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Topic: Cruelty to Animals
Message: Posted by: Kingry (May 20, 2003 07:11PM)
I am so sick of all the **** regarding dove magic being cruelty to animals. Has anyone checked the average life span of a dove in the wild? My birds are pampered with their favorite foods, have lots of playtime, and a cage larger than some rooms I have stayed in.

If my birds were so unhappy, why do they stay with me when released from their cage? We enjoy being on stage, and that's not natural. Who can say that our birds do not enjoy it equally?
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (May 20, 2003 09:51PM)

I am glad you take care of your birds. I know most animal owners do care about their animals.

Your post is exactly the reason I asked people to stop and think about what we do.

People shouldn’t put their feelings onto animals, i.e. “enjoying being on stage.”
That is being anthropomorphic.

You cannot tell me that your bird "enjoys" being on stage. You cannot tell me it is
"happy" being in a cage. You can't tell me those things because you are human and not a bird.

What is your basis to make the determination? You would be happy living in a cage? You would be happy being in a bag to be produced for others' enjoyment? You can make those choices can't you? What if you couldn't? Would it still be enjoyable, would you still be happy?

Any time an animal is taken out of its habitat, it is cruel. Are you saying because an animal has a short lifespan in the wild it deserves to be in a cage? By the way, life spans can range between 1 and 1.5 years in areas where doves are hunted, and to between 7 and 11 years in areas where they are not. These figures are for mourning doves in the United States. Other species in other areas have comparable life expectancies. The longevity of an animal in captivity is much longer (generally) because we remove the threat of predation and most diseases.

Just for the record, I am NOT an animal activist. I own animals; in fact I have two Goffins Cockatoos, an Iguana, two cats and a dog. I love all of them. I don't, however, say that my animals "love" me back. I know my animals stay with me because I am their source of food and shelter. I enjoy their companionship and I think that most of the time they tolerate me (at least the cats anyway).

Throughout history, it has been deemed as acceptable to keep many things "caged" including other humans. Time has proven those practices as barbaric and cruel. Why is this situation any different? Perhaps in 100 years, our children’s children will think it barbaric to keep exotic animals as pets.

Again, I am asking that we reconsider what we are doing.

Just because it is accepted doesn’t mean it is right.

Just something to think about.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 21, 2003 05:55AM)
Jason: Good points but I think it depends on what you call cruel. White doves will not and cannot survive on their own in the wild so wouldn't it be cruel to release them into it rather than keep them protected in cages? Their natural habitat is a cage or aviary. They are not wild birds. When they're sick or injured, we take care of them. They wouldn't get that attention in the wild. I'd call that humane, not cruel.

Why is it alright to keep a dog on a leash or tied up in the back yard but not a bird in a cage? Are your cockatoos and iguana free to roam the house and neighborhood? If not, isn't that a double standard?

My cats, rabbits and birds come to me on their own and sit with me. Wouldn't you consider that a form of "love" rather than toleration?

I don't think my birds give a hoot (no pun intended) whether they are produced for the entertainment of others or not. They feel safe with me and in my opinion, safety, love, attention and affection are anything but cruel.

Of course, if you keep the birds in a cramped cage or dark room for example, that's a whole different topic to be discussed.
Message: Posted by: Kingry (May 21, 2003 08:51AM)
Jason, how can you say that they don't enjoy being on stage? Would I be happy being produced out of a bag? Ever owned a sub trunk? Tough trick on the old body, but what a rush.

I sometimes think my birds know the act better than I do. I only use one invisible harness, but I don't even pull the dove. When she feels me go for the loop, she basically jumps into my hand for the split. Beats the heck out of being eaten for dinner, which is what my first pair were raised for by their previous owner.
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (May 21, 2003 12:47PM)
The reason white doves cannot survive is because we have bred them to be white (no camouflage). The same thing is true for white tigers and lions. They are genetic anomalies. They are designed NOT to survive. Natural selection would not have allowed them to survive. Instead we put them in cages and breed them to be as perfectly white as we can for our purposes.

