Category Archives: Animals

Our Untrustworthy Public Schools, Part 2: The Fool and the Indoctrinator

When Alex met Kendra...

When Alex met Kendra…

There are bad apples in every barrel, but no apple barrel should contain poison apples. When it comes to teachers, these two make me regard the entire barrel as a bad risk.

The Fool

At Summerville High School in Summerville, South Carolina, a teacher caused a 16-year-old student named Alex Stone to be arrested and suspended because he wrote a passage on his Facebook page, as part of an assignment, that described using a gun to kill a dinosaur. Never mind that dinosaurs are extinct: guns are real; the teacher, a hysteric, a child abuser and a fool, notified school officials, and the school notified the police. They in turn,  searched Alex’s  book bag and locker for the dinosaur murder weapon, and came up empty. Police said that when Stone was asked by school officials about the his post, he became “very irate” —as would I—and so they handcuffed and arrested him.

Look at the bright side: at least they didn’t shoot him. Then Stone was suspended for the rest of the week. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Ethics Quiz: The Macaque’s Selfie

Macaque

The wonderful photo above has gone viral on the web, and is also causing serious debate among intellectual property lawyers. The weird tale is as follows:

Wildlife photographer David Slater was visiting a national park in North Sulawesi to photograph the wildlife. His subject was a group of crested black macaques, and when he left his camera unattended, the primates took advantage of the opportunity. Apparently attracted by the reflection and the noise the camera made when activated (the implications of the macaques doing this because they were interested in photography are too disturbing to contemplate, so I won’t),  one macaque took hundreds of photos of itself. Most were blurry and out of focus, just like the pictures my dad took, but a few were superb selfies that would have Ellen DeGeneres eating her heart out.

Wikimedia took the clear images off of Slater’s website, adding them to its collection of royalty-free graphic, and sending them all over the web as a result.  Slater now demands that the images be taken down or that he be paid for them. While Wikimedia argues that either the monkey owns the copyright for the photos or nobody does, the photographer claims that being the owner of the camera, and the artist who created the circumstances under which the macaque was inspired to release his inner Richard Avedon, he alone is the owner of the photographs.

As you might expect, copyright law is unclear on the issue of lower primate selfies, an art form that was not anticipated as the law evolved. I don’t care about that: today’s Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is about fairness:

Should Slater have full ownership of the macaque’s creations?

Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Uncategorized

KABOOM!* Kitten-Shooting By The Police…In Front of Children

kittens

(Normally a story like this would make my head explode, but my head is apparently too disgusted to blow.)

This incident sounds like a sick joke in “Policy Academy 6″ that ended up on the cutting room floor, but unfortunately, it really happened.

Dispatched to a home to deal with a feral mother cat and her five adorable kittens discovered in the yard, Bob Accorti, the Humane Officer for the North Ridgeville Police Department, told the homeowner that the animal shelters were full but that he would make sure that the cats went to “kitty heaven.” He then too out his revolver and shot the five kittens, estimated to be between 8 and 10 weeks old. The homeowner’s children, aged  5 months to 7 years, watched in horror from inside the house.

The mother cat escaped during the slaughter.

After a complaint of animal cruelty was raised by the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, NRPD Chief Mike Freeman responded that no discipline was necessary or appropriate, as he reasoned that “animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”

The chief did concede that Accorti could have communicated better with the homeowner about how the kittens would be killed.

Ya think???

Be thankful for small mercies: Accorti was the Humane Officer. I assume one of the non-Humane officers would have stomped the kittens to death.

Let’s see…

Was shooting the kittens necessary?

Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement

Animal Abuse, Law, Ethics…And More Cognitive Dissonance

Gothic pets

Some animal abuse issues are ethics slam dunks, some should be, and some are more complicated than the wo people posture over them seem to think. Here are three examples from the news:

1. Tattooed Kittens?

A law about to be passed in New York, S.6769, will make it illegal for pet owners to inflict tattoos or piercings on their pets except for medical purposes or when a tattoo is used strictly for identification purposes. Violations would carry fines of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“I believe that if given the choice, animals would decline to having themselves undergo a painful procedure of being either tattooed or pierced,” said New York State Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican who is supporting the measure introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosentha in 2011.

