December 24, 2017

"How can we expect the world's poor to look after animals if we are slaughtering badgers."

I was puzzled by that comment, which appears at a Daily Mail article that's not about killing badgers but tickling gorillas — "The giggling gorilla! Adorable moment orphaned ape laughs as she's tickled by one of her rescuers." (Drudge sent me there. I guess we're supposed to be amazed that a nonhuman animal can laugh, but I don't think tickling is a very benevolent way to get someone — human or non- — to laugh for the camera.)

I had to search at The Daily Mail to find out what's going on about badgers, and I came up with this from a few days ago: "More than 19,000 badgers have been killed across the UK in the last three months as part of Government-backed cull to stamp out TB [in cattle]."

So, oddly enough, I'd say: kill the badgers and don't tickle the gorillas.

46 comments:

David Begley said...

Serious question. How many real badgers in Wisconsin? Or wolverines in Michigan?

Michael K said...

Badgers are a big thing in Britain. When I first visited in 1977 the BBC had a program called "Badger Watch" which consisted of a camera focused on the burrow of a badger. Once in a while the badger would poke its head out. That was the BBC version of prime time TV.

Remember, Tony Blair killed most of the cattle in England to stamp out the prion disease of "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy," for which there was no test. Labour banned fox hunting and killed all the cattle. That will fix those deplorable Tory voting farmers !

Ron said...

This could be the new Althouse catch phrase!

AllenS said...

Over the years, I've seen quite a few badgers on my farm in Star Prairie WI. Even when you don't see them, you'll notice large holes dug when they are trying to eat a pocket gopher for breakfast.

sinz52 said...

The great apes (chimp, gorilla, orangutan) are the only other species besides Homo Sapiens that find pleasure in being tickled.

MaxedOutMama said...

The little gorillas need social interaction and touch, or they will grow up insane. They are very social animals. So the tickling is done not for the sake of making the little creature do something for the cameras, but rather a normal caretaker/gorilla interaction was being filmed.

Studying the great apes can be an uncomfortable exercise for many, because it proves how much of our emotional/interpersonal behavior is instinctual.

traditionalguy said...

Many Badgers are small, sneaky and dangerous., such as Russell
Wilson.

MaxedOutMama said...

RE the badgers "Cattle in high-risk areas are also being tested on a six-month basis and badgers living near areas of high TB infection will be vaccinated against the disease."

I'm wondering how they vaccinate the badgers? That would be an interesting inquiry. Presumably someone stakes out the dens and shoots them with sedative when they emerge at night, then gives them the shots.

Bovine TB can cause TB in humans - it does so often enough. Certainly in humans working around cattle infected with bovine TB, and any other humans who are exposed to either fresh milk or the cattle themselves.

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and I have been up and working for several hours, but now I am going to continue through the rest of the day with an intellectual puzzle lodged in my brain: what kind of human being thinks it is a good idea to have TB-infected animals infecting humans? Was that individual not tickled and cuddled enough as toddler?

james james said...

From Caddyshack:

Sandy: Carl I want you to kill all the gophers on the golf course

Carl Spackler: Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers they'll lock me up and throw away the key.

Sandy: Not golfers, you great fool. Gophers. THE LITTLE BROWN, FURRY RODENTS.

Carl Spackler: We can do that. We don't even need a reason.

- james james

Quaestor said...

No, its kill the badgers and keep tickling the gorillas.

MaxedOutMama said...

David Begley - At least 5,000 badgers in WI. Probably considerably more. Population does not seem to be declining much, if any.
http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/1999/dec99/badgers.htm

The main reason why they don't know:
https://news.cals.wisc.edu/2013/03/25/a-badger-study-sheds-light-on-the-elusive-animal-behind-the-mascot/


As for MI, as far as I know, there aren't any wolverines there:
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/michigans_wolverine_is_dead_no.html


George M. Spencer said...

“Badger'll turn up some day or other—he's always turning up—and then I'll introduce you. The best of fellows! But you must not only take him AS you find him, but WHEN you find him.”

The Wind in the Willows

Quaestor said...

I gather that badgers (the Eurasian species and not our considerably larger and less common North American variety) are a reservoir of the pathogen that causes TB in cattle. This makes me wonder if the badgers harbor the pathogen without getting sick themselves, like a bunch of quadruped Typhoid Marys.

