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One of a Kind Snapping Turtle Festival Conintues On
September 11, 2011 3:48 AM   Subscribe

Snapperfest in Rising Sun, Indiana, is a yearly event revolving around catching wild Snapping Turtles. It is a contest where men grab a wild Indiana snapping turtle by the tail, run the length of a field and then force the terrified turtle's head out of the shell Then they try to get their hand wrapped around the the turtle's neck and hoist it over their head. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources' position is that cruelty laws do not apply to wild animals.

While the festival has been going on in Rising Sun, Indiana, since 1996, it only attracted attention after PETA posted an alert, just a few days before the annual event. The Indiana Humane Society asked the campground hosting the event to cancel it, but was turned down.


After inviting animal rights activists to see for themselves, some, like the World Animal Awareness Society, from Michigan, found themselves turned away this year. One activist released a video of the August 2011 Snapperfest, along with some still photos.

Budweiser issued a statement (on various facebook pages) after the festival, denying they were a sponsor of the event, saying a Budweiser banner advertising the event was made without their knowledge.



New York Turtle and Tortoise Society weighs in on the controversy. Urban Jungles Radio, a podcast hosted by Zoologist Danny Mendez, has talked about the festival on their last few shows. (Show 1, Show 2)

The video that attracted attention initially. How does something like this get started? Campground owner Tim Sizemore told WKRC, "One day they said, 'Well, lets try to get the head out the shell, see who could get his head out.' One guy did it and the next thing you know they had competitions and it went out from there. Everyone had fun, there's no violence here.'

Snapper Fest participants and fans have a facebook page here.
posted by katinka-katinka (72 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hang yourself by the neck and tell me it doesn't hurt.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 4:07 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this only the start of a new fad of endangered animals abuse?

Up next: Panda-Punching-Palooza.
posted by fairmettle at 4:08 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this only the start of a new fad of endangered animals abuse?

Maybe. It's certainly a stark warning of that slippery slope.
posted by the fish at 4:15 AM on September 11, 2011


I get the impression a snapping turtle is uniquelly equipped to take revenge on these morons, if someone will hold them down.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:22 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not just hanging it by the neck, but actually forcefully pulling its head out of the shell. It sounds like an awful thing to do, but the reality is much, much worse. Just seeing the youtube video is immensely, viscerally disgusting. It feels like watching a public rape

Fucking humanity
posted by crayz at 4:24 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


My guess would be that these are common snapping turtles, not alligator snapping turtles.

How can you tell these reptiles are "terrified?" I watched the weird video, and these turtles did pretty much what all the non-terrified snapping turtles I have ever seen/handled did.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 4:36 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is fair, terrified is a little bit of judgment call. I would delete it if I were to write this post over again.
posted by katinka-katinka at 4:38 AM on September 11, 2011


How can you tell these reptiles are "terrified?"

Because they are sentient beings being subjected to violent torture. Because I don't believe in p-zombies
posted by crayz at 4:40 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Many individuals who have voiced objection to Snapperfest point to the animal cruelty laws found in Indiana Code 35-46-3. However, that law is not applicable in this instance because it provides an exemption for wild animals that are legally taken and possessed under the authority of Indiana Code 14-22."

There's an exemption that needs eradicating.

My guess would be that these are common snapping turtles, not alligator snapping turtles.

What difference would that make?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:41 AM on September 11, 2011


"What difference would that make"
There are laws that prevent people from doing just about anything with endangered species. So it would shut this festival down.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 4:47 AM on September 11, 2011


I was curious as to what they did with the turtles after the event. My guess was that they ate them. I poked around the links a bit, and I saw on the Facebook page that they release the turtles back into the wild afterwards. I won't editorialize as to whether going through the events of the day would be better- from a turtles perspective (if they have one)- than what would normally happen do a wild-harvested snapping turtle, but I thought this was worth noting.

And no, I'm not involved in this event in any way. Never heard of it until this morning. Just thought some of what was posted was a bit over the top.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 5:11 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who cares about reptiles? You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have. How is this any worse then catching and releasing fish?
posted by delmoi at 5:20 AM on September 11, 2011


You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have.

Given the interrelatedness of all animals and that our brains all developed from a common ancestor (and to similar selection pressures), I think the burden of proof is clearly on someone claiming that an animal doesn't have emotion. Fear is a primitive emotion; there's no reason that I know of to believe that other animals don't feel it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 5:42 AM on September 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


turtle's head. lol.
posted by the cuban at 6:02 AM on September 11, 2011


Fear is a primitive emotion, but where do you draw the line here? The turtle may not have any concept of what's actually happening to it, and it may not remember it a minute later.
posted by delmoi at 6:06 AM on September 11, 2011


You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have.

