Category Archives: Animals

Unethical Headline Of The Month: The Hill

“Cecil the lion’s killer donated to Romney”

Yup. This really was the headline, and the story under it really had nothing more valuable to offer.

You know what? I’m willing to bet that at least one of those Planned Parenthood execs caught on video talking about crunching unborn baby skulls donated to Barack Obama’s campaign. Or have given money to Hillary’s campaign.

Or have bought Barbra Streisand CDs. Or like cheese.

What possible relevance to anything is this jerk’s political donation record from three years ago? What does this headline mean? Is Romney a lion-killer? Is the Republican Party now implicated in Cecil’s death? How is this conceivably news, since only an imbecile would see any relationship between the two acts: giving to a political campaign and shooting a beloved lion?

It is interesting, I suppose, that The Hill employs at least two imbeciles: the one who wrote this piece, and the editor who didn’t toss it in the trash.

Now if Cecil the lion had donated to Romney, THAT would have been news.

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Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Ethics Dunce: Cecil The Lion Killer Walter Palmer…Or Any Big Game Hunter, Really

Walter James Palmer, a  Minnesota dentist,shot and killed the famous Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow. The death of the 13-year-old animal has caused an international uproar among conservationists because Cecil was well-known to visitors at the Zimbabwe nature reserve and enjoyed human contact. The lion was lured out of the national park and shot.

In a statement, Palmer said that the authorities had yet to contact him and added that he did not know the lion he had killed was a “local favorite.” “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he said. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Oh, so what? Why is it worse to kill a “local favorite” than to kill any wild animal just for—yechhh–the fun of it? Killing for sport is ethically indefensible, and killing these large, beautiful, and even endangered creatures is ugly, cruel and irresponsible.

After Cecil, the photos show Palmer with some of his other “trophies.” He must be so proud… Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Around the World, Environment

The President Says “Nigger,” And Good For Him!

Wheel of Fortune

On a podcast with comic Marc Maron—because comedians ask such probing questions and have such high journalistic standards—President Barack Obama, while musing on the topic of race, said, among other things:

“The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination — in in almost every institution of our lives — that casts a long shadow, that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say “nigger” in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.” 

Whatever the pros and cons of that statement—and it really isn’t especially remarkable—, it is Obama’s use of the word “nigger” that has cable news and the internet buzzing, fainting and drooling. To take some media idiots at random…oh, let’s say, the Fox and Friends crew, along with some commentators Fox dug up someplace. you would think that Obama was doing a Samuel L.Jackson imitation.

If a President is going to talk about racism and raise the perfectly relevant issue of racial epithets such as nigger, it is reasonable, competent, civil and appropriate for him to speak the word he is talking about. Of course it is. No, “Fox contributor David Webb,” whoever you are, it is NOT “beneath the office of the president” to say the words that express the idea you intend to express. It would be beneath the office of the Presidency” for the grown man in that office to use juvenile code-words like “N-word,” which is the way my wife and I talk around our dog, since Rugby goes ballistic if we say “walk,” “outside,” “nap.” “treat, “cheese,” “food,” or “The Adventures of Lassie” out loud. Someone tell various news outlets that the undignified, foolish ones are all of them, treating their audiences or readers like children (or Jack Russell Terriers) and playing hangman and “Wheel of Fortune”—“He said n- – – – -!” I’ll buy a vowel, Pat!”—when they should be telling us exactly what the President said.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you! Now maybe if people are talking about the word nigger, they will use the word they are talking about, because that’s how human beings communicate.

Except on Fox news. I swear, sometimes, I don’t know what the hell they are doing.

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Journalism & Media, Race

Unethical Dog Ownership: Citronella Spray Bark-Control Collars

dog collar

My sister just called me to recount a disturbing story. She is a dog lover, and knows all of the many dogs in her neighborhood. Passing by the yard belonging to another dog-owning friend, she was greeted by the animal, who obviously recognized her, and was attempting to welcome her with what anyone familiar with dogs would immediately recognize as a happy bark. Every time the dog barked, however, his “bark-control” collar sprayed citronella in his face. My sister said it was obviously frustrating for the dog, who kept barking and wincing. Eventually the owner came out and took the collar off so it could interact with his two-legged friend.

I had never heard of this kind of bark-control collar. The Humane Society disapproves of them as ineffective, but that’s a non-ethical consideration. The devices are cruel, not to mention proof-positive, if you use one, that you should get one of those Japanese robotic dogs instead of the real thing. Never mind that the barking of other dogs can set them off—“Heh, heh! Watch this, Bruno, every time I bark, Lassie’s collar sprays her right in her smug Collie puss!”—it’s frustrating to a canine’s natural desire to communicate, and dogs communicate a lot, and well.

Our Jack Russell Terrier Rugby has  more than twenty distinct barks and even more grunts, whimpers, sighs, and quacks to signify everything from “I want a biscuit!” to “What the hell is that? to “Take me with you!” to “It’s my dog-pal Elphie!” to ” I hate you, you stupid Belgian Shepherds!“and much, much more. Rugby would do very well with one of those dog-translator collars from “Up.” (The Japanese have also invented a dog translator, but your dog has to speak Japanese.)

