How Not to Save Wild Tigers

by Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes

Captive tigers in the U.S. have become the latest target of a misguided campaign aimed at saving their wild brethren. According to the World Wildlife Fund, perhaps 5,000 captive tigers live in the U.S., many of which are privately-owned pets – more than the estimated 3,200 that survive in Asia in the wild. WWF has called for a ban on private ownership of tigers and proposed various other laws at both federal and state levels to control the U.S. captive tiger population. Why? Because WWF fears that body parts from captive U.S. tigers may enter the illegal trade and “stimulate demand” in Asia, leading to further poaching of wild tigers.

WWF will no doubt celebrate the recent passing of a New Jersey Senate bill that establishes new strict in-state permitting requirements for captive tigers “to prevent their illegal trade.” This measure is being held up as a model for the rest of the country to follow. However, some New Jersey residents are skeptical about this bill and wonder whether this is not a misguided allocation of the state’s resources (see comments here). They are right to be skeptical.

First, a 2008 survey by TRAFFIC, the WWF-affiliated trade monitoring network, did not find any evidence whatsoever that U.S. captive tigers were involved in illegal trade in tiger parts. Second, a recent census by the U.S. Feline Conservation Federation documents only 2,884 tigers, most of which are found in licensed zoos and sanctuaries. Third, of those, only 24 are found in New Jersey, spread over 5 zoos. Even if body parts from those tigers did enter the trade (highly unlikely) the effect would be trivial.

Not only is the New Jersey bill of questionable relevance, its basic premise is also flawed. WWF’s assertion that body parts from U.S. captive tigers must be kept away from the market to protect wild tigers is in fact illogical. It assumes that if the supply of a product to the market is increased, the demand will automatically increase by an even larger amount, thereby leading to a price increase. This would make tiger products a retailer’s dream — a unique product that actually rises in price as supply increases.

In reality, if body parts from captive tigers were supplied to the market, their price would most likely drop (in line with basic principles of supply and demand). And lower prices would mean reduced rewards and incentives for poaching and illegal trade. The theoretical argument for trade stimulating demand is phony. What about empirical evidence?  Conservationist Brendan Moyle analyzes data from the commercially-exploited Louisiana alligator population and finds no correlation to support WWF’s claimed relationship.

The argument that the U.S. captive tiger population poses any sort of threat to Asia’s wild tiger population is based on nothing more than dubious conjecture and WWF’s campaign probably amounts to little more than a waste of donors’ and taxpayers’ money.

Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes is an environmental economist based in South Africa and a 2011 PERC Lone Mountain Fellow. He is the author of Who Will Save the Wild Tiger? (1998, PERC Policy Series), a contributor to Tigers of the World: The Science, Politics, and Conservation of Panthera tigris (2010, Academic Press), and coauthor with Kirsten Conrad of the recent paper “Making Sense of the Tiger Farming Debate.” For more information visit his website:


  1. Great article!!! I am the vice-president of the FCF. I also maintain my own non-profit organization in California. —— WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION INC. We need more information like this out there… We have done the research that proves this information is true and accurate. Thank You for your effort!!! I look forward to hearing about any follow up and future articles.

  2. Another grrrreat job M! For newbies, here is more info on WWF antics$$$:

    Zuzana Kukol,

  3. Great Article!!!! Some Common sense here.

  4. sue pearson says:

    If passion were a fashion, M would be on the cat walk…

  5. FINALLY comments that make sense! I can’t get jar of marmalade on a plane, does the WWF REALLY think that tiger parts would make it past security. Besides, I doubt any responsible private owner would sell te parts of their cats to anyone, for any reason.

  6. This is about the only thing that keeps charities like the WWF going. They have to prop up an illogical claim or captive breeding would rightly run them out of business.

  7. Elizabeth Hatton says:

    Thank you for sharing truth !

  8. Tom De Roo says:

    The reasoning that “captive tiger populations can have a direct effect on the demand for illegal tiger parts around the world, resulting in increased poaching” may indeed be questionable. Yet, it is not unheard of: it is standard reasoning of supplyside-economics. Your economic reasoning thus deserves attention and criticism, but that is not the point I want to make (since I’m not quite the expert in that matter).