You never met Mr. Snurtle. He was my pet turtle, and I confided in him many times when I was growing up. He was a loving, caring turtle, and a hoot to hang out with. I miss you, Mr. Snurtle. I don't care what these bad people say.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:06 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


The turtle may not have any concept of what's actually happening to it, and it may not remember it a minute later.

What do you mean by "have any concept of what's actually happening to it", and what does memory have to do with the morality of torturing an animal? Would it have been OK to torture HM after his accident?

And why'd you move the goalposts from "emotion" to something else more nebulous?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:20 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who cares about reptiles? You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have.

Well, there is no reason not to believe that reptiles feel fear, and surely almost any moral code is going to urge you to err on the side of causing the least harm possible. Is there any reason to actually do this? Is there any element of this event that couldn't be achieved in a less harmful way? I mean, I realize that young (and not-so-young) men have a need to display their masculinity for the purpose of cowing other males and attracting mates, but there are ways to do this without abusing turtles. Those turtles have other things to do.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:25 AM on September 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hay-Zeus, does /anything/ sensible come from Indiana?
posted by clvrmnky at 6:38 AM on September 11, 2011


I assure you that reptiles are quite capable of feeling fear. An "angry" reptile is basically afraid for its life and is trying to save itself through bluff and bluster -- yes, that goes for rattlesnakes and cobras too.

And speaking as someone who has probably come face to face with more snapping turtles than 99.9 percent of the MetaFilter population, and who has actually seen captive-raised snappers beg for food like a puppy, yeah, they're smart enough.

Picking up a snapper by the tail is dangerous to the turtle. Disarticulates the spinal column. The only reason people pick them up that way is because they don't want to be bitten by the turtle, since snappers have very long necks that can reach way back. There is, of course, another way not to be bitten by a snapping turtle, and that is not to pick one up in the first place (unless, of course, you're trying to get it off the road, in which case use a shovel if you have to).
posted by mcwetboy at 6:39 AM on September 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


Who cares about reptiles?

I do. More than you can imagine.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:44 AM on September 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Haha, I saw the word "terrified" and immediately knew the "Mefi Douche Contingent" would pounce on it for editorializing. Maybe the turtles love it! Maybe it's a rippin' good time! They only keep their heads tucked away while they're being dragged because they don't want to get grass stains on their necks. It's obvious!
posted by ReeMonster at 6:56 AM on September 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Snapperfest is a sham. It was originally conceived in 1922 as an excuse to beat up on the Irish.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:01 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've done a lot of time around turtles because I grew up on a river in the woods, where there are shitloads of turtles. To shrug your shoulders and tell others not to worry about treating them carelessly because you can't imagine how it perceives the world around it, so it probably just doesn't actually feel anything, is a perfectly repulsive thing to do. I mean really, have you never been outdoors? Sounds like you need to take a long walk in the woods and think about things that maybe aren't you.
posted by heyho at 7:11 AM on September 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


Prospect Park in NYC allows you to fish as long as you throw the fish back into the water after you are done catching it. Honestly, I'd rather they ban it if they don't let people eat the fish. It's a bad attitude towards nature, that it's there for your "fun." Getting hooked in the mouth certainly isn't fun for the fish.

And I've eaten snapping turtle. It was a poverty food in some areas of the South, my grandmother ate it a lot during the depression, though they certainly didn't torment them before eating them. It's good, but a little tough. And it's quite healthy as well, as it is lean and contains a good amount of omega-3.

They'd have the food traditions leg to stand on if they ate them. They probably smugly think they are being nice for letting them go. God forbid we have a managed harvest of healthy food. I wouldn't be surprised if they serve factory-farmed chicken at the event.
posted by melissam at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages eating them. At least some Midwesterners have some sense. The daily limit is five. Well, I know what I'll be surviving on when I quit my job if our family's farm doesn't do well. The guy who taught me to hunt, Jackson Landers, also has some articles about them.
posted by melissam at 7:28 AM on September 11, 2011


Cruelty is not fun. Ultimately we are no better than the way we treat other living things. And yes, that includes reptiles.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


While we are empathizing with the wildlife let us consider the newly hatched duckling, just a few days old, happily paddling after Mom and your sibs as you learn to dabble and to navigate this bright wet world where you float effortlessly. And one day, without warning, something grabs you and sucks you beneath the surface, clamped in a pincer like beak that crushes your bones as you drown, the light receding as you are dragged to the bottom. Up at the surface your mother now only has five fuzzy chicks to tend. She hatched eight. Only two of your siblings will survive to have ducklings of their own one day.

