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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Our treatment of animals (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicfish
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Fascinating lady.
Melies
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Rather late to this forum....But it was a little curious to me that no one mentioned the continuing widespread, routine abuses of animals by magicians! Keeping rabbits inside small dark cages, pulling doves out of one's sleeve (oops--broken wing, sorry), producing goldfish out of one's mouth (yes, they have consciousness, emotions, and so on--or so all the evidence suggests), etc., is very troubling to me and to other at least a few other magicians I know. My own theory about magicians and live animal production is that we men have always envied women the ability to perform *real* magic--creating life. (If you've ever seen a "baby production" by a female magician in a maternity ward, you'll know what I mean.) But I think it's time to lay that to rest. I have friends who employ, say, rabbits in their acts, and they treat them nicely at home--even though I think it's awful to keep rabbits and other small mammals and avians in small containers, transporting them around like props, etc. The problem is that as long as animals only have the status of property, of objects, there is always going to be abuse, callousness, neglect, etc. Surely we can do great, mind-blowing magic without live animal productions. It'd be nice to think we were moving in that direction, anyway.
imgic
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My assistant and I use to do the "baby production" routine. But we could only take a booking once every nine months.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
stoneunhinged
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Right.
RNK
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Quote:
On Mar 17, 2014, Natural Mystic wrote:
Should meat eaters be concerned about animal welfare? I haven't seen any animal willingly go into the slaughter house.

Just sayin'


Absolutely not! Medium Rare and I'm a happy camper!
Starrpower
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We hold animals to a higher standard than people even though they don't have near the mental capacity. An animal who bites someone can be put to death. The actions of a human who kills someone can be determined "justifiable" and walks free.

People who abuse animals and children disgust me.
Andrew Zuber
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Quote:
On Mar 16, 2015, Melies wrote:
Rather late to this forum....But it was a little curious to me that no one mentioned the continuing widespread, routine abuses of animals by magicians! Keeping rabbits inside small dark cages, pulling doves out of one's sleeve (oops--broken wing, sorry), producing goldfish out of one's mouth (yes, they have consciousness, emotions, and so on--or so all the evidence suggests), etc., is very troubling to me and to other at least a few other magicians I know. My own theory about magicians and live animal production is that we men have always envied women the ability to perform *real* magic--creating life. (If you've ever seen a "baby production" by a female magician in a maternity ward, you'll know what I mean.) But I think it's time to lay that to rest. I have friends who employ, say, rabbits in their acts, and they treat them nicely at home--even though I think it's awful to keep rabbits and other small mammals and avians in small containers, transporting them around like props, etc. The problem is that as long as animals only have the status of property, of objects, there is always going to be abuse, callousness, neglect, etc. Surely we can do great, mind-blowing magic without live animal productions. It'd be nice to think we were moving in that direction, anyway.

I think you're overthinking it. I've known a number of magicians who treat their animals incredibly well, both onstage and off. I certainly don't use animals in my act because I'm envious of a woman's ability to reproduce. I love working with animals, spending time with them, training them, and spoiling them every chance I get. If there was ever an instance where I even remotely suspected an animal was uncomfortable or unhappy, I would stop immediately.

Not to sound like a hippy, but when you spend enough time with an animal, it will tell you what it wants and doesn't want. I put my pets above me because they make me happy and I want to do everything I can to take good care of them. They deserve it.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Melies
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I can tell that you really do care about the animals you employ in your acts, Andrew, and I applaud you for that. But the problem is that not everybody else does. I'm not convinced I'm overthinking this. Doves and rabbits don't want to be put inside small dark spaces, which is why magicians use force to put them there and keep them there. Nonhuman beings cannot consent to being in magic shows, or hauling artillery during wartime, or pulling plows, etc. The fact is that such animals are being used to heighten a performance, to represent a magical moment which they don't understand. And most small mammals and avians, from what I have seen, would prefer to be at home in a familiar place, not shunted around in a van and then "produced" before wildly cheering hominids!
RNK
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Quote:
On Apr 8, 2015, Melies wrote:
Doves and rabbits don't want to be put inside small dark spaces


If you know anything about rabbits they LIKE small dark enclosed places. Especially when sleeping- gives them a sense of security. A simple google search will tell you this!
magicfish
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Doves and rabbits love small dark places.
ZachDavenport
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Quote:
On Mar 17, 2014, Natural Mystic wrote:
Should meat eaters be concerned about animal welfare? I haven't seen any animal willingly go into the slaughter house.