    My problem with your post lies elsewhere. Since you and your commentators here are so adamant in “sharing the truth”, you should also fully inform your readers and consider the entirety of the argument made by WWF. Because I read something else entirely in their text (which you linked).
    (Add to this the fact that while the NJ-law may refer to itself as a “trade restricting law”, you and I both know that it is in fact a guise for the procurement of accurate whereabouts of the animals – that is also the argumentation presented in the article on the law in question. Skepticism about its effectiveness is allowed, of course, but it needs to be aimed correctly.)

    The WWF wants a ban on exotic pets as a direct result of the tragic events that unfolded in Ohio, where 49 animals including several endangered Bengal tigers were shot by police after they were released/escaped from a private owner’s compound (Google “ohio animal killings”, for instance. Example:

    WWF’s intention and “historical point of reference” is clear right in their opening line. In fact, only halfway through do they mention “demand” for the first time, when they refer to how private owned tigers under too loose a legislation “can become an easy target for sale on the multimillion dollar international black market for tiger parts and can stimulate demand for tiger products”. I find it strange that you to chose to focus on the second part of this sentence, while totally negating the first part – and everything before, that all refers to their core-argument: current private ownership legislation is lacking and poses a (direct or indirect) threat to tigers and other endangered exotic animals.

    The WWF and many other conservation-oriented societies have vocalized support for such a ban for many years now. Not intrinsically because “captured tiger parts would create demand for wild tiger parts”, but rather because they feel regulation in many US States regarding the private ownership of exotic animals is lacklustre – their objections and arguments are chiefly concerned with the well-being of the now privately owned animals. They want to prevent any more tigers and other endangered exotic animals arriving on US soil to be kept by private citizens, with the twofold intention of keeping prospective owners from “procuring” wild specimen of endangered species and preventing such animals from ending up in subpar keeping-conditions (they make an exception for zoo’s and other instutitions that need to adhere to strict regulations anyway, and have a duty of public education and/or are active in breeding programmes; as stated at the beginning of their text).

    That’s what I remember about conservationist reactions at the aftermath of the Ohio-event, and that’s also what I see echoing in the WWF-text. That is also a lot more argumentation than you are attacking.

    Make no mistake, I’m not here to make a case for the conservationist’s stance on the matter of endangered exotic animals in private ownership. Out of personal interest I’d even really like to see your total refute on that; yet as it is now, I find your post, through the treatment of said demand-argument as a pars pro toto for WWF’s stance on the matter, relying entirely on a sophistic fallacy.

    • You haven’t actually presented an argument, De Roo.

      • Tom De Roo says:

        Really, are you going to try to make that kite fly?

        You missed my stance that focusing on one part of a diffuse argument in order to refute the entirety of said argument without even touching on the rest is questionable rhetoric? And where I subsequently present argumentation that, indeed, in his post the OP did not touch upon the Ohio-reference (which is a central element in the WWF-stance) and did also only marginally touch the NJ-law-report by focusing on the “trade” aspect (which was not the only element in the linked news report on the law)? You can of course disagree with that: you can point out parts of the OP-post where those elements are indeed touched upon, for instance, thus refuting my argument. But if you didn’t see that as “presenting an argument” in the first place, then you’re pretty much unwilling to read my post.

        Because that’s really all the argumentation I needed to make. As I stated quite clearly, both at the beginning and at the end of my post: I’m not here to make a stance regarding WWF’s disposition in general, or to defend their practice, or to attack the OP’s these that increased supply would not beget increased demand. If I wanted to do that, I’d have presented argumentation accordingly.

        I’ll repeat my stance, just to be clear: I simply pointed out that, IF you want to attack the WWF-stance (which is everyone’s right to do so), you should attack the entirety of the stance with respect to the entirety of their underlying argumentation. Ergo, the OP also had to touch upon the discourse refering to the Ohio incicent and to the news-report on the NJ-law, because they are integral elements of the argumentation as a whole. Maybe the OP already did that in other posts, elsewhere on the net, maybe the OP has a whole a tradition of refutation-posts that I’m not aware of: if so, then he could simply fix the problem of this particular post by simply refering to previous material on the Ohio-incident and the NJ-law.