Who allowed them to become that way? People did, Dave. Is it cruel that we took them out of their natural habitat at some point and not allowed them to live out their own existence?

Is it ok because we weren't the ones who did it?

Is it cruel to keep a dog on a leash? Maybe. Is it cruel to keep a dog tied up in the backyard? Yes it is. Absolutely. The reason we have leash laws is for protection. We don't want dogs that are violent running loose. We have put a higher value on humans than on animals. Is it wrong to euthanize an animal? Yes it is.

To keep a bird in a cage is cruel. They aren't free. Just because we bred them to be like that doesn't mean it is right.

My animals are in cages (well not the cats or dog). Is it a double standard? Probably. I ask for better treatment of animals yet I keep two parrots and an Iguana in cages. I know that the animals can't survive in the wild any more. They depend on me for food and shelter. Putting them into the wild would be a death sentence. I know that I can give them a good home where they will be taken care of and loved. Like I said, it is a necessary evil of our society because of the ignorance of others we have to have animals in cages and zoos.

By the way, none of my animals were purchased. They were all orphaned or, in the case of the cockatoos, were going to live out their entire lives without ever flying again.

The birds are allowed to fly around my house. The cats are able to roam the house, as is the dog (who also goes outside). The Iguana has a very large cage with a tree inside.

They come to me because I give them food, protection and shelter. I cannot say that is "love" as you and I understand it. No more than I can say that when a dog barks at me he "hates" me.

My issue goes deeper than accepted practices of keeping animals. That is the problem. We keep animals that are wild in cages. We keep anomalies in cages because we put a value on them. We breed an animal until it is physiologically dependent on us and that is ok?

I can't say that they don't enjoy it any more than you can say they do. No, I have never owned a sub trunk because I am claustrophobic. Your birds may know the routine better than you but that doesn't mean that they enjoy it.

I have friends that raise birds of prey and feed them frozen chicks and quail. I don't think that is right either.

As far as doves being a prey item in the wild, I didn't invent the food chain or the ecosystem. I am glad you chose to save them from being "just meat."

Just because something is accepted doesn't mean it is right.

Message: Posted by: highmagic (May 22, 2003 05:18AM)
The concept of "cruelty to animals" is linked to their state of captivity. The reactions of an audience gasping after the production of a rabbit from a top hat are similar to me as the ones of people viewing a rare animal in a zoo. Very sad.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 22, 2003 06:49AM)
So, to end cruelty to animals, I guess everyone worldwide needs to stop breeding animals of any type and animals in a zoo should not be allowed to mate. Once all existing household or zoo animals are depleted, every animal would be free to live or die in it's natural habitat.

Unrealistic? Absolutely. But if it were possible, would we have to make exceptions? What about seeing eye dogs, or farm animals? Do we stop raising cattle and sheep for meat (I guess vegetarians would say yes).

Back to the magic world, all of my birds were born in captivity. None of them have ever been free and therefore know nothing different. I believe for them, they are in their habitat.

I do agree that bringing a free animal into captivity could be considered cruel.

Regardless of what we think or say here, as long as audiences approve, magicians will always produce rabbits and birds or the occasional big cat and zoos will continue to exist.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (May 22, 2003 08:53AM)
"You cannot tell me that your bird 'enjoys' being on stage. You cannot tell me it is
"happy" being in a cage. You can't tell me those things because you are human and not a bird."

But for exactly the same reason you cannot say that the animal is unhappy or does not like it, as that would also be based on your personal human feeling.

I am not taking sides here - just looking at both sides of the argument.

As you will see from my posts on bunnies, I am very fussy about my rabbits and I would never bag one or produce or vanish one in a prop that requires the rabbit to tip, spin or fall.