Just sayin'

They should be killed humanely. It does not torture the animal for it to be my burger. It is completely different than abuse or dog fighting. Just for interesting discussion: Why do we get so upset about animals being killed and abused, and then squash a spider or cockroach without a second thought? They are in the animal kingdom as well.
Reality is a real killjoy.
Melies
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Is it "humane" to kill a perfectly healthy young animal? Personally, I don't think so, and I think it's perverse when we conjoin those two words together, "humane" and "killing." The only humane killing is euthanasia, and then only when we euthanize a being we care deeply about whom we wish to spare the final agonies and humiliation of death throes. Animal agriculture is destroying the planet's biosphere, and it is completely unjust to the animals we cruelly kill--50,000,000,000 mammals and avians each year, and another estimated 100,000,000,000 sea animals. There is nothing humane about it, and there is nothing necessary or natural about it. We are the only animals on earth who chooses to kill, then invents excuses to justify our atrocious behavior afterwards! As Mephistopheles remarks to God, in "Faust,"
"The little god of earth remains the same queer sprite / As on the first day, or in primal light. / His life would be less difficult, poor thing,ithout your gift of heavenly glimmering; / He calls it Reason, using light celestial / Just to outdo the beasts in being bestial."

Regarding rabbits and doves in small dark places, sure, sometimes they choose to go in such places. My point is that they do not choose to go up the magicians' sleeve, or his change box. They get put there. Sometimes I like to crawl into bed, too, but I wouldn't like it if some giant grabbed me in the middle of my lunch and tucked me into his pocket whenever he wanted to.
ZachDavenport
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If you don't think that consuming animals is natural, you really need to do some research. We may do it a little differently, but killing other animals for food is perfectly natural. We are omnivores by nature.
Reality is a real killjoy.
landmark
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Natural? Is that a relevant word for this discussion?

Killing occurs in nature, true. By definition, then, it is natural. Does this justify war? Murder?

We need to look elsewhere for the moral parameters of our behavior.
ZachDavenport
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True, but morality is a subject that we can't go into detail here. I think eating animals is ok, because the Bible says it is, but some people disagree with that reason, and rules here prohibit us from arguing about it.
Reality is a real killjoy.
S2000magician
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On Apr 10, 2015, Melies wrote:
We are the only animals on earth who chooses to kill . . . .

You're kidding, yes?

If memory serve, there are a few other carnivores out there, all of which choose to kill.
landmark
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Just remember--we are the only species with belly button piercings...and the only one to trap farts under a blanket to paralyze one's prey.
It makes you wonder.
Melies
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Landmark, I like your ontology...! And yes, you're right, the word "natural" cannot become a place-holder for "what is necessary" or "what is right." If it is "natural" for me to kill and eat my cat, then presumably I am acting "unnaturally" by refraining from doing so.

S2000, my point was that we *choose* to kill and eat other animals, when we don't have to, whereas other animals are either obligate carnivores who have to eat others to survive, or omnivores who eat what is available, period, without making a conscious moral choice of what to eat one way or another. We have the ability to reflect, to modify our behavior, to take into account the interests of others, etc., all of which makes us morally responsible for our actions.
stoneunhinged
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Well I guess that means you ain't no Aristotelian, Melies. Probably not a Straussian, either.

Have you ever read the book, "Natural Law for Dummies"?

It's popular here at the Café, but over in the vents forum.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On Apr 11, 2015, Melies wrote:
S2000, my point was that we *choose* to kill and eat other animals, when we don't have to, whereas other animals are either obligate carnivores who have to eat others to survive, or omnivores who eat what is available, period, without making a conscious moral choice of what to eat one way or another. We have the ability to reflect, to modify our behavior, to take into account the interests of others, etc., all of which makes us morally responsible for our actions.

You seem to think that it's immoral to kill an animal and eat it.

Many disagree.
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