bluegill (called "bream" in some parts of the US, don't know the names outside the country) with spiny fins. Getting their mouths punctured and pricked is a common occurance for those predators. So the idea that the sensation is excessive pain is one based on emotion and projection of how a human would feel. Or in other words, it's an anthromorphization. Disregarding the reality of a fish's existence and projecting a human emotion over them is far closer to superstition than science, and irrational to boot. I can't comment on the ursurpation of the role of authority for awesome phenomenon by such activists; Wretchard has already done so far better than I have. But I can highlight the irrationality. It's so evident, it's hard to miss.

3/21/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

The British medical journal Lancet recently surmised that there were perhaps 100 million "missing" girls in the world, girls not allowed to grow into women."

I don't know how quick I'd be to trust the Lancet's estmiates anymore. Although, if they're off by the same order of magnitude as their critics claim of their Iraq numbers, it's STILL 10 million 'missing' girls. . .which is pretty darn substantial.

3/21/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The solution is simple,all animal rights activists must be returned to the wild in small troops.The are not to be allowed none of the appurtenances of civilisation,no tools,no fire and no clothes.The over-civilising of animal rights activists has gone on long enough,it is utter barbarity to make them walk the streets of our cities wearing factory made jeans and an iPod stuck to their ears.
Free the animal rights activists now!

3/21/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Pete, are they going to establish a season on them in case of overbreeding? What if they become used to society and start rummaging in dumpsters, are we going to trap them or shoot them? Inquiring minds want to know.

3/21/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

If he really cared about species-appropriateness, he would recommend not just killing the unwanted cub in some humane way, but letting it starve to death as occurs routinely in nature.

It's almost too crazy to contemplate. Animal rights activists often say humans should enjoy no unique status on this planet, but by relying on anthropocentric notions such as "rights."

3/21/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Leftist post-modernism is adrift without a rudder. Just listen to the gibberish--these people are not competent to clean after themselves.

Total incompetence--and they want to rule the world!

3/21/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Leave it to the Germans to come up with the final solution to the Polar Bear problem.

3/21/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Introduce the activists into the wilderness.Good idea. We have re-introduced wolves here. And we have been talking about grizzlies. Maybe they can all introduce themselves to one another.

3/21/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

So, we're told the polar bear cub must die.

Does this mean we must kill all dogs too? And all cats? Horses? Cattle? Chickens? Pigs?

3/21/2007 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

100,000 years ago, none of these effete wackos would have survived the sabertooth, either.

Maybe they should think about killing themselves, as well.

3/22/2007 03:07:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

I wonder what the Grizzly Man would think of this?
Too bad nobody can ask him.

3/22/2007 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Baillie said...

Pyrthroes:

You gave me the best laugh of the morning quoting that. I read it many a time growing up and to my own children, and you're right - there are times when only the very best nonsense will do.

:D

3/22/2007 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Total incompetence--and they want to rule the world!

Before you get too smug you might want to consider just how much of the world these freaks already control. And the parts they are not controlling they are getting closer faster than we are to controlling.

3/22/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I like the Florida license plate:

PROTECT WILDLIFE!!

If an animal only survives because it's protected by Man, in what sense is it "wild"? Seems more like a pet to me.

3/23/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Roderick said...

To the best of my knowledge, the "father" of the animal rights movement is Peter Singer, who wrote Animal Liberation many years ago. Considering his disturbing call for putting down the severly infirm, it is no coincidence that he would want animals "liberated."

The hard-core "animal rightist" does not want to elevate other animals to the level of Man, but, rather, wants to lower Man to the level of other animals. That way, infanticide and destruction of the very elderly can be justified on the basis of a twisted version of "Natural Law."

3/23/2007 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/23/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

..ignored bear cub must be killed..

Good. Let's apply that standard to all these activists and shoot them dead

3/23/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Isolda said...

If the zoo broke any animal welfare right by feeding the cub is questionable. BUT the real underlying problem is that the mother bear acted in an unnatural way perhaps for being in a circus. These places of torture, circus, should be banned, completely eliminated. They are the first breaking animal welfare rights.

3/24/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger USpace said...

This 'animal rights' activist must think that animals being captive is also not 'species appropriate', but we won't hear him advocating killing all animals in zoos.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
kill ALL captive animals
.

3/24/2007 03:06:00 PM  

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