If you go to my website (click photograph link at bottom of home page) you will see that my bunnies come in the house through the cat flap (I have 3 cats and 3 rabbits)and will voluntarily get up on me and lie down. I do not think that they would be quite so friendly if they disliked how I treated them.

Message: Posted by: paraguppie (May 22, 2003 01:04PM)

I am looking for a pair of doves at this time, and I currently own a cat. I don't know about the doves, but I am POSITIVE that my cat likes me, if not LOVES me. Why? Maybe because I feed it and shelter it. That could be, but maybe it's how I treat the animal. How do I know it likes me? It will crawl up on my lap and purr like a Ferrari. I think if the cat was just here for the food, I would not get attention like that.

As for the rest of the world's pets...that would be a case-by-case basis to see if the animal is "happy." I am positive that the owner of the animal can have at least a pretty good idea of how the animal feels towards the owner. I know I can. Just my two cents worth.

Message: Posted by: SnakeBabe (May 23, 2003 11:25PM)
Since I am a performer known for animals, I cannot pass this up...

I would like to start by offering this selection from my website...

"Lions and Tigers and birds oh my!

Entertainers use them and I really mean USE them. In many cases animals are not much more than an inanimate tool to be discarded when it breaks. NOT all magicians but a large enough number of them which pushes me to say this publicly. If an animal has to be starved or hit to make it work for a trick then it is best not to do that trick. I refuse to do dove magic that requires a dove or any bird being subject to the heat of a body load or from stage lights for extended periods of time. The living conditions for these birds that have to travel are more times than not, cramped and over crowded. Fresh air, natural sunlight, healthy diet, mental stimulation is little or none at all.

My dove (which was left for dead in a shower stall after a magic show) has a great personality loves to cuddle and flies to me every time I let it out of its cage and I feed her twice daily. Starvation is not in my vocabulary. Tigers rarely have the space or freedom needed to live a happy life in circuses or magic shows. Of course as I mentioned there are exceptions but typically the minimums in space and food are all that is given."

(And you guys thought my site was just pictures, LOL.)

Jason, I do agree with you on so many of your points.

I would like to add I believe that each animal according to its own intelligence has its own understanding of what life is.
Born in captivity, your iguana never knew freedom and chances are does not pine for it. In a proper cage environment, it may lead a content life. It may not have freedom but it also does not know freedom or the fear of attack or being eaten. My iguana has access to fresh air, sunlight, healthy food, mental stimulation and medical needs, all for the price of letting a few children pet her or crawling on me for a photo every now and then. Although not a perfect world, not a bad trade off considering when I got her she had 4 broken and fractured legs from Metabolic bone disease.

Humans are also more intelligent and we can step in and protect, knowing freedom in this country is a death sentence, as our climate would kill them. It is simply making the best of a bad situation.

I also believe dogs are capable of love and are not just reacting to you as a food source. You can starve a dog and it will still give its life for you if it loves you. For that same reason I believe a dog CAN enjoy performing. They bond to their owners/masters and show time is playtime.

Again, on my site I offer this...

“This leads me to animals that do well in show. Dogs for example have a great time performing. They can be trained to the point that show time for us is play time for them. Have you ever seen Dogs backstage prior to show time? They are all excited and ready to go. Jumping and barking and ready to take on the world. Almost oblivious to the
"audience," their wide emotional content allows them to play. This makes dogs special as performers.

My parrots are a different story. They do enjoy interacting with me and show time has been fun time. Their intelligence is so great in comparison to a dove I can work that to their advantage.

My birds are fed healthy food twice daily and never starved. But I do withhold snack foods until show time to make it fun for them. They fly back to me every time. Again, I say the traumas of the wild in a trade off for performing may be welcome in the more intelligent of animals.

Considering my entire collection of 40 animals are rescues from pet shops, left for dead at veterinarian offices or police depts., this is a step up from where they once were.

