March 20, 2007

"The zoo must kill the bear."

For his own good. Say the animal activists.

Kill him! Kill baby, Knut!

Oh, you think Knut is cute? You, human. Don't you understand what it means to be species-appropriate?

MORE: Here.

AND: Consider what the polar bear would do to the cute little baby seal:


An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I love how the activists state that bottle feeding an abandoned cub is "inhumane" (assuming the word is properly translated form the original German).

Just what would be humane? A lethal injection as they propose?

And yet,I will assume these same folks would be against this same treatment for a convicted murderer?

RogerA said...

Volokh is also running a thread on this:

Somehow I dont think that bottle feeding a cub is going to change the fact that the feeder is likely to become the feedee when cute knut becomes scary beary in a couple of years. I sure wouldnt take that bet.

But DAMN--that cub has cornered the cute market.

mean aunt said...

I can see how you wouldn't want to return him to the wild, but why not keep him in a zoo? Or are zoos more inhumane than killing him, too?

Joan said...

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I found this comment on the article too good to go unquoted:

There would be more point in giving the animal activists the lethal injection.

- Brian, Bournemouth, UK

Cheers' Rebecca (a not-yet-fat-then-slimmer Kirstie Alley) once wailed, "I'm too stupid to live!" Apparently, poor Knut is too cute to live, according to some people.

It's astonishing how much faith they are putting in nurture over nature. They are quite right when they say you can't domesticate a wild animal like a polar bear! So what are they worried about?

Anonymous said...
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Freder Frederson said...

Considering Ann's previously stated fear and hatred of polar bears, I would think she would be all for this.

Tully said...

There's hope for Knut yet. We domesticated people, didn't we?

Well, didn't we? ;-)

Freder Frederson said...

After living for two years in Germany, this doesn't surprise me in the least. The Germans are just a little off. They don't think like the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

"Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet."

Unbelievable. Are these people for real? (/rhetorical question)

Fen said...

Unbelievable. Are these people for real?

I would love to do a psych research paper on animal rights radicals. Bets that most were sexually abused as children.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

On second thought, I guess you could look at it as just a late term abortion. A very late-term abortion, mind you, but who are we to say where to draw the line?

Bad Penny said...

Why is that bear so unbelievably cute to us? Why do we humans have such a response to cute little critters? Can someone explain this to me?
I know why human babies are cute; it’s so we’ll put up with them. But bears?

XWL said...

Wanting to save a cute young furry animal seems exceedingly "humane", or at least human.

With regards to the cub being bottle fed, maybe the word they are searching for is, "inursine"?

And may Gaia save the animals from animal activists.

CB said...

If I'm not mistaken, the activists' position is grossly misrepresented in this article. The real issue is that if the bear is raised by humans, when it grows up it will be unable to interact with either humans or other bears, and will have to be kept in miserable isolation its whole life.

I read this on a Fark thread, so it must be true.

Positroll said...

In fact, nobody ever really demanded for the cub to be killed. The story was mostly made up by the tabloid BILD which misquoted the animal rights activist Albrecht and put his remarks out of context (he was basically trying to protest against the killing of a baby sloth by another zoo by making an analogy to this case, saying that the reasoning used to kill the baby sloth would require killing the polar bear cub too). Many newspapers - including Der Spiegel - fell for BILD's version.
(in German, but with lots of cute pics ...)

Richie D said...

it sounds like these activists speak before they think and then are too stubborn to change their opinion. I'm sorry, but I can't resist this quote: "But first ve kill moose and skwirl."

Brian Doyle said...

Oh come on. Do "the activists" really want this baby polar bear killed? Seems unlikely that there would be unanimity among them. And if there were, wouldn't there have to be a better reason than the ones given in this semi-ridiculous article?

Or maybe animal activists are actually out to kill as many cute little animals as they can.

XWL said...

Cute babies is a nearly universal mammalian trait and suggests that the response to infants of any mammalian species by other mammals crosses species boundaries.

Cats raising puppies, pigs raising goats, wolves raising humans, all happen from time to time (though wolf raised humans may only be legendary).

It's a combination of evolutionary psychology and cultural conditioning, I suspect.