      • One of the worst parts of this is spending time enduring reading such words as yours. Animal enthusiasts should have spent a lot more effort making sure that such as you would be powerless to harm them.

        Your strategy today is to pretend to be a neutral but intelligent observer. Your thesaurus must be getting dog-eared and smeared.

        I refuse to accept any conditions that you would impose on ownership. In the experience of people who I have contact with, complying with such conditions makes people easy victims for when the head of the regulating agency is bought and paid for by a fraudulent charity. I don’t see the regulations as anything but devices for letting the likes of the HSUS come in and rob you at gunpoint, so no, your sophistry isn’t going to convince me.

    • Not that I see the WWF’s “stance” as an actual stance. It has inspired a lot of contemptible treatment of human beings, those who have to live with the deadly nuisance of those animals and thousands of owners who have watched their animals being taken away to be slaughtered in an inane pretense of defense of wildlife.

      I see the WWF’s “stance” as fraud and the WWF itself as another fraudulent charity that makes money at the expense of animals and anyone else it can mess over. We have a right to be angry at being treated the way that they treat us. Contempt of human rights is manufactured using the excuses that animal rights people and fraudulent animal charities make. For some regimes if the WWF did not exist it would be necessary to invent one.

      The use of the Zanesville incident is bad logic and deliberate mental cruelty. If anything it points out the fact that animal owners are too stable and too long-suffering because this has been a destructive shooting war for a long time. The ARs have killed a lot of animals. They have used bombs, which are more destructive than bullets and more indiscriminately deadly. We are supposed to fight back and destroy them for doing that, not sit down at the table and decide which of our neighbors to feed to them.

      • Even worse, the use of the Zanesville incident is cheap and just wrong. The argument about creating a market for wild-caught animals doesn’t hold water. Trying to work the Zanesville incident into it shows that whoever does it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They can’t provide a good argument so they’re using a bad one.

      • Tom De Roo says:

        Aha, now those are interesting theses you’re presenting there.

        Care to back them up with argumentation and facts? (Note: I don’t want to be assertive here, or call you out, or whatever, I just REALLY want to see arguments and facts, out of sheer interest.)

        1) Show me examples of contemptible treatment of human beings (Just to be clear: you’ll have to do more than “they object to Indian farmers killing tigers that wander into their villages”, for instance, because then I would point out that the farmers have been encroaching on the natural habitat of the tiger, ergo such “border-disputes” are to be expected. And then it is simply the matter of deciding: are we going to try to prevent further encroachment and save the natural habitat of the tiger, or are we going to let the farmers further encroach and subsequently force the tiger to local extinction? I have a strong sense that your answer will be to side with the farmers; that is your right, just like it is the right of the WWF to side with the tiger. Now, if the WWF would then use downright evil/fraudulent methods to prevent the farmers from encroaching on the habitat, then I would like to see examples and proof of such behavior.

        2) Show me argumentation with regard to those “thousands of owners who have watched their animals being taken away to be slaughtered in an inane pretense of defense of wildlife”. Who are these owners? What animals are we talking about? Again: examples, proof, etc.

        3) You see the WWF-stance as a fraud and the WWF as a fraudulent charity. That implies that what they do differs wildly from what they say, right? Again: examples, proof. (Or correct me if I interpret that wrong.)

        4) Contempt of human rights: state those human rights, and how they are treaded upon.