I do not perform dove magic (sorry guys), but I find it impossible to the mentality of a dove to find being stuffed in a bag as fun. I can't count how many times I am sweating my butt off backstage in the heat of the lights standing next to a magician fully loaded with doves who is waiting for the act performing to exit the stage. Acts never run on time, we all know that. Can any dove magician in this forum say they are not guilty of this? Poor doves. As always, I do know there are exceptions. This is all based on my personal experience.

As for work, I also would like everyone to remind performers to never overwork your animals.

I have 17 snakes and each one works approximately once a week for about an hour at 20-minute sets - that’s it. So I do believe it is possible to get a performing ethic going on SOME animals, but I wish these animals were never sold in pet shops in the first place.

This is a great discussion and I hope I have added something to the mix. I could go on and on but let’s all learn from one another, shall we?!

Hugs and Hissessss,
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 24, 2003 03:19PM)
Maria: I think you've captured the essence of all the posts in this thread. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

Just one clarifying point that seems to get into every post. A "good" dove worker does not "stuff" his birds into a bag. Many do, but I don't consider them "good." My birds sit comfortably in a dove bag with plenty of air for them. I don't load them until just before I go on stage. I may be the exception, but I've seen many magicians care for their birds the same way.
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 24, 2003 10:31PM)
There are a few bad apples out there. But for the most part, I have never met a performer who works with animals who does not care deeply about his non-human partners. I know that working with my bunny has changed me very much. Performers who work with animals experience a deep and profund bond that most pet owners will never know.
Message: Posted by: SnakeBabe (May 25, 2003 07:10PM)
Hi Zack,

Unfortunately I have very few positive experiences with performers and their animals. I will share a few examples.

One magician kept his snake in a road case for six weeks. No access to fresh air or sunlight. The box was no larger than a suitcase, for a 7-8 foot python. He overworked this one snake for six shows a night, 7 nights a week. When he saw me backstage, he tried to impress upon me that the box is insulated to keep the snake warm. This to me only showed ignorance of reptiles in that they do not generate body heat as warm-blooded mammals do. They become the temperatures of the room around them. That places this snake in a cold temp at night situation that is terribly unhealthy, especially after eating. He went on to inform me that since it is a snake, it only needs to eat every other month. For everyone’s information, pythons should be fed every 10-14 days. There was not heat source or humidity for this tropical animal. I left in disgust.

Moving along, example #2: Over a dozen doves kept outdoors in cages during the heat of summer here in Las Vegas with little shelter from sunlight. I found myself sneaking water from a nearby dog bowl to give it to the birds who were lying on the floor of the cage that had empty water bottles. I later heard they died from dehydration.

Example #3: During a two-week run, a duck kept backstage in an air conditioned area with a vent blowing directly on it. It was in a plastic kennel carrier with no room to even move left to right. The duck did not have the ability to even turn around. There was no access to water other than a small bowl for drinking that was polluted with feces. The cage reeked. I would secretly change the water when I had access.

I could go on about rabbits in 2x2 wire floor cages for years on cruise ships or dogs dying from heat in outdoor shows in the midwest sun, but I trust I have made my point. Although I do not claim this to be the case with ALL magicians, it is my experience. Take it for what you will. It is my experience that pushes me to speak as I do.

For anyone who knows of my work or Steven’s, I am sure you are well aware we do not take much in life very seriously. When it comes to animals we draw the line, and that is why on my websites and in forums I try to persuade performers to never use animals.

Sorry to be a bummer but I am glad to hear that you care for your pets and I thank you for being a responsible pet owner.

Hugs and Hissessss,
Message: Posted by: DJ Trix (May 25, 2003 10:04PM)
I have smokers in my family. Is it bad for my doves if someone smokes in the room where I am training?

I have seen many magicians preform cig. manip. in a dove act or add doves in a card and cig. act. Is that ok?