If she could, your mother would send a donation to this festival every year.
posted by localroger at 7:54 AM on September 11, 2011


If she could, your mother would send a donation to this festival every year.

Too soon
posted by crayz at 8:05 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only two of your siblings will survive to have ducklings of their own one day.

Just as well, or we would be awash in ducks.

Of course, the difference is that the turtle doesn't make things any harder for the duckling than it has to, and turtle's gotta eat. If these guys in Indiana were catching turtles and eating them, I would have no complaint. Don't play with your food; it's not nice.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't play with your food; it's not nice.

Has the cat population gotten this memo?
posted by localroger at 8:12 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the event has a theme song.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2011


I have a decent sized pond on my property. When we first bought the house a few years back, a neighbor approached us and told us that another neighbor's ducks had had ducklings and that the parents were ignoring the chicks, so did we want a few to raise and put in the pond?

Turns out that yes, we did. So, a week after moving from the city to the woods and buying a house for the first time in our lives, we were raising 6 ducklings in a box in the office besides. They're adorable, ducklings are, but a good amount of work. And messy.

So we were happy 8 weeks or so later when the ducklings were big enough to try putting in the pond. We built a little fenced in enclosure on land and then expanded it into the water so they couldn't simply swim to the other side of the pond to get out on the other side and thus become a snack for the local fox or coyote or hawk or whatever else.

Imagine our shock a few hours later when we came out to find 5, and all of them out of the water clustered in one corner of the cage on dry land, with the remains of #6 floating out in the middle of the pond.

We had no idea about snapping turtles, or that we would have them in our pond. The ducks wouldn't go back in the water, and we got a fast education in all things turtle and duck. Ducks can smell snappers (and man, they smell pretty ghastly) and can see them in the water. They wouldn't go back in the pond until it had no snappers in it.

So I went to the local sporting goods store. I'm not a sporting guy, so this whole world of traps and lures and hooks and bait is entirely new to me. Imagine my shock when, after telling the somewhat-less-than-fully toothed gent at the store that I was trying to rid my pond of snappers, told me that he would pay me for every one I caught, and that he "ain' had me no snapper in a long time." He was very helpful, but I never used the number he gave me.

Turns out we had 3 or 4 good sized snappers in our pond. We moved them all to a local public fishing spot a few miles away which the neighbors pointed us to while telling us "everyone around here dumps their snappers there." They're nasty bastards...they smell terrible, they hiss, growl, the whole bit. But definitely fascinating.

We got the 3 or 4 the first year, 2 last year, and one this year, all fairly large. Our next door neighbor tells me she has one in her pond that's "the size of a coffee table." I don't know about that, but it keeps me out of her pond, for sure.

Having seen the remains of our beloved little duckling floating in the pond besides, while I was really angry at the damned turtles, I'm still an animal lover and couldn't intentionally hurt any animal, whether it seems like hellspawn or not. This snapperfest is cruel and unusual.
posted by nevercalm at 8:32 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, Turtle Man.
posted by nevercalm at 8:34 AM on September 11, 2011


Just as well, or we would be awash in ducks.

On reflection, even this is probably not true. Having wiped out all their predators we should be awash in deer, but human hunters take care of that situation. The same solution would probably apply to ducks. If you are a member of a species that has to be culled, would you prefer to cull infants or adults? I could see that argument swinging either way.

My point with this contrarianism isn't to say that the festival is anything other than senseless and stupid, but that appeals to human morality and empathy don't always map neatly to natural reality. An interesting little online SF story about such a conflict is Eliezer Yudkowsky's Three Worlds Collide.
posted by localroger at 8:34 AM on September 11, 2011


cruelty laws do not apply to wild animals.

I worry about the kind of minds that come up with this line of "reasoning".
posted by elizardbits at 8:35 AM on September 11, 2011


cruelty laws do not apply to wild animals.

I worry about the kind of minds that come up with this line of "reasoning".


