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p.b.jones
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"IT TAKES HUNDREDS OF YEARS FOR A SPECIES TO ADAPT TO A NEW ENVIRONMENT!!!"

Hi,

Surely we have caged birds for hundreds of years?

phillip
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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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.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Jason Wethington
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Orlando, Fl
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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.

Jason
Dave Scribner
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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.
Where the magic begins
EricHenning
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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>
DVA
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Quote:
EricHenning wrote:
I am planning to train my new Mini Rex for the act, and see how he does.


Please tell me it's not a mini T Rex. Smile
latentimage
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Jason,

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.

Respectfully,
Allen
"Come to the edge," he said, They Said "We Are Afraid," "Come to the edge," he said, They Came, He Pushed Them...And They Flew. -Apollinaire

"If there be a skeptical star, I was born under it. Yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment." -W. MacNeile Dixon
dove-boy
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Joe Yu (Stage Name)
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"...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. Smile
Dave Scribner
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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.
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MDS
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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.

MDS
Matthew David Stanley,
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Bob Sanders
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Dove-boy,

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.

Bob
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latentimage
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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.

Allen
"Come to the edge," he said, They Said "We Are Afraid," "Come to the edge," he said, They Came, He Pushed Them...And They Flew. -Apollinaire

"If there be a skeptical star, I was born under it. Yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment." -W. MacNeile Dixon
NJJ
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Quote:
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?
damien666
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canada
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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.
Bob Sanders
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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.

Bob
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