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Old 02-13-04, 02:31 AM   #76 (permalink)
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Anyone fimilar with Daniel Bennet? I was just on Dr. Fry's website and he said the his guy did a study into the sustainablity of wild harvesting of ball pythons and savannah monitors and found it to be totally sustainable. Interesting. I would like to find a copy of this study. If I do I'll post a link.
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Old 02-13-04, 08:29 AM   #77 (permalink)
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I responded to this on Clark's forums but I'll add it here too.

Bennet is one of (Possibly THE) most educated and respected field biologists in the world, he's done some truly amazing work with varanids which automatically takes him into contact with other species. There aren't all that many people, even well respected ones, where I accept anything they have to say at face value, even if it contradicts established beliefs or avaliable circumstantial evidence- Bennet is one of them though.
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Old 02-13-04, 08:52 AM   #78 (permalink)
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Quote:
After the 3rd or 4th try, I'm sure they are learning something about what works, I don't think we should just "sit and wait".
From my personal experiences dealing with similar situations in the United States, it's entirely possible to become publicly active before they make their entire agenda known to the voting masses. Contact the assorted news media and approach them with the idea of stories which are both truthful and supportive of the hobby. Take a human interest angle (people like seeing photos or video of large snakes) and use it as a platform from which you can express additional support for the concepts you know to be true.

I am under the impression that at least a few individuals or groups do traveling educational programs, right? Invite a news crew with some cameras to one of your shows, get some shots of appreciative second graders learning about the natural world and be sure to mention to both the kids and the reporter that "Reptiles are an important part of the natural world and it's important for children to learn that they're nothing to be afraid of and the safe way to approach them. There's a lot of social stigma attached to reptiles and their owners and it's time that the truth about their suitability was known." toss in a statistic about how many kids are eaten by their pet dogs every year versus injured by a reptile then add something along the lines of "Reptiles are also an intrinsic part of the ecosystem, we feel it's important to educate kids about their role in the wild so that they can continue to fight the dangers to wild populations such as; habitat destruction and collection for the meat and skin trade. The pet industry has long been one of the groups which provides primary financial support for protection of suitable habitat and ensuring that these animals remain safe in the wild. If the wild populations are in danger or being threatened, it impacts the animals we love and endangers our ability to keep them." then insert a statistic about donations from the private sector and the pet industry involving an impressibe dollar amount which has gone to habitat preservation. Stress that cats and dogs are problem species and the fact that herpers don't want herps to end up in the same situations and the dedication to education shown by the herping community.

Take the fight to your enemy, hit them first and hit them hard. If there's enough interest and enough repetition of a message which extolls the positive aspects of the herp trade AND makes it clear that herpers are in it to educate others, then they'll have a hard time pushing their propaganda. The average voting population has no real basis for making a decision on this issue, if it comes down to a matter of public support, the masses will accept whatever they are told first if it appears to come from a reliable source. They don't know Laidlaw or his type and if he comes across as someone in a position to know, they'd take whatever he might say and believe it as being truthful. The trick is to give them something else to believe first.

I know it was mentioned in the section that Nett copied of another message board but it bears repeating- make sure whoever is acting as a spokesperson for the group is well spoken, well educated, clean cut and has some credentials which sound impressive to the average person off the street. No matter how correct a person might be, an unfortunate truth is that people judge others by their appearance and by their occupation, some of the most intelligent herpers I know are tattoo covered construction workers; the herping community looks solely at how well they know their herps, the general public doesn't. If you can choose a doctor or someone who owns or is employed at a zoo who can wear a suit and tie (or whatever the terms are for the equivalent for women- business clothing) and list off their years of experience or degrees, they're the best choice.
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Old 02-13-04, 09:52 AM   #79 (permalink)
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First of all I don't think the WSPA is our enemy. Their goal is to promote the welfare of captive animals, that is why a number of TARAS members belong to the organisation. I beleive their initiative in Canada however is misdirected. What they should be doing is fighting for proper legislation to deal with people who abuse and neglect their charges. Lets face it we have all been disgusted by conditions in a pet store at one time or another or, at times, the total lack of concern and knowledge by pet store owners or employess. As for the public eye, we have large shows twice a year in Calgary and Red Deer and Edmonton. As for using large constrictors to grab attention, this is a double edged sword. Every newbie to the hobbie sees a pic like that and wants a giant snake that on a bad day could easily kill them. Your right we need to be proactive, but the problem remains most herpers in our organisation do not want to put in the effort. We have a large ghost membership. If you get someone to come out to an executive meeting once or twice thats great. They have all kinds of great idesa and expect others to follow through on them with the time and work. What we need are more proactive members, not just poeple who take 5 minutes a day to complain on a forum. If you people are really concerned come out to the next local herp meeting in your region. Listen, learn whats going on, bring up relevant topics for discussion and when you suggest an idea be willing to follow up and work on it yourself. The first step in starting a ground swell to galvanize a national movement to protect our rights is to solidify local ties and work togethor locally and then to work togethor to network across the country.... I hope to see you at the next TARAS exec meeting if your reading this in my area.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:07 AM   #80 (permalink)
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The WSPA might not be an enemy, but this particular initiative and the particular individuals behind it certainly appear to be.

