Originally posted by Cruciform
Have you ever worked on a farm? Or regularly worked in an environment with guard dogs?
I've seen people who were seriously injured by both. Horses that attempt to kill anyone who comes within reach of their hooves and teeth. Dogs who can only be approached by one person. Cows that are nervous and if even the slightest noise scares them, kick you, and trample you into the dirt.
You should NEVER let a child near any animal without direct supervision, even something as small and "harmless" as a cat.
If the tiger has been socialized he's no more dangerous to the average person than an aggressive breed of dog, yet people often leave their kids alone with the family pet all the time. Hell, people buy Dalmations for their kids because of the Disney movies, and they're one of the worst breeds to leave with small children.
I grew up working with large animals. Even docile, domesticated species are deadly in the right situations. Often unintentionally.
Just because a species is a predator does not make "attacks" predatory. They will do things to people that would not harm their own kind, yet do devastating damage to our flesh. A cuff to warn someone off, or a bite across the "scruff" to discipline.
So I reiterate. Putting the child within reach of a tiger, dog, or horse without proper safeguards in place is equally irresponsible.
I have never "worked" in an environment with large animals or on a farm. I have however had many experiences with different animals throughout my life and have picked up a little from that over the years as well as from other informed sources.
The only thing that I "contest" in your post is that you seem compare the danger of exposing a child to a tiger versus a large dog or horse equally.
This is where I say that it's an unfair to compare these animals together. Had you said iguana, alligator, croc, lion, llama, dingo, hyena, etc. I wouldn't have objected. But you are comparing distinctively a wild animal to domesticated ones.
I'm not saying that dogs and horses aren't dangerous, to the contrary they can be. They sure as heck ain't as dangerous as tigers!
By your explanation, with just proper training, we'd be able to have safe and tiger pets. I don't think so. Even the best and most experienced trainers will tell you that you can never trust them completely and you can't take stupid risks like exposing them to children or any other inexperienced persons.
The biggest flaw in your comparison is the particular choice or animals you chose: dogs and horses. If you just think of it statistically, the times humans have been in contact with tigers and been injured and the times humans have been in contact with dogs or horses and been injured, the numbers would surely show the difference clearly.
Humans have had long histories or having strong relationships with canines and equines. The reason for these species having been "chosen" is their high social adaptability. To accept the dominance of humans in their life. They were also adaptable enough to learn to interact with us enough to work together. This type of relationship just isn't seen with the large majority of other species, including large felines.
Sure some tigers can be taught to do tricks but it is completely against their nature to behave this way. Sooner or later it might and most likely will resort to their wild nature.
In both dogs and horses, the subordinates (beta and lower ranks) all answer to the alpha of the group. This very nature in these species are what made them so able to be what they are today. There are centuries of selective breeding in the horses and dogs we see today for those reasons, a far cry from the tiger found in zoos and private collections.
Having said all that, I do understand that you are trying to explain that dogs and horses can be just as dangerous to us. The truth is they can be and are sometimes. Almost 100% it's our fault through bad ownership or bad breeding selections.
I'm going to bed now, my head hurts.