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 26, 2003 07:38AM)
DJ, how do you feel when you're in a room with smokers? Is it harder for you to breathe? As I've mentioned many times before, I may go overboard with the treatment of my doves but I treat them like people. So for me, smoking in a room with the birds is a no no. Fortunately there are no smokers in my family so I don't have the problem.
Message: Posted by: R2 (May 26, 2003 07:54AM)
The Creator balances his checkbook always...!

Life is held together by chains made from Karma...!

Yes, it even applies to small creatures we call animals....BEWARE!


Truly yours in all things Magic, rr.
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (May 26, 2003 11:30AM)
Maria, great posts! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

It is very dangerous for your birds to be around smoke or fumes of any kind. They are extremely susceptible to toxic fumes. In fact aerosols, household cleaners, and some air and clothes fresheners (Febreeze comes to mind) are bad. There are cases in which the use of these products around birds has resulted in death.

The people that smoke need to either do it outside (or better yet quit while they are still alive) and the doves need to be moved to a properly ventilated area.

How long have people been smoking in the house where you keep the doves? You might need to clean the house thoroughly (with the birds outside if possible, weather and temperature permitting), as there will be a residue buildup on the walls and in the furniture that can present a health risk to them.

If you want a list of products that are bad for your birds, do a quick GOOGLE search as there is plenty of information out there.

Message: Posted by: DJ Trix (May 26, 2003 03:32PM)
But doesn't Lance Burton exhale smoke to make a candle vanish more magically and a dove is then produced from the silk? I was told from someone that Lance uses puff puff cigs though...

Thanks, they're now in my room...
Message: Posted by: highmagic (May 29, 2003 03:56AM)
...all of my birds were born in captivity. None of them have ever been free and therefore know nothing different. I believe for them, they are in their habitat.

To say I respectfully disagree is quite an understatement.


A bird in a cage goes totally against its nature!!
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 29, 2003 05:44AM)
Highmagic, there's no reason you can't disagree with my opinion. That's what makes the Café what it is. This entire thread is all based on opinion. Some find nothing wrong with raising and using the birds as we do while others strongly are opposed to it. Neither opinion is going to change based on what is said here but it's interesting to see how people feel about the subject.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (May 29, 2003 07:02AM)


Surely we have caged birds for hundreds of years?

Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (May 29, 2003 09:02AM)
Not only have we had caged birds for hundreds of years (actually a couple of thousand of years!), we have domesticated animals for thousands of years. Some animals have even ceased to exist in the wild and only exist as domestic partners to humans.

Depending on the species you are talking about, evolutionary adaptation can occur in just a generation or two.

Keeping a domestic animal is not cruelty in and of itself. Cruelty is the mistreatment of that animal causing it pain and discomfort.

Cruelty is not limited to magicians and their performing partners. However, since we are magicians and this is a forum for magicians, I think it behooves us to address the ethical treatment of our animal performing partners. We have had many examples of cruelty given right here on this thread. The mental images make me cringe. I think that the examples given by Maria are clear to everyone. I don’t think that any reader would argue that her examples are not cruel.

However, what is not as clear is if a well-designed apparatus is inherently cruel. Is a double dove production frame cruel to the doves, how about the old dove pan? Are the various and well-designed production bags cruel? Maybe they are.

Perhaps each and every animal production, vanish, or whatever, needs be closely evaluated with an eye to the discomfort or outright pain that might be caused to our animal partners.

Evaluating the props does not even address the “backstage” life and treatment of the animals. A performer may go to great lengths to have the best, most humane, and comfortable equipment for his animals, and still neglect or abuse them at home. Inadequate space and nutrition needs being the top of the list. Poor stimulation and limited opportunities to properly exercise are other issues.

The bottom line is that our animal performing partners are owed a safe and healthy environment both on and off stage. Frankly, some people should not have any animals, as they cannot make the commitment necessary to properly care for them.