When it comes to the concept of cute, it's best to look at Japanese culture. They have whole industries devoted to kawaii.

Part of the kawaii phenomenon is the art style known as super deformed, and it's a good illustration of the key to infant cuteness. Big heads, big eyes, little bodies, that's a common trait between most mammal infants (whereas baby crocs look like their adult counterparts only smaller, not so cute).

Here's the perfect antidote to finding baby bears cute.

Drew W said...

Perhaps this is the moment when the animal rights movement jumped the cub, so to speak.

In my view, one of the main reasons people get all hopped up for animal rights is that they've been charmed by all the cute animals -- especially the "charismatic megafauna"* -- that they watch on Animal Planet, The Discovery Channel, et al. They fantasize about being the saviors of those adorable fuzzy-wuzzies, and maybe someday, in a perfect world, peacefully coexisting with them and frolicking with them in a sylvan glade. It would be just like a big, comforting Health-Tex ad for grown-ups. But now comes this Teutonic animal-rights scold who wants to bump off the cutest little ball o' fur you ever did see. I'll bet there's some serious soul-searching going on today on yoga mats all across the country . . . nay, the world.

It's for people like this German animal-rights activist that my old friend Meryl Yourish instituted her now-notorious International Eat A Tasty Animal For PETA Day.

*Big animals that people like, such as bears, elephants, rhinos, dolphins, etc.

Joaquin said...

That cub must be killed in order to 'save' it.
Where did I hear that before?

Bad Penny said...

Thanks, xwl. That makes sense.

Jennifer said...

Do polar bears actually interact with each other? I mean, I know they do in Coca Cola commercials :), but I thought they were relatively solitary in the wild...?

Tibore said...

Ahhh... lucky I checked out Positroll's link before I hit "Publish" (My original post: "This has less to do with the bear and more to do with some concept of human "contamination" of wildlife"... oooops on my part...).

Anyway, yes, even with an atrocious web translation (funny excerpt: "In „the pictures “stood on it: „Sweet Knut is dead-squirted?" (sic)) it's fairly clear that Albrecht's quote is taken out of context.

Here's a very poor but servicebly translated quote:

"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."

Look, I'm just as prepared as the next guy to jump all over the silly notion that mere human presence somehow "contaminates" animals and renders them unable to survive in the wild (1. Animals are a lot more hardy than that, 2. There are cases of successful human raised animals being reintroduced to the wild; California Condor, anyone?). But that's just not the case here. I'm forced to admit that the guy's quote is being misused.

Superdad said...

"Or maybe animal activists are actually out to kill as many cute little animals as they can."

I think this might actually be the case. Think PETA and dumpster behind the grocery store and it becomes plausable.

A few years ago I was going to "rescue" two cats from the inappropriately named humane society. However, I soon realized that my application (yeap application) was bound to be rejected. The app. was five pages long and asked questions like, "how many hours a day will the cat be left alone." To which I responded, "however damn long I feel like leaving it alone."

In the end, I bought two cats from a pet store. Then are happy outside cats protecting my garden from the rabbits, chipmunks and squarells. The kids in the negborhood love them and play with them all the time. The cats the humane society would not give me are dead. Does any of this make sense?

BrianOfAtlanta said...

The zookeeper, who has watched the hand-rearing of two animals, said Knut will find life intolerable once bars inevitably come between him and his carer.

"Each time his keeper leaves him, and he can't follow, he will die a little."

All those poor, traumatized former cubs who grow up and are left by their mothers on some lonely ice floe. No wonder polar bears are such an antisocial species! It's a wonder their species didn't commit mass suicide eons ago.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Doesn't take long to debunk Ann.

Jennifer said...

Theo Boehm - Thanks!! That was great!

Tibore said...

Wow, Reality Check... nice kneejerk. So fast, and with a record for superficiality too...

The sources - The Daily Mail and the BBC - were the one's poorly quoting Albrect. You going to blame Ann for their blunder?

Doesn't take long for Reality Check to nitpick. Reality Check should consider checking reality sometime.

Ann Althouse said...

Who's debunking me? This story was on today. Are you saying the BBC has it wrong? I'm not doing my own research here.