Ya think? The fact that a law would even be necessary to articulate that tattooing or piercing a pet for the owner’s amusement is horribly wrong and obvious cruelty foretells the approaching apocalypse.  That such a law would take three years to pass also tells us something bad about, oh, New York, politics, partisan warfare, human intelligence…just about everything. The problem, was brought to public attention by the prosecution of this idiot.

2. The Opossum Drop Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, U.S. Society, Workplace

Ethic Dunce: California Chrome Owner Steve Coburn*

horses-assAs you probably know by now, California Chrome attempted to become the 12th horse and first since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown and join a fabled group that includes such esteemed equines as Gallant Fox, Whirlaway, Citation and Secretariat…and fell right on his long face, finishing fourth. The  winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness lost the Belmont Stakes to 9-1 long-shot Tonalist, who did not run the opening two races of the series. Ah, there’s the rub. Part of the challenge of the Triple Crown, a not insubstantial part,  is that it is an endurance test. CC lost to a fresher horse.

Well, you know, that’s why winning the Triple Crown is so special and the horses who achieved it are the sport of racing’s four-footed immortals. It’s hard. When your horse loses the final and most difficult (it’s longer) of the three races after winning the first two, as many horses have, the correct, classy and ethical response is well established. It doesn’t take any imagination. You say that you congratulate the winning stables, the owners, the horse and the jockey, that of course you are disappointed, that your horse ran the best race he could but on this day it was not good enough. Then you shut up, and let sportswriters make excuses for the loss, if there are excuses to be made. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Sports

Birding Ethics vs. Education Ethics: One Applies Common Sense, The Other Doesn’t Apply It, Or Sunscreen Either

"Don't worry, Mr. Sapsucker---the birders are looking out for you. Just be grateful you don't go to public school in San Antonio."

“Don’t worry, Mr. Sapsucker—the birders are looking out for you. Just be grateful you don’t go to public school in San Antonio.”

In the intense avocation of bird-watching, a code of ethics reminds practitioners of common sense. In public school education, there is no accepted code of ethics. And there is precious little common sense.

Cornell University’s Macaulay Library contains more than 200,000 bird call recordings, and 150,000 of them can be downloaded onto smartphones and other electronic devices. This allows canny bird-watchers to play the calls in the wild, attracting rarely-seen species.

Unfortunately, these realistic calls, experts say, can stress birds, including endangered species. Thus there is a code of ethics for the recreation of birding, The American Birding Association’s Principles of Birding Ethics, and it states,

 “Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is threatened, endangered or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.”

It’s a well-conceived code that gives behavioral guidance where guidance is needed.

Now let’s look at a profession where most of us would say common sense is essential, and where the lack of it leads to  unethical and unacceptable conduct born of institutionalized incompetence. No, this time I’m not talking about our government. I’m talking about the educational profession, and the public schools. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Childhood and children, Education, Health and Medicine, Professions, Science & Technology

Kids On Leashes: Final Hypotheticals

kids on leashes2

Not to beat a dead dog, but while conversing about this surprisingly contentious issue (here, and here) on Facebook with the ever-thoughtful and provocative Lianne Best (Ethics Alarms congratulations go to Lianne for being honored by NARAL as an Outstanding Advocate For Choice), I realized that I should have posed one more hypothetical for the enthusiastic child-leashers to chew on, to wit:

“Have you ever seen anyone in public with both a kid and a dog on leashes simultaneously?”

Would you do that? And if you wouldn’t, why would having a child on a leash without the dog be any better?

To which Lianne countered with an even better hypothetical:

“How about a parent walking in public with the child on a leash but the dog walking along without one?”

____________________

Spark: Lianne Best

Graphic: Baby Cottage Gifts

 

20 Comments

Filed under Animals, Childhood and children, Family, Quizzes, U.S. Society

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