Learning what your dog is saying with his or her various barks is part of the experience of sharing your life with these amazing animals, and rigging up a device to punish a dog for barking is pet owner malpractice, irresponsible, and wrong.

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Filed under Animals, U.S. Society

Search Engine Ethics Bulletin: Google’s Not Perfect, And That’s Not Unethical

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD...

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD…

Late last month, someone discovered, probably in the wake of all the pre-release publicity for “Jurassic World,” that the search “What happened to the dinosaurs?” turned up this site as its top result. This is a fundamentalist Christian site that is hilarious in its misinformation and ignorance, along with the inevitable smugness that routinely accompanies this kind of stubborn immunity to fact and logic. Here’s my favorite passage:

Representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals, including the dinosaur kinds, went aboard Noah’s Ark. All those left outside the Ark died in the cataclysmic circumstances of the Flood, and many of their remains became fossils.

Boy, that must have been some boat. Today there was news of a controversy over whether the recently discovered “heaviest dinosaur” was only 40 tons rather than the earlier estimate of 65 tons. Since the beasts boarded the Ark two by two, this is  about 80 tons for just one species of dinosaur, Dreadnoutus, to go with 84 tons of Futalognkasaurus, 78 tons of Brachiosaurus, and 32 tons of Diplodocus, and that’s without the other 700 or so dinosaur species, which are estimated to be about a tenth of the actual total. Then Noah had to fit all the other animals on the ship…green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, he didn’t take along no unicorns.

But I digress. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, History, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, Science & Technology, The Internet

The Trooper,The Law Clerk, And The Deer

This was all YOUR fault...

This was all YOUR fault…

Prof. Jonathan Turley would make this an ethics quiz, but not me.

He is troubled that a law clerk ended up an ex-law clerk after publishing a gratuitously nasty post on Facebook expressing her unseemly lack of sympathy for a New Jersey state trooper who died when his car collided with a deer. (Another trooper traveling with him was injured.) Turley shares my concern regarding the trend of employers punishing employees for their comments on social media, but in this case, I don’t have any sympathy for the clerk at all.

Responding to other Facebook commenters who expressed sorrow for the dead trooper and called him a hero, Leslie Anderson, who clerked for a News Jersey judge, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Travis L. Francis, expressed strenuous dissent, writing,

“Not that sad, and certainly not ‘tragic,’ Troopers were probably traveling at a dangerously high speed as per usual. Totally preventable. At least they didn’t take any of the citizens they were sworn to serve and protect with them…The ‘victim’s’ employment as a state trooper is irrelevant to the circumstances, other than the fact that he injured a fellow trooper and destroyed state property as a result of his recklessness. He wasn’t running into a burning building or otherwise acting within the course of his employment at the time of the accident. The outcry and ‘thank yous’ are absurd, nonsensical, and completely unwarranted. There are people in this country and around the world dying for much less. There is nothing ‘tragic’ about this. Get over yourselves and your sense of entitlement, people . . .

Nonetheless, I agree that it is sad and heart wrenching for the family members left to suffer the consequences of the Trooper’s recklessness — especially for the deer family who lost a mommy or daddy or baby deer.”

Jerk. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Character, Facebook, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Rights, Social Media, Workplace

Creative Cruelty To Animals: Thomas Neil Rodriguez And The Dog’s “Bucket List”

Like all dogs, Poh has several amusement parks on his bucket list...

Like all dogs, Poh has several amusement parks on his bucket list…

I don’t know about you, but this story ticks me off.

Thomas Neil Rodriguez’s got a terminal diagnosis of his 15-year-old  dog Poh when he had his pet examined by the vet.. His response was to embark with Poh on a 12,000 mile automobile odyssey to 35 cities, taking seven weeks, which he described to ABC News as  fulfilling “their” bucket list.  “It was a great trip,” Rodriguez told ABC.  “I got to spend seven weeks with Poh. At first, I did not think he’d make it two weeks, but he did.”

Dogs don’t have bucket lists. They are always happy to be with their loved ones, but traveling is stressful, and what an old dog, a dying dog, or any dog wants most is rest, love, familiar routines and surroundings. If Rodriguez had no choice but to travel, taking poor Poh along was arguably kinder than leaving him in a kennel or with a stranger (or putting him down), but to proudly proclaim that this journey was in any way for the dog’s pleasure is outrageous. Rodriguez is irresponsible, and celebrating it. Po was made to suffer for his master’s enjoyment and convenience, and the rest is nothing but spin, or perhaps a guilty fantasy.

( Best comment on Althouse’s blog: “Same reason a man would buy his wife a power tool set for her birthday. He wants it.” Right. Except that buying her the power tools isn’t as likely to kill her.)

_______________

Spark and Pointer: Ann Althouse

Source: ABC

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Filed under Animals, Character