TMink said...

No Ann, this is just Ann bad, Kos good. Second verse, same as the first. THe 122nd verse is the same as well.

In the original article there is the quote: "They argue that current treatment of the cub is inhumane." Actually, they are offended because the treatment is humane.

These folks hate humans and blame us for all the ills of the planet. They have a view of nature as wonderful and humanity as the great spoiler. So treating the bear cub with love, kindness, and grace must be bad, because those are all human traits.

The last I read about polar bears is how they are endangered because of global warming. So they want to kill a member of a superior species that they say is endangered in the wild because it has been contaminated by humans.

God help us.


RogerA said...

Perhaps someone could explain to RC the various types of blogs some of which just pull information for comment, some of which consist of strictly comment, and some of which mix the two. And apparently the most important purpose in RC's case: to provide a playground to act the fool, beclown ones self and get the notice one would not ordinarily get in a person-to-person human interaction.

Anonymous said...

This is the typical Althousian smear with plausible deniability.

Animal Activists are evil. Liberals are evil. Democrats are evil.

The proof?

cb and positroll's debunking followed by conservative psychologist trey tmink ignoring all of that and jumping right into the Animal Activists are evil theme.

Meme away!

(Ann are you planning on doing something about Cedarford's anti-gay, anti-semitic, jews worse than hitler stuff?)

MadisonMan said...

Ann, what's the story behind that Japanese YouTube with the girl wearing the seal hat and white coat that you added. (She sure got the attention of the Polar Bear) Is this some Japanese Version of Candid Camera?

RogerA said...

"Teacher Teacher--Cedarford hit me!"

Give me a break.

Ummm--while I found cedarford's comments crude and over the top, there IS that free speech thing going on. If Cedarford's comments offended you, you could always vote with your feet and not visit this site--but then who would give you any attention?

Anonymous said...

I'm just riffing on the calls to banninate reality check because he unfairly wins too many arguments by using things like links and facts, which ruins all the discourse on the blog.

It really is a shameful thread. It doesn't present you wingers in a very favorable light at all.

Anthony said...

That's weird. They did the same thing here with a couple of cubs called Klondike and Snow. The bears eventually get too aggressive -- not in a mean way or an "I'm going to eat you" way, they just don't realize how bad-ass they are -- to be in close proximity to humans, and are largely separated from them.

K & S even prey on their own fish in their habitat.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a difference between cedarford hit me and cedarford is espousing anti-gay, anti-semitic statements.

I would like Ann to understand what is happening in her threads and with her imprimatur.

XWL said...

BBC is pretty unreliable on many issues, but attacking the PETA crowd unduly and unfairly has not been part of their modus operandi.

Might it be within the realm of possibility (even part of some folks 'reality')? It's possible that this all stems from a misquotation/mistranslation of one activist who said something largely innocuous.

But given past performance by animal activist, it's hard to credit that viewpoint.

Maybe the original article is more full of 'truthiness' rather than the truth, or maybe the subsequent denial/clarification is just somebody caught saying something stupid trying to backtrack in the face of negative public opinion.

But, as always, everything ever posted here is clear evidence of right wing bias and illiberal thinking.

Fatmouse said...

RC, did you just oust yourself as a sock puppet, or have you advanced to Third Person status?

"Ann are you planning on doing something about..."

I love it! A classic lefty ploy - you get called out for being a jackass (re: the BBC said it, not Ann) and you immediately say, "Uh... look over THERE instead!"

Tibore said...

Reality Check won an argument? When he pulls off a take on Goodwin's law except for using "wingers" instead of "Hitler". Whatever.

If derangement syndrome displays and ignoring facts he so claims to cherish - such as the one about the original source messing the quotes up, not Ann Althouse - are a winning tactic, then I guess he's got a point. Otherwise, he's no more than just a small child jumping up and down looking for praise.

Fact: The original sources are who screwed this up. Fact: RC jumped on Althouse for the original sources' errors. Fact: RC looks for any excuse to make a lame snark and avoid content.

Those are facts.

Anyway to add killfiles to blogs? There's no point in wasting time with Reality Check's posts anymore. This is certainly the last time I'm going to devote any time to it.

