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Should we domesticate bears, lions, and other beasts?

QinguQingu Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGcM_yLH3D4

So this man apparently has an 800 pound bear as a pet.

Now I know what you're going to say, bears are dangerous, they are wild animals, etc. Fair enough. So are wolves, but we humans figured out how to domesticate wolves and turn them into dogs. Today, many wolves are on the verge of extinction, while dogs are one of the most populous mammals on Earth.

Why not do the same with bears? And lions? And panthers, and other great beasts of legend that are endangered? Who wouldn't love a snow leopard as a pet?

Assuming a future where genetic engineering allows us to do this with little danger to either humans or beasts, would you be in favor?

Qingu on
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Posts

  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yes, because awesome.

    However, bears would probably be pretty expensive to feed. Also certain breeds of dogs like pit bulls are still pretty dangerous even while domesticated; I'd have to imagine bears would be the same way.

    KalTorak on
  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Plus wolves are smaller and relatively easier to handle than bears.

    Wearingglasses on
  • DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    They ban certain types of dogs because they are dangerous.

    I dont think you could ever take that out of a Bear or a Lion. I read something recently where a Lion ate its long time owner. Its their nature and its cruel.

    But Im all for stopping the extinction of these creatures/

    DarkWarrior on
    ...it's in the shape of a giant c**k.
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yes, because both possible outcomes are win:

    a) You end up with an awesome domestuicated animal.
    b) Removal of idiots improves the gene pool.

    Oh, I just saw your sneaky caveat at the end of your post. In that case, I'm going to go with "Fuck no". How about we put some similar resources towads just not killing these animals and we let them live how they want to?

    Fallingman on
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  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    There's a lot of animal rights and obvious safety issues involved in this. I wouldn't be surprised if we only managed to domesticate wolves after quite a few people were eaten by their pets.

    Talleyrand on
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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Yes, because awesome.

    However, bears would probably be pretty expensive to feed. Also certain breeds of dogs like pit bulls are still pretty dangerous even while domesticated; I'd have to imagine bears would be the same way.
    It is my understanding that this is largely a myth.

    If you raise a pit bull correctly, it's not anymore dangerous than a golden retriever. The problem is that most people buy, breed, and raise pitbulls to be vicious guard/attack dogs. The pitbulls that end up in shelters tend to have this upbringing and so act like they were raised.

    I'm sure certain breeds of doggies have natural tendencies to greater extents than others, but it's my understanding that pit bulls get a bad rap. Also they're not very cute or furry, so, yeah.

    Qingu on
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think the greater question is can we domesticate these animals? Remember, domestication is different than taming. They can be tamed, at least certain individual bears and such. Domestication requires a generations-long effort to fundamentally change the nature of the species.

    GoodOmens on
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  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Yes, because awesome.

    However, bears would probably be pretty expensive to feed. Also certain breeds of dogs like pit bulls are still pretty dangerous even while domesticated; I'd have to imagine bears would be the same way.
    It is my understanding that this is largely a myth.

    If you raise a pit bull correctly, it's not anymore dangerous than a golden retriever. The problem is that most people buy, breed, and raise pitbulls to be vicious guard/attack dogs. The pitbulls that end up in shelters tend to have this upbringing and so act like they were raised.

    I'm sure certain breeds of doggies have natural tendencies to greater extents than others, but it's my understanding that pit bulls get a bad rap. Also they're not very cute or furry, so, yeah.

    Pits (as well as rottweilers and dobermans and so forth) are more dangerous in large part because they're so powerful. If a beagle gets pissed off, he nips your ankles. A pit bull can harm someone very very badly, very very quickly because they're bred to have supremely powerful jaw and neck muscles. They were also bred for aggression and therefore are more prone to violence.

    But the pits that I've met, trained and owned by people knowledgable in the breed, have been nothing more than cupcakes and love sponges.

    GoodOmens on
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  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    areyounotentertained.jpg

    A terrible joke but also kinda what happens when you treat godless killing machines like tamagachis.

    Talleyrand on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    Now, why would I want to trust other people with this? I mean, dog owners already include some stupid and irresponsible motherfuckers who don't train the fucking things properly and occasionally let them loose for God knows what reason. The fuck I'd want neighbors owning a goddamned bear.

    Elki on
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  • PerpetualPerpetual Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Fallingman wrote: »
    How about we put some similar resources towads just not killing these animals and we let them live how they want to?