        5) Then the last section of text. I’m warning you, this will take some effort on your part to explain that.
        – “The use of the Zanesville incident is bad logic and deliberate mental cruelty. If anything it points out the fact that animal owners are too stable and too long-suffering because this has been a destructive shooting war for a long time.” What do you mean by bad logic, mental cruelty, and the fact that animal owners are stable and long-suffering? What is this reference to a “shooting war”?
        – “The ARs have killed a lot of animals. They have used bombs, which are more destructive than bullets and more indiscriminately deadly. We are supposed to fight back and destroy them for doing that, not sit down at the table and decide which of our neighbors to feed to them.” Now, that’s just war-rhetoric you’re using there. Really, “fight back and destroy them”, and you want to come over as everything they’re (supposedly) not? Also: what are you refering to? Which ARs (I suppose that means “Animal Rights activists”?) have used bombs? When did the WWF bomb something? What’s this about feeding neighbors? (That one I simple don’t understand, I need more context.) And are those ARs that have supposedly bombed things and killed animals (examples, proof?) representative for everyone advocating animal rights? Does that refute the entire animal rights argumentation? (Be careful how you answer that. Let’s say that I state that “2 + 2 = 4”, and I would subsequently bomb a McDonalds to enforce my argument, would that make my statement false?)

        Then, your other post:
        “The use of the Zanesville incident is cheap and just wrong. The argument about creating a market for wild-caught animals doesn’t hold water. Trying to work the Zanesville incident into it shows that whoever does it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They can’t provide a good argument so they’re using a bad one.”
        I think you misread the WWF-stance. The Zanesville-incident stands on its own; the fact that there, in that event, endangered exotic animals were killed is their main issue (and you should also be fair: there have been similar cases in the past). They couple that issue to the fact that US-states legislation is lacklustre, in that it allows private citizens to procure endangered animals too easily, subsequently A) putting these animals in subpar conditions (and presenting a danger to humans in the process; hence, the reason why the Zanesville animals were shot in the first place) and B) pressuring populations in the wild (whence the procured animals supposedly come from). They want to put an end to private ownership causing A and B by trying for C: the strict regulation of trade in endangered animals.

        Now, you have every right to disagree with their position. But then you’d have to refute each of the above mentioned elements:
        A) Prove that those animals are not forced to live under subpar conditions in private ownership, and that this private ownership does not pose a threat to other private citizens living nearby.
        B) Prove that private ownership of endangered animals in no way puts pressure on wild populations. Thus, you would have to prove that every privately owned endangered animal is procured through a breeding program involving other privately/institutionally owned specimen of said animal.
        C) Prove that current, nigh-absent legislation regarding trade in said endangered animals in no way causes prospective private owners to easily acquire animals to put them in situation A and causing effect B.

        Now, I expect you to be able to put forward interesting and convinging arguments contra (parts of) B and C. For instance, you could say that endangered animals are being caught in the wild because there they pose a threat to local human populations: thus, having them brought over to live their life in private ownership is better than having them killed. (Even so, one could also make a case for the stance that it is always better to prevent their natural habitat from declining, and subsequently prevent the wild population from being extinct, no? Or, do animals not have the right to live in their natural surrounding? Is it never an option to try and have the human population refrain from destroying the habitat or the animal directly? And, if not, why not?)
        Or, you could indeed prove to me that every privately owned endangered animal is in fact product of a breeding program. Each and every one of them. (I’d have a difficult time believing that, though, since the current lacklustre legislation in question apparently also causes serious gaps in registration of the animals – see the NJ-law article for examples.)

        However, refuting A is going to take a lot more effort. The Zanesville-event and its often less spectacular precedents prove that endangered wild animals are not always being kept in prime conditions by private owners, and that they can indeed pose a threat to their surroundings. Now, you could say: “So? It is every man’s right to keep his animals in subpar conditions and to have his animals pose a threat to neighbors!” – but is that really the point you want to make? Or, rather, would you want that every endangered animal is actually kept in correct conditions, provided a suitable semblance of a habitat, in a way that poses (an acceptable risk of) threat to neighbors? Well then, I see no way to make that happen other than through rule of law. Legislation will have to state what “correct conditions” are, what the minimum for a “suitable habitat” is, and what the minimum safety measures are as to “pose an acceptable risk of threat to neighbors” – current law, given the Zanesville-example, clearly does not suffice. In order to prevent pressure on wild populations, this rule of law could also explicitly state that procured animals must be product of breeding programmes, or serve as shelter for individual specimens that have been threatened in the wild (even though the latter could pose problems of interpretation, actively causing capture of wild animals under the guise of “being threatened”; it’d have to be worded very accurately). Now, if you, as a private owner, can conform to this rule of law, then by all means: keep an endangered animal. If not, then you really shouldn’t – for the good of the animal in question and your surroundings.