At least Quxxo tried to be intelligent.

RogerA said...

RC--I hate to break this news to you, but last I heard espousing anti-gay or anti-jew positions (or for that matter, most anti-positions), while reprehensible and probably bigoted, isnt illegal. There have been quite a few threads on this very board where the issue of offending speech has been discussed, most recently the bongs 4 jesus, and the admit law school thing.

If you are offended by speech you dont like, then you can and should take some positive action to avoid being offended; Similiarly, it just may be that Professor Althouse values free expression more than the possible cost of offending your sensibilities. But, she is certainly capable of speaking for herself.

Positroll said...

BBC is pretty unreliable on many issues, but attacking the PETA crowd unduly and unfairly has not been part of their modus operandi.
As far as I understand it, the story was made up by BILD, copied by many German newspapers, including the online version of Der Spiegel; then the English and American media copied it too, again without checking its accuracy (the same happens the other way round often enough). Finally, the German newspaper FAZ decided to check the merits of the case and found them to be lacking. The funny thing is that everybody in Germany knows that BILD is completely unreliable - query how they got hooked that easily. Maybe because of cute Knut, maybe because this particular activist is known for having strange views ... BTW, the German watchblog is running the story, too ...

bill said...

You want cute? I give you deep fried bunny ears. I suggest you start with this introductory link to Michael Ruhlman and follow his links.

Cute animals are tastier.

TMink said...

In defense of Reality Check, he wrote an excellent post on global warming. It was reasonable, well written, and potentially persuasive. It was on this blog a few topics back. If you do not believe me, dig it up and read it. I think it was in a topic mentioning Al Gore. I stand by the statement, it was a fine post that contributed to the conversation until the last two sections that lapsed into Ann bashing. But nobody is perfect.

But on to the more typical: RC correctly identified me as a conservative who is a psychologist and stated that I was "jumping right into the Animal Activists are evil theme."

Evil? No. Foolish and self hating? You betcha!

But I appreciate the long awaited acknowledgment of my professional status. I recall that it was touch and go there for awhile, but I am happy that the truth has prevailed and I have been given official RC status as a psychologist, albeit one with dyslexia.

I would celebrate but I have to see a patient!


Fearless Leader said...

Y'know, polar bears are going extinct. Having a cuddly polar bear will make it a lot easier to get polar bear semen for artificial insemination of female polar bears.

Coincidentally, we have people living in DeForest who "collect" bull semen for a living.

Not a happy fact, but let's face it: Saving this little guy helps save the species.

Roger J. said...

I am probably going to regret this observation, but here goes: Obtaining polar bear semen must be one of the more dangerous occupations on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, polar bears are going extinct. Having a cuddly polar bear will make it a lot easier to get polar bear semen for artificial insemination of female polar bears.

Polar Bear Wanker is certainly an interesting addition to your resume.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that we covered this awhile back, but there is scant evidence that Polar Bears are going extinct. Some populations are down, others up.

But this cub is liable to spend his life in a zoo. How is that any worse than bringing in wild polar bears and forcing them to live like that? I would think that this one would have an easier time, given his experience with humans and that he has never had the chance to swim 100 miles to the next feeding station on some remote iceberg.

Eli Blake said...

Using their logic (that it is inhumane to raise an animal among humans, and the humane thing would be to kill it): I guess they will come out with a new version of 'Tarzan' next. In it, Jane does the 'humane' thing and shoots Tarzan.

Bruce Hayden:

Actually, there is plenty of evidence that polar bears are on the brink of becoming an endangered species. Overall populations have declined precipitously (that isn't a comment on how, just the fact that they have.)

KCFleming said...

If only they could reform the bear, teach him to be a vegan.

But if they cannot, he'd make an excellent hat.

michael farris said...

"Why is that bear so unbelievably cute to us?"

I'm assuming it's species memory from when human(ish) newborns were fur covered.

And the proportions, especially the tiny wittle shoulders and the big head (and/or feet)

In fact, I find furry little animals are usually more consistently cute than human newborns (not nearly enough hair and they tend towards expelling too many icky substances from too many holes too often).

LoafingOaf said...