If a good organization is infected by negative individuals and a negative approach and way of thinking, sometimes it has ceased to be of any benefit.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:22 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Wise
As for using large constrictors to grab attention, this is a double edged sword. Every newbie to the hobbie sees a pic like that and wants a giant snake that on a bad day could easily kill them.

I am not sure about the other people in the reptile education and conservation business, but I am more likely to strangle a spectator on a bad day than any of the snakes in our display are. We choose our display animals very carefully, and they have proven to be even tempered and docile, to the point of tolerating what some would consider "abuse". Unlike me.

We dont allow people to hold the alligators, anacondas and even the turtles for obvious reasons, anyone who has seen us in person and stuck around long enough to listen to the explanations and descriptions of the reptiles in the display would know this.

I dont ask that everyone agree with what we do, but I wish the ones that dont would stay out of the way of the ones that do. We offer people who have never seen a snake the opportunity to interact with one in a controled situation. People can touch or hold a snake if they wish, without having to buy it first. We are not in the business of selling reptiles, but what we do goes a long way to promote reptile ownership to benefit those who are making a living breeding reptiles. We explain why giant pythons and alligators do not make good pets, and reccomend some species that do. If you take the time to browse through the literature, you will find information on CITES, import regulations, WAPPRITA, captive care of many types of reptile, venomous snakes including our prairie rattlers, native species, conservation efforts, etc.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:42 AM   #82 (permalink)
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The real reason that I suggested a large constrictor is because the media outlets need to be grabbed too... If you tell them you're going to do a show with some five inch geckos, then there isn't much for them to take photos of or get video footage of so they'll likely decline. If you inform them that you'll have a ten foot long burm, it's something which they might be inclined to show an interest in.

The entire point of the contact is to give the broader public a brief introduction into safe and responsible keeping and some of the wider issues which impact the industry, which includes handling or keeping the larger species.
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Old 02-13-04, 11:23 AM   #83 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Retic chic
[ If you take the time to browse through the literature, you will find information on CITES, import regulations, WAPPRITA, captive care of many types of reptile, venomous snakes including our prairie rattlers, native species, conservation efforts, etc. [/B]
I am not quite sure how this is relevant to what I said, but thanks I already have copies of CITES, WAPPRITA and more literature than most people could read in 10 years and I work at the Calgary zoo so I am well versed in conservation. Your missing my point, the one I made about fighting among ourselves, and instead working togethor. Perhaps I should have left the statement about large constrictors out b/c it seems to evoke a great deal of emotion in many people, but I have had to restrain many large snakes for various reasons over the years and beleive me most people are completely unaware of the awe inspiring power these animals have. Your right they do grab attention quickly but most people don't hear what you tell them about the animals not making good pets, they only see you standing there holding one. Monkey see monkey doo.
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Old 02-13-04, 11:49 AM   #84 (permalink)
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My comment about the literature was not directed at you personally, Pat. Rather, it was for the benefit of those who think we only bring out snakes and gators for the sensational effects.

I am aware of your position at the zoo, and can respect the fact that you also know the awesome force these snakes posess.

To go off topic, horses kill more people per year than all other animals combined, including exotics. Why is there no law to prevent the parents from buying a pony for the kids, just to have the kids cratered on the weekend? Is it because horses are considered to be more beautiful, desirable and noble than snakes? Twenty years in the livestock industry tells me there is something wrong wth the way people think.