        Now, I would assume that the WWF would want to do away with private ownership of endangered animals altogether. That is their core-business; they want endangered animals to live and thrive in the wild, not see them as pet for individual citizens. And consequently, they want to see extra measures being taken to protect the wild population. I think they will always want 5000 tigers in the wild, not 2000 in the wild and 3000 in private ownership, even if that would total to the same amount. Now, you could argue that even through WWF-actions in defense of habitat that will never happen; in stead, you’d still just have 2000 in the wild and 0 in private ownership, making for a total of 2000. The WWF will then state the opposite: they’ll say that private ownership provides a siphon that works as an additional factor in reducing wild population, along with all the other elements they touch upon in other campaigns: encroachment of habitat being the prime one. And they also believe that, given more means with which to combat that encroachment, wild population could rise to 5000. As such, they urge you to provide them with the means to do so. (All the numbers used are just examples, and in no way reflect accurate population totals.)

        Now, if you want my opinion:
        – I think WWF is a business like any other; they’ll use shaky and pathos-laden arguments to rationalize their core-business and reason for living, just like – for example – oil companies do. Yet, the same goes for their opponents.
        – As such, the argument regarding private ownership of endangered animals needs to stand on its own. How does it help/harm the animal in question? How does it pose a risk to surroundings? What are necessary minima?
        – In my opinion, private ownership does not automatically cause harm or pose danger. In fact, I find the conservation-argument coupling breeding programs and the shelter of actively threatened individual animals very strong. Yet it is also my opinion that legislation regarding registration, trade, and material upkeep needs to be strict: no animal-enthousiast in their right mind would want subpar keeping-conditions to endure, or neighbors to be threatened, or wild populations to be pressured. I understand there are wildly differing ideas about what required minima should entail, some being arguably more rigid than others; here, you’d have to rely on science and reach a consensus, then subsequently make a fitting legislation. And then, that legislation needs to be enforced. Simple as that. It is my opinion that in such a regulated environment (and only there), private enthousiasts that fit the bill can still exist.

        Sorry about the wall-of-text. I find this a very interesting discussion 🙂

    It’s no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention.

    • Tom De Roo says:

      To be frank, that doesn’t surprise me at all. In fact, I would assume that there’s a lot of pragmatism involved at the absolute end of inflicting even a well-intended policy “in the field”. And with “pragmatism” I of course mean “getting your hands really, really dirty in the figurative sense”.

      Just like an oil-company wants its oil, and thereby culturally obliges its “strong arms” in the field to do whatever is necessary to claim it, I’d imagine something similar for any organisation that has customers (i.e. benefactors and donators) to satisfy – in this case, animal conservationists that have to show they can be effective by saving a species, oftentimes conflicting with ethnic conservationists that have to do the same thing regarding a local culture. Whoever gets the less backing (through money or international political/media support), that one gets the axe… “Gaming the system” (i.e. being as political as possible) could even have “official” enemies collusing to fend off another party, the common enemy of the day. I don’t like all that dirty-play, I really don’t. Yet, given all the conflicting interests abound (i.e. the nuanced real world) being so culturally opposed with the narrow-minded scope of almost every organisation, I see this is an automatic consequence.

      In my opinion, they’d best all try to work together for a common project beforehand, under a more holistic organisational umbrella. But that’s so incredibly unsexy and would appear too much as “spineless” that nobody would donate to that, I guess… 😦

      • And I think that the strict rule of law proves to be an unnecessary burden that compromises the care of the animals and the safety of the public, which is why regulations and bans have been repealed before.

  10. Just the fact that they mention the Zanesville incident shows that they know that they have a weak argument. It’s holding up a sign saying “we have a weak argument.”

    The WWF’s arguments against private ownership depend on blowing some problems out of proportions and on promoting supposition and “what if” arguments over clear facts. They also depend on the fallacious reasoning that a pet tiger or farmed tiger is worth less than a “wild” tiger.