I am not sure, but I would be willing to bet that this is a distinction between domestic animals and wild animals for hunting. You pretty much aren't allowed to chase a dog or a cow around your meadow while trying to shoot it, but you pretty much have to do this to, say, hunt deer. So, animal cruelty laws don't apply to wild animals. I think the application of this reasoning to the current situation is bizarre -- I mean, no one (well, hardly anyone) would condone, say, shooting a deer in the leg and then slowly beating it to death -- but I expect that's where the Indiana DNR is starting from; they don't want to establish a precedent that would conflict with hunting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:05 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would be OK with this if each turtle got one free bite at its abuser. Resetting the price of admission to a finger or a nose would end this "festival" with a quickness.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:41 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
-Ghandi
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:28 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just to offset this behavior by fellow humans, here one can make a donation to the Global Sea Turtle Network.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:29 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have.

...we're a type of ape. Pack living has certainly made us more emotionally sensitive but why should we assume our rudimentary senses of pain and fear (of death) are that much different from the lower orders? God didn't make us out of clay.

Too bad that sadists happen to be good event organizers and too bad the rest of us are so shy.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:30 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are awash in deer. They are the rats of the suburbs.
posted by breath at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am sensitive in a really sick kind of way. I don't mind eating cows or fishies or things that aren't going to hurt me. But I feel queasy about eating alligator or snapping turtles or vicious things that could hurt me. Of course, I realize those giant hogs they raise in the Midwest can be pretty deadly, so maybe I'm just neurotic or weird, not sick.

Nevertheless, how can it be unclear that torturing animals for amusement is not right? I realize I am in morally ambiguous territory, as I sometimes eat meat, and slaughterhouse conditions are pretty torturous, but at least I don't tear the wings off flies.
posted by kozad at 11:42 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any act that involves deliberate torture of another living being is morally repugnant. This event is sick.
posted by studioaudience at 11:53 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


We are awash in deer. They are the rats of the suburbs.

Slight derail, but if you are overrun with deer it's most likely because hunting is too restricted, which is often the case in the woods near suburbs which may have large expanses that are broken up by subdivisions and all too close to human dwellings to allow hunting. It's also a problem when development is in progress and land is being cleared, driving the animals that used to live there to invade other animals' territories.

As a general rule, though, most states use human hunters to control the deer population, adjusting the season dates and permitting process accordingly.
posted by localroger at 12:31 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are awash in deer. They are the rats of the suburbs.

No, the deer are awash in humans. Humans keep building out their territories, and the animals move or are killed.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:49 PM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


We are awash in deer. They are the rats of the suburbs.

No, the deer are awash in humans.


I think you are both correct. I work at a university that is slightly rural -- in a village that is part of a long stretch of semi-contiguous built-up areas, farms, and open land. We have pretty large populations of foxes, skunks, turkeys, deer, and possums (and we are getting more fisher cats and coyotes by the year, it seems). So far, the various populations seem to get along well enough, the animals apparently having sense to keep out of the roads and people having the sense to not pester the animals too much.

Early one morning a few years back, I was on the way to the library sans coffee, and I got into a standoff with a male turkey in full display caught by his reflection in a window. He suspected (I think) that I was another rival for the affections of two slightly confused-looking female turkeys, eying his display with a fair amount of dubiousness, but I was able to talk him down and assure him that, nice as they seemed to be, I had no designs on his hens. Then I went to work, the sun shifted, the reflection disappeared, and the wooing turkeys were displaced by wooing students. It's like the Circle of Life, only more absurd.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:04 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would be OK with this if each turtle got one free bite at its abuser. Resetting the price of admission to a finger or a nose would end this "festival" with a quickness.

Better yet, instead of grabbing the turtle by the tail, they should make the run with the unharmed (but likely riled-up) turtle down their shorts. I think that would address the situation nicely....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:06 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"the size of a coffee table."

One day I was in my parents' front yard (this is the country, their front yard is about an acre of pasture) and I saw what looked like an oval manhole cover.

Intrigued, I ambled down to investigate. That was an error on my part, because once I got down to where the oval manhole cover was, the snapping turtle unleashed about a yard of neck and started honking this dreadful hiss-growl at me. I froze in horror, which was a mistake, as the thing started RUNNING AT ME.

Not all turtles are slow, as it turns out.

So I ran screaming to a fence and climbed as high as I could, while the bad-tempered thing yowled and hissed below me until it got bored and waddled off to the pond.

Hurting them for fun is freakish and psychopathic.
posted by winna at 3:57 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Who cares about reptiles? You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have."