A mustelid cousin of the badger, the domestic polecat, aka ferret, can catch the common cold from their human owners or anyone infectious who handles them. Once contracted a rhinovirus infection is often fatal to ferrets, which is why pet stores display ferrets behind plexiglass — not to protect the customers, but to protect the ferrets from coughs and sneezes.

EDH said...

It looked to me that in the one instance when the tickling stopped, the baby gorilla insisted on being tickled again.

Like human children, when you're young maybe some things never "get old", until you get older.

Fernandistein said...

Michael K pontificated...
"Badger Watch" which consisted of a camera focused on the burrow of a badger. Once in a while the badger would poke its head out.


That is a dishonest misrepresentation.

That was the BBC version of prime time TV.

Boy, it sure was!

Rob McLean said...

I'd say: kill the badgers

That's what Ohio State did. (Let's see how they do in the Orange Bowl.)

Hagar said...

Dachshund is German for badger dog. They are bred to go after badgers in their burrows and kill them, so badgers have been considered a pest animal for a long time.

Bad Lieutenant said...

so badgers have been considered a pest animal for a long time.

Plus, lovely fur, innit?

tcrosse said...

we don't need no steenking badgers.

Annie C said...

Well, there are buckeyes in Ohio, but they are pretty much useless nuts.

Fritz said...

Hagar said...
Dachshund is German for badger dog. They are bred to go after badgers in their burrows and kill them, so badgers have been considered a pest animal for a long time.


Which illustrates the difference between the European and the American badger perfectly. An American Badger would make short work of the fiercest Dachshund.

Ann Althouse said...

"Like human children, when you're young maybe some things never "get old", until you get older."

I remember tickle fights and lots of pretty sadistic tickling. I remember struggling to breathe, struggling to say "stop," saying "stop" and being mocked "If you don't like it why are you laughing" and "stop laughing." It was brutal.

Ann Althouse said...

To my eye, the tickling of the baby gorilla looked too aggressive and it was being held, so it could not escape. I think restraining and animal and tickling it isn't right, even if the reflex of laughing happens.

Ann Althouse said...

"It looked to me that in the one instance when the tickling stopped, the baby gorilla insisted on being tickled again."

I see the baby repeatedly trying to protect itself and fight the hand away.

rhhardin said...

We don't need no stinkin' badgers.

rhhardin said...

Tickling by girlfriends ought to be sexual harassment.

Ann Althouse said...

"Tickling by girlfriends ought to be sexual harassment."

Yeah, try tickling your coworkers. It will be regarded as sexual harassment.

Once you realize how sexual tickling is, maybe you'll think twice about tickling gorillas.

tcrosse said...

Not many of those cattle die of old age.

Curious George said...

Slaughtering Badgers? I expected this to be about the Ohio State game.

bagoh20 said...

What is disappointing is the cold and callous way we simply skip over the murder of billions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It's a genocide, and we ponder doing it like some kind of wonderful accomplishment. Respect life - all life.

Hagar said...

An American Badger would make short work of the fiercest Dachshund.

I would not bet on it. Dachshunds are bred so that the badger cannot get a good bite at their throats and properly bred dachshunds are indeed fierce.
They are bred to kill and will attack and kill anything that moves in their territory. They have even been known to kill horses and cattle by hamstringing them so that they bled to death.

bagoh20 said...

Somebody sounds a bit gargalaphobic.

Lets not add another common human interaction to the growing list of horrible atrocities. We have enough to hate and litigate about.

Big Mike said...

I thought destroying badgers was the job of the Ohio State football team.

Bob said...

That last sentence has got to be one you never thought you'd write!

rhhardin said...

"Word has somehow got around that a split infinitive is always wrong. This is of a piece with the sentimental and outworn notion that it is always wrong to strike a lady. Everybody will recall at least one woman of his acquaintance whom, at one time, or another, he has had to punch or slap. I have in mind a charming lady who is overcome by the unaccountable desire, at formal dinners with red and white wines, to climb up on the table and lie down. Her dinner companions used at first to pinch her, under cover of the conversation, but she pinched right back or, what is even less, defensible, tickled. They finally learned that they could make her hold her seat only by fetching her a smart downward blow on the head. She would then sit quietly through the rest of the dinner, smiling dreamily and nodding at people, and looking altogether charming."

Thurber on tickling.

bagoh20 said...

I tickled a beaver once, and it seemed to like it.

Meade said...