    The clear fact is that captive breeding can produce thousands of tigers. They can be bred far faster in captivity than poachers can take them out of the wild. Another clear fact is that humans can breed for health and temperament.

    They use magical thinking, atrocious lies, and just plain violence against practices that we know will preserve the species and cause it to prosper. I see it as their greed for money and power, and as the greed for money and power on the part of the people who they answer to.

    • Tom De Roo says:

      I disagree with that.

      Sure, they may “exploit” the Zanesville-incident for their cause – but you’re doing the same if you only focus on the “good tiger farmers” and negate all the animals being held in captivity by private citizes in inhumane conditions. Fact of the matter is; you will never root out mistreatment of animals if you have no regulation to do so. People are NOT inherently good at such things; they will continually overestimate their own prowess or underestimate their own responsibilities/effect on things. Or, and this is especially likely given certain cultural circumstances: they’ll not see it is a problem because a tiger is “just an animal, and therefore undeserving of a better treatment”.

      Sure, captive breeding “can produce thousands of tigers”. Sure, you can “breed for health and temperament”. But that’s not the point. The point is: conservationists believe wild tigers deserve to be protected as they are, which includes their environment, their way of life, etc. Wild tigers are not the same as “just tigers” – and they will most certainly physically and mentally change from tigers that are selected on certain characteristics – what you’re suggesting there is active domestication (by which I mean: the bio-cultural process, that in earlier times also “created” the domesticated dog, the modern cow, etc.). In other words, this is bio-social engineering; if you’d suggest that for humans, you’d be a fascist. You may think that is not such a bad thing because it concerns animals and we can do whatever we want with them – but that’s a cultural value-stance, and you’ll never sway an animal-conversationist to that point of view.

      As far as “greed” is concerned: I find that a strange argument. Private owners all over the US are keeping and using tigers in oftentimes deplorable conditions to attract visitors and to make money, one way or another. How’d you call that? “Acceptable way of procuring income”? Once upon a time, it was also accepted to parade disfigured humans around and ask people money to see them dance or do funny tricks – this is no different. Or, if you want to keep it to animals: in the 19th century, monkeys and cats were “trained” by methods of physical hardship to operate as if they were a small-scale animal singing-band, with the cats making shreeking noises on apparent direction of the monkey, all to earn some money for their owner when he was parading around local fairs and markets. That’s exploitation, plain and simple. Keeping an animal in a subpar condition because “you want one” is exploitation, too – it’s to your gain, not the animal’s.

      I’m sure there are private owners of endangered exotic animals that do a good job keeping and preserving their animals, providing them with a habitat that suits their needs, and so forth (even though that would be an enormous money-sink, which in my opinion could only be provided by supported and specialized institutions like zoo’s – and even THEN, a life in a natural and preserved habitat – like a reservation – will ALWAYS be better for the animal in question). But for every one of those prodigal owners, there are several dozen if not more that do NOT provide their animals with good living-conditions. And in the opinion of conservationists, that needs to stop. You simply cannot argue that a 1-in-a-few-dozen chance of a deserving and sufficient environment is “good enough”, unless you feel that animals are undeserving of anything to begin with. And if you do feel like that, then I think it’s impossible to reach common ground.

      Then your final reply: “And I think that the strict rule of law proves to be an unnecessary burden that compromises the care of the animals and the safety of the public, which is why regulations and bans have been repealed before.” I’m pretty sure that is untrue.

      Regulations and bans have been repealed because:
      – A) they were ineffective in remedying the situation (usually because they have been politically watered down; you’ll see the same thing happening with ANY kind of regulation that wants to change human behavior, for instance drunk driving; if it’s watered down, it is oftentimes ineffective, and then opponents will call for a repeal “since it just violates rights and doesn’t solve anything” ; Americans are real touchy about that, and political opponents know that)
      – B) the negatively affected persons will feel they have been stripped of a “right”, of something that they are “entitled” to. They feel it is their right putting their own needs before the animal’s. And there’s always political possibility to enforce that cultural disposition, since animal rights are rather young on the political field, and definitely not widespread. Almost all political constitutions around the globe are older, and they are all – without exception – anthropocentric, unless having been amended.
      It could be that there were indeed regulations in place that were deemed actually harmful for the animal, not related to A and B, but then I challenge you to prove that.