The point you make about working together is wishful thinking. As long as there are differences of opinion and attitude within a club, and the members cannot accept the differences and move beyond that, there is no chance for solidarity to fight for a common goal.
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Old 02-13-04, 12:01 PM   #85 (permalink)
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Hmmm.. I guess It took me too long to hit submit. This was supposed to follow Seamus' last post. D'oh!


And herein lies one of the biggest hurdles...finding that middle ground that both satisfies the media's thirst for sensation and best illustrates our position. For what its worth Seamus, I like this approach much more than the other one you proposed! We may have to retain your services as master strategist as you seem to have all the angles! LOL

Whether the potential threat is imminent or simply brewing in the minds of extremists, the fact remains that we tend to sit on our thumbs and assume that all will be well in the end. Why not seize this opportunity and do something to improve the public's image of our chosen pastime? Too many of us, myself included, can talk, but have a hard time getting up and taking that walk to back it up.

Judging by the number of posts on this thread, there appears to be a bit of the groundswell Pat refered to in the making. Like it or not, we're all in the same boat, let's see if we can all row it in the same direction for a change. This isn't the first attempt to place unrealistic restrictions on the hobby, and it certainly won't be the last. If nothing else, we'll be better prepared when the next wingnut takes the podium.

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Old 02-13-04, 12:31 PM   #86 (permalink)
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Hi Sheila

Good to hear from you, hope all is well with you and the Scales zoo. Sorry I thought that comment was directed at me. Your right there is too much infighting, but it happens in every organisation, seems to be human nature. But I think we can put differences aside long enough to acheive our goals, we did it once already with the coalition lobby group here in Alberta and we did change the laws, and we had the AVMA, Humane society, both herp groups, Edmonton and Calgary, the Calgary and valley zoos on board for the lobby. I believe it can be done.
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Old 02-13-04, 12:59 PM   #87 (permalink)
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This is all great .....I am glad my heads up sparked some interest here...Its nice to see everyone coming together for a common goal for once ......Please lets keep it that way .........

But what we need are case studies on the points that Mr. Laidlaw made in his response to Lynne ......We need to be able to back our position up with hard core facts and statistics......If we all do some research on this I am sure we can compile an unbelievable amount of facts to disprove what Mr.Laidlaw is saying...... Instead of posting what we should do .....Lets start with some research and get some fact behind us 1st .......Please email me at .......

wrappedupinreptiles@abnet.ca

With any and everything u have found regarding this ......

Thanks
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Old 02-13-04, 01:06 PM   #88 (permalink)
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Seamus noted that as part of the education we should bring up the point that cats and dogs are problem species. Once that is mentioned we may as well go outside and start talking to the wall, because nobody else will be listening. Whether or not they are is irrelevant when trying to educate people. If you try to defend your position by undermining their beloved pets, they'll just tune you out.

Sure, conflict breeds press coverage, but burns off quickly and all people remember is that reptile breeders are a bunch of whiners who hate cats and dogs. We don't want that to happen either.

Lots of good points being made here. I like it when a topic gets 6 pages long and nobody's ripping someone else a new one
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Old 02-13-04, 01:15 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Don't define them as a problem species, simply note that there are problems with the species which need to be worked out.

If someone brings up unwanted iguana numbers, mention the number of unwanted cats in a manner which illustrates the responsible attitudes of reptile owners and the ways in which we have managed to curb some of the difficulties inherent in pet ownership of any kind.

By doing so, the idea of legislation that improves the general welfare of animals can be broached as an alternative to bans or restrictions. Rather than not letting anyone have animals of any sort simply because there are some which will be abused and neglected by the ignorant, put the focus on enforcement of existing laws and putting together programs that help ALL animals. If a non-profit reptile group has a fund which donates money to having cats spayed for free, rehabilitating and placing large burms and getting dog vaccinations for owners who can't afford them... Something that goes towards a wide array of educational programs surrounding multiple captive species, it brings other demographics in to support Reptile related causes.
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Old 02-13-04, 02:32 PM   #90 (permalink)
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For sensationalism why don't we get shots of kids crying because they're going to lose their family pet.

One plus for reptiles is unlike cats and dogs they don't have fur to be alergic to.
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