WHO CARES?! I just... wow... Nothing so far in the years of reading here has baffled me like this. And what EMOTION are we talking about here? Pain isn't an emotion. Having your vertebrae pulled apart will cripple you, not hurt your feelings. Reptiles MAY not have emotions (and of this I feel very unsure, having had a very cuddly iguana) but they sure as hell have a nervous system and are capable of feeling PAIN.
The ones void of emotion are those HUMANS, so obviously from the shallow end of either the genepool or the educational system over there.
posted by Zorsha at 4:23 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hay-Zeus, does /anything/ sensible come from Indiana?

Extrapolate much? It's also not so great to insult, oh, about 6 million residents and millions of annual visitors. So, uh, thanks for your contribution to the conversation...?
posted by BlooPen at 5:29 PM on September 11, 2011


"Who cares about reptiles? You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have."

One of my earliest memories is of my uncle and his friends coming over to our house one afternoon. We had a lake in the back where they wanted to go fishing. They didn't find any fish, but they did find a turtle. They dragged it up to the lawn, put it into one of those plastic baby pools (which it nearly filled; it must have been 80+ years old) and messed with it for about an hour before taking an axe to it.

I'll never forget the sounds that creature made for the next few minutes. Afterwards they made "turtle soup" by half-assedly stewing parts of the carcass for a few minutes before dumping the rest of it back in the lake.

Who cares about reptiles indeed.
posted by odinsdream at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2011


I would enjoy this event much more if it involved the participants wading naked through a murky body of water that had an unspecified amount of snapping turtles in it. That would be entertaining.

Though, I think the alligator snapping turtle is a magnificent creature. With the spikes, and the wiggly tongue, and the hiss-growl that sounds like robot dinosaur doomination. If you're not annoying, and not food, they do not care about you one bit. I appreciate that in a reptile.
posted by cmyk at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2011


[horrible unnecessary details] "turtle soup" [must redirect brain]

And then, a la Days of the Turtle/Living Dead, the reanimated and very angry turtle takes its sweet time tracking down said uncle and pals. I believe it's right outside the uncle's door right now, and this ain't gonna be pretty.
posted by HopperFan at 8:17 PM on September 11, 2011


ReeMonster: "Haha, I saw the word "terrified" and immediately knew the "Mefi Douche Contingent" would pounce on it for editorializing."

As much as I may agree with your viewpoint, you just called another member of this community a "douche" solely because you disagree with their (entirely reasonable) opinion. You've also implied that there's an entire group of people on this site whose opinions you don't like, and therefore are bad people.

You're the douche now, dogg!
posted by danny the boy at 8:21 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not about turtles, but this NOVA show about monitor lizards was really great. The American herpetologist in the film who studies lizards in Australia is a very interesting guy. There are couple of scenes where monitor lizards seem to enjoy being petted by humans, so there's that.
posted by sneebler at 9:18 PM on September 11, 2011


As much as I may agree with your viewpoint, you just called another member of this community a "douche" solely because you disagree with their (entirely reasonable) opinion

Sorry no. The turtle is a living thing, and acts the way we and other living things do when being attacked and tortured. To quibble with the word "terrified" is utter douchebaggery - if you want to argue that turtles should be treated like inanimate objects, go for it:
[A] 70-pound Niles soft-shelled turtle named Pigface, had been at the zoo for more than 40 years when he inexplicably began mutilating himself — biting his forelimbs through to the muscle and raking his foreclaws along his neck until he was covered with open sores and infected wounds.

Wondering if the turtle might simply be going crazy with boredom, the researchers started adding toys to his tank: a basketball, floating hoops, sticks, spritzing hoses. Soon the turtle was nosing the ball and pushing it around with his forelimbs, darting through the hoop like a trained seal, grabbing the sticks in his mouth and shaking them back and forth, puppy-style, and playing tug-of-war with the zookeepers over the rubber hose. And the more Pigface played, the less he self-mutilated.
posted by crayz at 9:42 PM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Awful. Seeing the discussion about the loopholes makes me wonder more about PETA. Are they one of those groups that does a lot of work via lawsuits? They appear to have two main strategies: grassroots and "investigations." Anyone know more about their approach? They're trying to change an entire culture, so I'm curious what they consider to be the right leverage points. Do they write legislation? *goes back to reading PETA's website*
posted by salvia at 10:06 PM on September 11, 2011


I was like 'size of a coffee table? pssshhh.' And then I did some looking. Wow.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:21 PM on September 11, 2011


Who cares about reptiles? You guys are projecting emotions onto these things that they probably don't have. How is this any worse then catching and releasing fish?