      As far as the burden is concerned: it is certainly not unnecessary, it is required to enforce decent care and safety. It is impossible for you to argue otherwise, unless using an upsidedown fallacy, like: “if they enforce stronger security, then that will make owners suffer more costs, thus go bankrupt, thus their tigers would run loose and harm people” – that’s a reductionist and absurdist view. If indeed current owners would be kept from keeping animals in the future, then that would be because they cannot already provide decent conditions in the first place! Conditions regarding care, upkeep, safety, etc. – important stuff, in other words! It, thus, would be GOOD that they can no longer keep animals – and the animals they already have need to be taken away and kept in decent conditions, that is of course the obligatory second part of legislation; there needs to be an attached element concerning shelter of repealed animals (alas, that is also the easiest part to target politically: oftentimes, political opponents manage to rape a legislation so that only the direct repressive element is retained, and upkeep-measures or remedies do not survive voting; mostly because these things are unspectacular and costly – that is also the reason why legislation wants to PREVENT ownership, so that it would not burden society somewhere in the future).
      To continue on that argument: whether those current and legally-undeserving animal owners would go bankrupt in the process of such legislation is irrelevant. Or would you keep an economic process going, regardless of what exactly it does, if just to have people that are connected to it earn a wage? So, you’re willing to just pay taxes to have the taxcollectors earn a living? Or want your government to wage war so that the soldiers have something to do? I would’t think so.

      I must say, at first I was willing to believe that you indeed care for endangered animal’s welfare, but that you disagree with the methods of – among others – WWF. And that would be your right; methods can be discussed, since there’s always room for improvement, perhaps including private initiative. But now I’m becoming very unsure of that. The adamant and thus-far unfounded negation of the use of legislation reveals a cultural disposition that seems to come down to simply: “it’s an animal, so it’s unimportant if it receives decent care or living conditions, it’s a human right to treat it however you want”. (So, pretty much what mister MiddleFinger says underneath, only not as crass.)

      • De Roo, you just said that the vast majority of tiger owners do not take good care of their tigers. That’s outright dishonesty on someone’s part and I’m hanging it on you right now. It’s sad that your style of argument, this inside-out godawful nonsense, has any effect at all and people give such as you way too much of their time and my property.

      • Tom De Roo says:

        Tom; I assume you’re refering to the 1-in-a-dozen? You know very well that this is a figure of speech, as an evocation of the “being relative” of a certain standard in an n-pool of cases – lack of standards makes it impossible to even identify “good care”, that’s just my point. If you refrain from reading all the other parts of the text, and instead focus on a small part disregarding its context of origin in order to be able to discard the entirety of the argument, then you make the same error as the OP.

        If anything, I could just as easily argue that you yourself in fact implied that the vast majority of tiger owners do not take good care of their animals; why else would you oppose legislation that sets minima for animal care and safety, if not from knowing that the vast majority of owners would not be able to attain those minima? (In fact; that’s the reason I gave that 1-in-a-dozen example.) You seemingly put the interests of the animal far behind that of the human; it’s your right to have that opinion (in fact, it’s typical of the vast majority of human beings, I guess), but at least have the stones to acknowledge that.

        I’ll make my stance, again, very clear: I want legislation to be in place in order to fully protect the well-being of the animal, provide minima for habitats, care and safety measures, and do as much as possible to prevent any siphoning effect on wild populations; with perhaps an adjustment period of 6-12 months to allow current owners to get to grips with the new legislation. I really do NOT care whether after that point in time 10%, 90%, 100% or 0% of the current tiger-owners will be forced to hand their animals over to some form of custody. (So, I’ll repeat: I’d be JUST AS HAPPY if none or all and anything in between of the current owners get to keep their animals.)
        And that’s actually BECAUSE I simply won’t (and cannot) state that the vast majority of the current tiger owners, or an absolute minimum, or none of them, or all of them, or only seven, or whatever do not take good care of their animals. In fact, nobody can state that, that’s just the point, that’s the problem; current registration and situational valuation is lacklustre! There is NO general standard by which to gauge or on what to base “good care and sufficient safety measures” at this time, and THAT irrevocably causes problematic situations like the most recent one (afaik) in Ohio. People that keep tigers in small cages next to the interstate and under degenerate conditions (to state MiddleFinger’s example) are legally equal to people that put a lot of time and effort into the care of their animal to make sure their standard-of-living is as near as possible to the natural equivalent. And that lack of legal context, plain and simple, is to the detriment of the animals in question. You can’t just shove something like that under the rug.