TabithaRuth said...
I can see how you wouldn't want to return him to the wild, but why not keep him in a zoo? Or are zoos more inhumane than killing him, too?

Depends on the zoo, I guess. In theory I guess a polar bear could have a nice life in capitivity. But every polar bear I've ever seen in an actual zoo is clearly suffering. The last zoo I went to was last year, the the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and the first two animals I saw made me wanna start protesting the place on the spot. Two elephants standing on concrete with barely room to walk around. Then I looked at the polar bears, and one of them was just standing in one spot under the blistering sun for the whole 20 minutes I watched, and he was sorta moving the front part of his body back and forth as if he had completely gone insane. Which I'm sure he had.

Maybe there are zoos where polar bears and elephants are given conditions where they aren't suffering. There should be laws against the zoos that keep animals they're not properly equipped to. Going to the typical zoo may be fun for little kids, but anyone who can understand what's going on ought to be appalled.

AllenS said...

The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

Kirby Olson said...

Canadian polar bear populations are up 25% since 1950. Canadian government statistics: all over the web.

It's a problem because they are having to move out of their traditional territory and expand into more populated areas.

I think animal activists want human beings to have nothing to do with animals, and they privilege total autonomy (the wild). This is a consistent ideology.

It doesn't make any sense. Any species that gets saved is only going to get saved because people decide to save it. We run the show. If you want to save something you have to get the legislature to act on it. There is no truly wild land left in North America. If there is a park that's "wild" it's only because the legislature said so.

Animal activists have an absurd belief that nature can be somehow separate from humanity. The only hope for anything else to survive is stewardship.

KCFleming said...

Come on guys. Think furry hats, with a really cute face!

Anonymous said...

The Albuquerque zoo has a terrific polar bear enclosure.

But again, this whole article is a hoax! No one is really proposing killing Knut. Hoax guys! Just like Fox News and Ann Althouse normally propagates.

LoafingOaf said...

Fen said...
Unbelievable. Are these people for real?

I would love to do a psych research paper on animal rights radicals. Bets that most were sexually abused as children.

If we're gonna do psych research on people's attitudes towards animals, how about we start with the evil scum running the U.S. meat industry and the way they torture animals in the most sicko and twisted fashion one can imagine.

So a few animals rights activists go a bit far in the face of outrageous cruelty and suffering. It ought to be expected when millions of animals are needlessly tortured just so Americans can get more obese. The question is, when will America say enough is enough to the deranged people running the factory farms and outlaw their practices? Is the majority of America FOR REAL in abiding that? Or are they just burying their heads in the sand?

Ann Althouse said...

Deep fried bunny ears. That's brilliant! They look crispy, like potato chips. But maybe they're cartilege-y.

As for that Japanese TV clip. It is what it is. Click on it to read the YouTube page. Just some kind of entertainment. A woman dresses up as a baby seal and they see if the polar bear will try to attack. It does, and it's scary, even behind the glass wall. I put it up to remind you that polar bears, while cute, do eat cute baby seals. And to remind you about how Japanese TV is different.

dave™© said...

Day Six of Absolute Silence on the US Attorney scandal that's threatening to bring down the Bush Administration from the Blithering Idiot.

Of course, what would a "law professor" have to say about that? Let's stick to polar bears and seals.

dave™© said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Revenant said...

I'm seriously starting to think that dave is a right-winger deliberately trying to make lefties look bad.

Someone should tell him not to bother. We've got Freder and Reality Check.

LoafingOaf said...

I put it up to remind you that polar bears, while cute, do eat cute baby seals.

Yes, polar bears eat baby seals because that's how nature designed them and they have no choice. For thousands of years, polar bears and seals have survived just fine despite this relationship, because it is natural.

We should be reminded that human beings, while often nice, also slaughter seals, including cute baby seals. They have no real reason for doing so, outside of money-making, and it is purely by choice. Yet however many hundreds of thousands they slaughter each year in barbaric fashion, they never seem to say that is enough, let's leave them alone.

The human being is the animal that is cruel to the seal. The polar bear has no choice and does not kill thousands at once - only what it needs to survive.

LoafingOaf said...