I would hate to see the use of animals fall from the entertainment industry. I would hate to see the trained dog and horse acts go by the wayside. I would hate more to have any animal suffer for my entertainment.
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (May 29, 2003 10:28AM)
Well said Harry,

In my original retort, my whole point was that we should rethink things. A performer may be very careful about placing a dove into a bag or into his vest, but he/she is still placing a bird into a bag and into a vest. A person might not be cruel to the animal before or after, but it is the method that is cruel...in my opinion of course.

Concerning domesticated animals, it has been shown that domesticated animals are mentally and physiologically different from their wild brethren.

The Egyptians were some of the first to keep birds, they trained Lanner falcons to hunt, and the Mongolians trained Golden Eagles to hunt wolves. These animals have never been domesticated. Parrots have been in captivity for a very long time as well (the exact length is debatable). They are not domesticated either. Many animals that we keep as pets are not domesticated. I cannot fathom a cage EVER being a natural habitat for a bird.

Dave may be right, that no one will change what they are doing, but if one person sees things in a new light, then this thread was worth it.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 29, 2003 11:06AM)
Jason: I absolutely agree with your last statement and that's the nice thing about being able to express one's opinion. It gives everyone a chance to think about what is being said and evaluate for himself based on his own personal habits.

Perhaps a viewpoint will change. It may be a person who sees things from your point of view with animal safety in mind or it may be an animal worker who will rethink what he is doing. Who's to say? In any event, I agree that this thread has been worthwhile and has brought out a lot of good points on both sides.
Message: Posted by: EricHenning (Oct 23, 2004 12:06PM)
I agree that we must think carefully before adding animals or birds to an act. When you take another creature into your home, you are essentially adding a new family member and a lifetime commitment.

We got our first rabbit from a friend who was managing a pet store and who was desperately trying to find homes for the leftover (post-Easter) bunnies who were scheduled to be killed. We took in a male Netherland Dwarf and when I found he did not have a "people" personality (i.e.; was not trainable to be around people and therefore not suitable for the act), we kept him as a companion pet. He passed away two months ago at the ripe old age of 11 years.

I have a friend in magic (he is well-known) who used to have an act filled with ducks and geese. He and his wife built a heated house with a heated pool for the birds, and even put in a metal floor to keep out the weasels. This magician would actually spend hours observing the birds to make sure that they formed healthy social groups. When it came time to change the act, they found farm homes for every one of those birds.

Bottom line, I think it is possible to keep pets with care and compassion and I also believe that many domesticated animals like having a "job." We have a cat who does sentry duty at dawn and dusk; another cat whose job is to groom the bunnies - yes, they get along well and seem to enjoy each other. This cat even learned not to paw at the bunnies, but to bump noses like they do!

I have met bunnies who really are shy and others who really like being around people. The second kind can be a real asset in a show, if treated well.

I am planning to train my new Mini Rex for the act, and see how he does. I suspect he'll be a natural at it. I am also hoping to add a message about supprting animal shleters in my children's show. As Devant said, "All Done With Kindness."
Just my 2 cents,

PS I don't know about birds, though. You bird people are just NUTS! <G>
Message: Posted by: DVA (Oct 23, 2004 12:49PM)
[quote]EricHenning wrote:
I am planning to train my new Mini Rex for the act, and see how he does.[/quote]

Please tell me it's not a mini [b][i]T[/b][/i] Rex. ;)
Message: Posted by: latentimage (Oct 23, 2004 03:32PM)

Alright, I wasn't going to say anything, but alas I have no choice. Maybe humans should not keep animals at all. Maybe we should let all the dogs, cats, birds, cows, horses, chickens etc. all go? That's a great idea. Let's just let them run all over the place, kill each other, and be run over by cars. While were at it, let's release some tigers and lions too. It's only natural for animals to run from predators. Who are we as arrogant humans to say other wise?

I hate to say this, but guess what? As humans we keep animals around for their usefulness. We keep dogs and cats for companionship. Some people keep seeing-eye dogs to help the blind, some people (like myself) keep horses for riding. This is not to say that I don't love my horse dearly. People who say animals can't or don't love back don't need to have them in the first place. Who are you or anyone else as an arrogant human to think otherwise? My horse does not like going to shows, so I don't take her. We just spend our time together at home. Although she can't talk to me, I am perceptive enough to see this in her, and the day I can't see that anymore will be the day I have to help her find a new home.