Firstly, me. Secondly, you should bold and italicize that "probably", because it's a pretty big one. Thirdly, it being "worse" than catching and releasing a fish would only be relevant if people stepped up and said "Catching and releasing fish is okay but doing it to turtles is wrong", which I don't believe anybody has done. It may well be the case, as it is with me, that I think both things are equally shitty.
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:11 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nasty people used to go sometimes to a favorite place of my childhood. A pond hidden behind an orchard. The nasty people went there with bb guns and shot frogs, for no reason whatever. This is one reason I am not a people person. Frogs always smile at me, and make me feel welcome when I visit their homes. Can't say the same about people.

Turtles? Gee, people find it simple to be mean to them. More fun to help them out when they need. No point in doing otherwise that I can imagine, except if you need to eat one.
posted by Goofyy at 3:29 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though, I think the alligator snapping turtle is a magnificent creature. With the spikes, and the wiggly tongue, and the hiss-growl that sounds like robot dinosaur doomination.

The eyes. Don't forget the eyes!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:19 AM on September 12, 2011




We are awash in deer. They are the rats of the suburbs.

No, the deer are awash in humans.

I think you are both correct.


They are...kind of. Deer are not awash in humans, humans have been a deer predator for thousands of years and have affected the evolution of this species. However, the suburbs push out other predators like wolves and coyotes and agriculture further increases the population by providing ample easily-digestible food. Of course than the farmers are in a battle with the deer, killing them and poisoning them to keep them away from the crops, which drives them into neraby burbs where people aren't willing to do that and where deer can drive on trash. I definitely recommend Richard K. Nelson's Heart and Blood for more info about this.
posted by melissam at 8:38 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


A number of years ago I was driving on a patch of highway to my parents' house, and came across a turtle walking in the middle of the road. I pulled over and tried to move it to the side of the road, but it was insistent on walking back onto the highway. Since my parents lived near a rural swampy area, I put it in my car. After about 30 miles of this large-ish turtle climbing all over me, onto my shoulder, basically anywhere nut on the floor, I pulled over and put it in my trunk. I distinctly remember looking down as it climbed up the front of my shirt and being face to face with it.

I only found out after I arrived that I had apparently been handling a snapping turtle, and a relative pointed out the alligator like tail. I don't know how I escaped getting bit while driving. I was apparently too oblivious to feel threatened, and it never hissed at me or indicated it was angry.

So, maybe I have a soft spot for turtles. I would not want to even know anyone that would do something like this. These people are twisted.
posted by polywomp at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
-Ghandi


Wikiquote lists this one as "Disputed." ("Widely attributed to Gandhi, sometimes citing Ramachandra Krishna Prabhu, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism (1959), but not verified.")
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2011


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
-Attribution in dispute. The wisdom of its message, less so.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:17 AM on September 12, 2011


I think you are both correct.

They are...kind of.


Uhhm, yes, of course we are both correct. It's the same statement with a reversed perspective. All I meant to do was tease out the idea, or question, of automatically placing the import of human life over all other life in the world
posted by P.o.B. at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2011


The risk of injury to the turtles is a fact. As for fear, it's a matter of opinion whether reptiles feel it, but as others have pointed out fear is a very primal emotion and if I were a betting man I'd wager that (at least some) reptiles feel fear. Have you ever seen/heard captured baby crocodiles vocalizing to summon their mother to come to their aid? I'd think repeatedly (essentially) crying "Mommy!" after a strange hairless ape has captured you is a pretty good indication of fear.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:14 AM on September 13, 2011


"captured baby crocodiles --- crying "Mommy!" --- a pretty good indication of fear."

And it's SUCH a sweet, baby-like little cry too!
posted by Zorsha at 7:20 AM on September 13, 2011


Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.
Leon: What do you mean, I'm not helping?
Holden: I mean: you're not helping! Why is that, Leon?
posted by Snyder at 10:14 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And one day, without warning, something grabs you and sucks you beneath the surface, clamped in a pincer like beak that crushes your bones as you drown, the light receding as you are dragged to the bottom. Up at the surface your mother now only has five fuzzy chicks to tend. She hatched eight. Only two of your siblings will survive to have ducklings of their own one day.

I don't always like that nature is red in tooth and claw, but I respect the fact that grasshoppers and worms and maybe even cute fuzzy ducklings are the food supply of something else, and that the process of becoming a meal isn't always a humane one.

I also, however, think that the distinctions between toy and meal -- and between people and nature -- deserve at least as much respect, along with the ethic of avoiding inflicting suffering, particularly for no apparent purpose higher than entertainment.
posted by weston at 5:00 PM on September 14, 2011


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