18 November 2009


the bluespotted ribbontail ray is the most common stingray found in the home aquarium trade. however, like many exotic species, it seldom fares well in captivity. most individuals refuse to feed, dying of starvation in isolation from their home habitat, the tropical indo-pacific region.

the human compulsion to keep animals, birds and fish in cages and aquaria is a common expression of our need to dominate and contain all that is wild, all that is wilderness. having pets as companions is an understandable urge, especially for children, or for adults who are lonely. i have two cats who live indoors, and the only moral justification i can muster is that had i not adopted them as kittens from the animal shelter, the probability is high that they would have been killed. nine out of ten animal shelter refugees never live to enjoy a new home.

still, it is sad when humans keep pets in conditions with too little space for exercise and freedom. this applies to cats, dogs, horses, fish, reptiles, et al. even more sad (for me) is keeping animals caged for public display in zoos. i cannot bear to visit one, even recognizing the recently-emerged and important function of keeping endangered species' genetic pool alive.

as for rodeos, they are down on the same level with dog fights and bull fights -- a barbaric spectacle which demeans the participants and the audience, and is cruel to the animals. sorry, that's my opinion. (here is the natural range of the bluespotted ribbontail ray -- conditions which are a far cry from any aquarium.)

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