As for the doves, I do beleive that my doves like me. They have no problem being placed in a bag and being produced for my audiences. How do I know? Because they let me do it. I wouldn't stick a dove inside a bag that's not willing to be there or who is trying to fight it. Ever seen Gen Grant's birds? Not only do they love him (and it is obvious), but they practically put themselves in the harnesses. I DO NOT use birds that don't want to be produced for several reasons. First off, because I don't want them to do something that they are uncomfortable with, and secondly, they would ruin my show. This is not to say that I do not have birds that don't like to perform. I have several, and they have their own cage, and follow their rigorous schedule of good food, clean water, and playtime.

My advice? If you don't like animal magic, don't read the posts. My fellow bird and animal magicians read and post here to enhance their skill, help others answer questions, and so on. As dove magicians especially, we know that people will be against what we do and call it cruelty. We have accepted that. We have our convictions and we know we treat our birds well and that they are happy. For every person like yourself, there are probably 10 that enjoy the magic and beauty in what we do. If you actually changed anyones mind here, they were probably missing what is required to be an animal magician in the first place, which is understanding of animals. Let this be a safe haven for us outlaws and animal abusers called "Dove magicians". I'm sure you can find a great message board at PETAS website to talk about us on.

Message: Posted by: dove-boy (Oct 25, 2004 01:56PM)
"...Ever seen Gen Grant's birds? Not only do they love him (and it is obvious), but they practically put themselves in the harnesses..."

Actually not all doves enjoy being in the harness. If you have watch the 2 General Grant teach in tapes on the twin doves, one of the dove is SHIVERING non-stop before loading into the bag. If I am the producer, I will edit this portion because I respect & admire General Grant's dove lecture. However the shivering of the dove clearly shows the dove is scare & afraid, seem a little cruelty. Hence this unpleasant moment spoiled the image of General Grant a little. Perhaps if the dove has been treated better, this will not happen. :)
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Oct 25, 2004 02:36PM)
General Grant's doves are in no way ever treated in a cruel manner. The shivering doesn't necessarily mean it was afraid. Surrounding conditions such as a studio or sudden noises can make a dove uneasy for a few minutes. There may have been a slight draft during the filming or the bird may have been coming down with something, unnoticed until the taping, and it may have been the breed of dove (java) used, but you are correct in that some birds are just never ready to enter a harness. Just as some birds never do the toss out and return. They are individuals just like people.
Message: Posted by: MDS (Oct 25, 2004 08:01PM)
I know that my macaw knows that she was born to perform for me. I hand raised her from an egg and she performed for the first time when she was only 10 weeks old. She knows what I am saying when I ask "Are you ready to work?" and she usually responds by dancing around and then climbing into her bag by herself. Maybe I just got lucky and found a bird that truly loves to perform. She is my pet and she is very well taken care of, but she knows what she was born to do.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 25, 2004 09:04PM)

I don't agree. Shivering is a juvenile behavior for Java doves and is very common even in the adults in anticipation of feeding. It is not fear; it is anticipation of getting something. Doves that fear you will fly up, even if it is into another object.

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: latentimage (Oct 25, 2004 11:43PM)
You tell 'em guys. I guarentee that Gen's birds are some of the best treated doves in magic. Anyone who knows him knows that the care and good treatment of his birds is top priority.

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Nov 4, 2004 04:28PM)
On 2003-05-20 20:11, Kingry wrote:
I am so sick of all the **** regarding dove magic being cruelty to animals. Has anyone checked the average life span of a dove in the wild? My birds are pampered with their favorite foods, have lots of playtime, and a cage larger than some rooms I have stayed in.