Leave it to bagoh.

Riley said...

And the world's poor had been looking after their animals so much better since Ringling folded their tents. Now all that progress will be lost.

MrCharlie2 said...

The world's poor,
who care for animals,
do their job,
but ignore the badgers.

Mac McConnell said...

I wonder if they hunt badgers or trap them. These guys are missing a huge opportunity, can you imagine the market in Wisconsin for stuffed badgers? Plus tourism hunting of badgers.

Quaestor said...

I see the baby repeatedly trying to protect itself and fight the hand away.

A juvenile gorilla (a baby is smaller still and a suckling) is considerably stronger than an adult human. If the gorilla shown in the video really was trying to protect itself from the tickling hand — well, remember that bit in the original Star Wars? It would be a case of "let the Wookie win".

Tickling sessions are the most common play observed among juvenile and infant African great apes. Orangutans being less social don't appear to engage in tickle play in the wild, mainly because the juvenile often have only their mothers for company, who are too preoccupied with food-related matters for much playtime.

In the early 1970s Ernst von Glasersfeld invented an artificial language for ape-human communication called Yerkish after the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Yerkish was structured around a lexicon of abstract symbols arranged in a syntactical order from left to right to form sentences of nouns and verbs. The symbol meaning Please was used to indicate a request followed by a verb a noun with an implied modifier, such as [PLEASE] [MAKE] [WINDOW OPEN]. At first [WINDOW OPEN] was two distinct lexigrams, [WINDOW] and [OPEN], but the anthropoid participants in the study seemed to have no grasp of the adjective as a standalone concept, consequently, new lexigrams combining nouns with modifiers were introduced.

Another important sentence prefix was [MAY], which asked permission before an action, such as [MAY] [KEN] (a researcher) [EXAMINE] [LANA] (one of the apes in the study). There were four possible responses, [YES], [YES HURRY] indicating something expected with pleasure, [NO] and [BIG NO] indicating fear or anger prompted by the request. It turned out that asking permission first made a tremendous difference in ape/human relations. Without Yerkish, an ape in need of an injection first had to be tranquilized with a banana doped with Thorazine, but if a trusted handler such asked [MAY] [SUE] [GIVE] [SHOT] [LANA] the answer was often [YES], probably because Yerkes has a policy of generously rewarding cooperation. After the shot Lana and the other apes would make a request, typically [PLEASE] [GIVE] [M&M] [LANA]. However, when the apes were juveniles and playful the request for a reward would very often be [PLEASE] [GIVE] [TICKLE] [LANA].

Quaestor said...

Yerkish revealed that at least some apes engage in Schadenfreude.

The original study involved three apes — two chimps, and a bonobo. The apes were mostly confined to plexiglass enclosures equipped with a window opened by remote control, a sleeping loft, a food dispenser, a water dispenser, a panel of large buttons labeled with Yerkish lexigrams, and a display monitor that could show videos, slides, or Yerkish symbols displayed as the various buttons were pushed. The enclosures were arranged so that all the apes could see each other, and there was a common area where the apes could mutually socialize.

At one point in the study Lana was asked if Ken could give a shot to Ben, a young male bonobo, using the standard Yerkish formal request: (on Lana's display) [MAY] [KEN] [GIVE] [SHOT] [BEN]. The reply came quickly. [YES HURRY].

We all know girls like to inflict a little suffering on their boyfriends. What we didn't know before was how long-standing that trend is in the evolution of higher primate sexuality.

n.n said...

Cats do remarkably accurate mimicry of a crying human baby. So, throw out the baby, and keep that cat.

tcrosse said...

We don't badge no needing stinkers.

FullMoon said...

2010 : Dem Congressman resigns over vicious tickling

Congressman Massa Explains Speaking to Glenn Beck, Massa sighed, "Now they are saying I groped a male staffer." He conceded, "Yeah I did. Not only did I grope him. I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy. You can take anything out of context."

Snark said...

Badger culling is a huge public debate in the UK. And, for an issue of science, one that is rather amazingly emotional, political and media influenced. The cultural forces analogous to the left and the “elites” in the US are firmly against it, so you get a lot of coverage that takes the inadvisability of culling as a given. Queen guitarist Brisn May is a huge patron of the cause and he regularly savages pro badger control people as evil, ignorant monsters. I’m out of that loop now by choice, but it was pretty amazing to see how unhinged and unkind he would get.