        The way I see it, there are two reasons you wouldn’t accept legislation on the matter:
        – Either you distrust or hate government in all its forms, and don’t want any legislation on anything whatsoever; you feel any government action will make things worse than they already are. Let’s call this the isolationist anarchistic disposition.
        – Or you do not care about the welfare of the animal, or at least not so much that it should require its private human owners to put any effort whatsoever in attaining some kind of standard-of-living for the animal “because that would infringe on their human rights” (or something similar); I’d call that the anthropocentric libertarian disposition.

        In short: to me it seems you want private citizens to be able to own endangered wild animals under whichever condition they choose, since it’s a human right and a personal liberty to treat every animal however anyone wants, regardless of any documented negative consequences for said animal or other humans, and you will not accept any legislation intended to curtail said negative consequences or state required care-minima whatsoever. You feel that giving – for example – a tiger access to water and food, and keeping him in a cage of any kind of size equals “good care” already; anything more is just gravy and at all times the right and decision of the private owner, just like it is his/her right to let the animal perish.

        If that’s the case, then our discussion is indeed rather pointless; it would then boil down to whether or not animals have rights, and/or which position those rights hold relative to (an interpretation of) human rights. And that’s simply a matter of opinion and cultural disposition, on which we probably will never see eye to eye, no matter how many theories and conclusions in the fields of cultural history and anthropology and natural history I bring to the table to try and persuade you. Common ground seems thus unattainable.

      • With arguments like that, De Roo, you would only be allowed at the negotiation table if someone could force everyone else to allow it. That force has already included bombs, vandalism, animal killings, arson, and beatings. Your style of argument shows it, too.

        I hate government controls with more than good enough reason. Just one of those reasons is because such controls make care of the animals less humane. Another is because all kinds of opportunists have been using those controls to enable themselves to attack and destroy humane and legal operations.

        It is a fact that regulation alone will steal the virtue of good people. There is no virtue in complying with laws set down by a violent sect that is determined to beat it out of people. Support of such things is support of damaging a lot of people who are being fingered by the same violent sect, for the purposes of destroying ownership and animals while pretending to be for the animals.

        You are a glib sociopath, De Roo. You are arguing like that to cause as much damage as you can while being able to pretend that you’re doing some kind of good for the animals and for humanity. Like I said, I’ve already given you too much of my time and energy.

  11. MyMiddleFInger says:

    Sounds like you’re all full of malarkey and after legal swaying, illegal profits and muckraking.
    Next time don’t make it so obvious that you don’t care a bit about the tiger’s welfare or the obvious fact that PEOPLE SHOULDN’T OWN TIGERS. And you can say all the tigers are in zoos, but you’re piling up the lies pretty quickly. In Louisiana, there’s tigers in cages at TRUCK STOPS that you can see from the interstate! Not to mention all the idiots that have them in small pens that are falling apart (resulting in a dead tiger about 4 minutes after it hops out of prison and goes to the nearest trash can in search of food.
    This is pointless- why am I telling people that are more worried about getting donations for their illegal cash shelters/I mean Non-profit charities that they should care about anything? Like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip. Or intelligence out of a cardboard box.
    Happy Holidays, dummies.

    • You don’t seem to understand the fact that everything should be done to save the species, everything that can be done. I’m a lot happier with them on chains, in basements and garages, and definitely at truck stops than I am with them extinct. Now I have to fight your ugly self too. It’s just wrong.