If my birds were so unhappy, why do they stay with me when released from their cage? We enjoy being on stage, and that's not natural. Who can say that our birds do not enjoy it equally?

Jason, how can you say that they don't enjoy being on stage? Would I be happy being produced out of a bag? Ever owned a sub trunk? Tough trick on the old body, but what a rush.

What has life span have to do with suffering? Just because a dove doesn't live long doesn't mean it can't suffer.

Birds do not leave when they are suffering because they are not smart enough to know the cause of their suffering.

I've seen magicians set fire to their doves, drop their doves still in harnesses on the ground and then step on them, have the fly up into the lighting rig and get burnt on hot lights and have them so frightened of balloons popping that the defecate.

As others have said, birds don't know they are on stage and so the issue is not really whether they are on stage but whether putting them on stage makes them suffer. Many magicians are wonderful with their doves but many are terrible and should not be allowed to have doves.

As for subtrunks, you CHOOSE to be in the trunk. Imagine being locked in there for 30 minutes not knowing when you are going to be released?

We are placing an animal in an unusual situtation that the species is not used to being. I would rather have a world of animal liberationists trying to stop doves being use d then a world where people are commit unspeakable cruelties.

Do birds feel emotion?
Do birds know they are onstage?
Do birds know they being kept in cages?
Do birds reason?

None of these matter. The only question that matters is Do Birds Suffer?
Message: Posted by: damien666 (Nov 4, 2004 06:30PM)
My Personal feelings aside - I think that the main concern dove acts should have is not if they think they are being humane in the treatment of the birds but they should think of how the audience percieves it. Often times, the audience is simply caught up in the magic and don't think of the life of the birds or what goes on behind the scenes. I call this the 'rodeo mentality' - the treatment of the animals is overlooked and the audience is just caught up in the action of it all. Unfortunately for the 'rodeo mentality' things are changing.
Whether you agree with it or not - society is getting more and more concerned with the treatment of animals; and I think things will get more strict in these matters rather than more relaxed when it comes to these beliefs and opinions.
My point: Even if you think that you are being humane to your animals, the audience may picture things differently. If they see you handling the birds in a manner that they deem roughly and cruelly - it doesn't matter what you say to justify your treatment of the animals, the audience will have made up their mind in what they have perceived or seen.
I have seen some of the top dove acts in the world have mishaps during thier acts (ie: invisible harnesses overpulled so the dove is OBVIOUSLY attached to a string - which I have heard the audience cringe and gasp in horror at/ Dove tosses in which the bird flies out and hits the ground (it looks to the audience like the magician threw the bird onto the ground) or when it flies out into the audience or flies away (I have talked to laypeople who think it is because the bird is trying to get away from the magician out of fear; that may not be the case - but that is exactly what the audience percieves)/ Violently placing the birds into the cages onstage (it seems that with a lot of the 'modern dove acts' it is all about being very 'strike-a-pose-y' , fast paced, choppy and almost violent. As soon as the bird is produced, the magician grabs the bird and quickly puts it into the cage (I have seen people cringe at this - it may not cause any harm to the bird, but the audience percieves it as mean)
Sorry if I have been a little long winded - but the argument on this thread has been mainly about the actual treatment - not the percieved treatment; which has more negative impact (if they percieve the act as offensive) on the audience and on the people that pay the magicians salaries.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 4, 2004 11:21PM)
I do not use invisible harnesses. That is not because they cannot be safely used. It is because not everyone can safely use them.

I started and wrote Dove Hotline for many years. (Currently Tony Clark is doing a good job of writing it. I'm working on getting books finished.) But I simply did not want to encourage anyone to do something that, poorly done, would hurt a bird. I have never lost or injured a bird in a show. More importantly, I'm not interested in starting now.

When you see me produce a free bird on stage, it is indeed a free bird. I have done it that way since the 70s.

Audiences think that magicians have good hands. Actually good magicians have both good hands and good hearts. Some do.

Magic By Sander