If the post contains links to erroneous information, the blogger ought to update it and correct the misleading information.

Tibore said...

No, I don't think so Revenant. dave™©'s simply stupid and incoherent. He can't build a thoughtful statement, so he resorts to the "F" and "C" insults to our hostess.

I vote for deletion and banning.

Charlie Eklund said...
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Charlie Eklund said...

Any man who calls a woman...any effin' c-word, as Dave has here today, is reprehensible in the extreme. To pair that epithet with an accusation of misogyny on the part of the target of his vile insult is truly odious.

Cedarford said...

I read the link, and like Joan, I thought "Brian the Brit" who suggested that the best resolution to the situation was to give the animal activist extremists the needle - was pricelessly wise.

Like with discovery that PETA kills scads of inconvenient animals that are "off message" to their political activity, the Germans involved are Far Left, Greener than Green. That have formed their own extremist wing that comes from an extremist, rigid ideology.

They are so into themselves they cannot grasp how easily the rest of society intuitively ferrets out their callous, lockstep idiocy.

Animals in zoos live longer. They educate people about the glory in nature and the need to preserve it. It is one thing to read about endangered species or just everyday wildlife - it is another to see them living and breathing in person and sense kid's determination that this kind of beauty shall not disappear from the Earth because of habitat loss or because animal rights kooks of the most extreme nature want zoos banned, humans forbidden to go in wildlife preserves and parks, and the only animals allowed to live those that unwittingly meet such as the German nut's rigid ideological and emotional needs.

Hint for the Germans involved:

I suspect most of you are childless by choice. You transfer your ambitions and starved emotions onto animals and a certain "ordering" of them consonant with your universe. You seek to kill what you don't accept. You need to marry, settle down, have a family to reclaim your humanity and form a rational love of the creatures of the Earth.
You are ignorant of the great work zoos are doing in endangered species preservation - maintaining breeding populations - and raising public awareness. You are unaware that many endangered species - whooping cranes, Siberian cranes, Giant Pandas, black-footed ferret, American Condor, certain equine breeds - have been brought back from the brink by a combination of zoos hand-raising, creating a scientificly robust gene pool for breeding, habitat restoration, and raising public awareness. If you want to do some good, spend your money on stopping habitat loss.

Ann Althouse said...

70 comments? What on earth are you people talking about in here? I hope it's Japanese television.

Anonymous said...

Heavy petting.

Fen said...

So a few animals rights activists go a bit far in the face of outrageous cruelty and suffering.

More than that. There's displacement and irrational behavior. So I'm wondering if a significant number of PETA peeps are protecting helpless animals because they were helpless to prevent the abuse they suffered as children.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Speaking of cute dead animals, let's talk Abu Gonzo, or as George calls him, "Fredo". Catch David Iglesias' NYT Op Ed?

Understand the case yet?

Care to comment?

Tibore said...

"Speaking of cute dead animals..."

... and then tune out, because RC is just trying to hijack the thread.

Not your blog, RC. Not your place to choose topics.

TMink said...

RC wrote: "I think there is a difference between cedarford hit me and cedarford is espousing anti-gay, anti-semitic statements."

We agree. If he had hit you it would hurt. We must allow names to hurt us for them to have impact. Fists employ physics and take the choice out of the matter.


Unknown said...

I do not think that there should be animals in the zoo's in the first place. And i know many people would disagree with me, But what I am saying is this: these animals that you say are vicious and should be killed, are not in there natural habitat are they? The answer is no. They were not brought up here, so this place that they have been taken is limited to what they can do. They can not roam around it is just unnatural for them therefore how can you expect them to live like this? I wonder? It was us, humans who let led these kind of animals to this state! We have done much wrong and been very foolish!!!

From Ella
11 yrs old

sasxx said...

its stupid killing the bear , people bring humans up and not all turn bad , most of the time its how they have been brought up and the people in the zoo are making a big effort and trying to keep his life nice so why would the bear turn bad , and its just god damn murder the bear should be kept and if it does something wrong well at least its had a chance to live and people shouldn't be complaining about zoo cause at least it safe and it very likely the bear would of died where it was born so they might as well had killed it .