    Well even when we don't kill them directly we destroy their habitats for our industries.

    Perpetual on
  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    You know I still want a pot-bellied elephant.

    Cherrn on
    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Fallingman wrote: »
    Oh, I just saw your sneaky caveat at the end of your post. In that case, I'm going to go with "Fuck no". How about we put some similar resources towads just not killing these animals and we let them live how they want to?
    This is where I think the really interesting discussion lies.

    I think about this question all the time with my cat, because I love him more than all the jewels beneath the earth, and I worry that I am depriving him—via domestication—of a life he would rather live in the wild.

    Obviously, wild (or even just outdoor) cats have shorter lives than indoor cats. But I also have trouble believing that cats want to be indoors for their whole lives. (I compromise by letting Prince Nanaki out our front window and supervise him as he wanders around our front lawn.)

    At the same time—haven't we improved the lives of cats and dogs by domesticating them from their wild ancestors? In the same way, I feel that our lives have been improved by moving from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a cultured agricultural lifestyle. There is all kinds of shit that domesticated animals (and agricultural human beings) don't have to worry about that wild animals do. Domesticated animals have constant food, cushions to lie on, giant monkeys that know how to pet them just right—isn't that a vast improvement, despite the drawbacks that come with it? Don't domesticated animals suffer less than animals in the wild?

    I actually think this is a really important question, especially in the not-too-distant future when domesticating other species becomes a possibility.

    Qingu on
  • DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    Elki wrote: »
    Now, why would I want to trust other people with this? I mean, dog owners already include some stupid and irresponsible motherfuckers who don't train the fucking things properly and occasionally let them loose for God knows what reason. The fuck I'd want neighbors owning a goddamned bear.

    Least you wouldn#t have a hard time finding it.

    When its head pokes out your toilet after its been flushed next door.

    DarkWarrior on
    ...it's in the shape of a giant c**k.
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    GoodOmens wrote: »
    I think the greater question is can we domesticate these animals? Remember, domestication is different than taming. They can be tamed, at least certain individual bears and such. Domestication requires a generations-long effort to fundamentally change the nature of the species.

    We domesticated certain species of foxes within 50 years of selective breeding. They started having droopy ears like dogs and became affectionate towards humans.

    I'm sure, in the hypothetical sci-fi future that this thread takes place in, that we'd be able to go even further through genetic engineering.

    Note: I DON'T think we should ever domesticate dolphins and whales. Or birds. Certain animals are so inherently designed to live life in vast spaces that it would be cruel to limit them to a domesticated existence.

    Qingu on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I dont think you could ever take that out of a Bear or a Lion. I read something recently where a Lion ate its long time owner. Its their nature and its cruel.

    It can still be bred out of them as much as viciousness has been bred out of dogs. Just, you know, takes a few thousand years and up til now the cost to benefit ratio wasn't really worth it, at least not for the amount of time necessary.

    Quid on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    In order to genetically engineer an animal to become domesticated without actually genetically engineering the animal is to do it the old fashioned way: only allow the domestication mutations to breed while slaughtering the rest. If you're talking about turning wolves to dogs, the change was biological, and it was made on the corpses of many dogs and people.

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
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  • fshavlakfshavlak Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Plus wolves are smaller and relatively easier to handle than bears.

    I imagine that the fact that wolves are by nature social creatures also made domesticating them easier.

    Bears don't hang out in groups unless you count the mother-cub time.

    fshavlak on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    areyounotentertained.jpg

    A terrible joke but also kinda what happens when you treat godless killing machines like tamagachis.

    Breaking News! Killer Whale Tries to Kill! Everyone Shocked!

    Elki on
    smCQ5WE.jpg
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I fail to see the benefits of domesticating these creatures other than the desire to have a cool pet.

    I think that doing this responsibly would be an outrageous waste of resources, and doing it irresponsibly would be horrific.

    I'm agin' it.

    Hachface on
  • Caveman PawsCaveman Paws Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    If we can get a chihuahua sized bear into the purse of Paris Hilton during her next (whatever it is she does that gets her media attention) we will destroy the worlds economy due to the overwhelming demand!

    Caveman Paws on
  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    GoodOmens wrote: »
    I think the greater question is can we domesticate these animals? Remember, domestication is different than taming. They can be tamed, at least certain individual bears and such. Domestication requires a generations-long effort to fundamentally change the nature of the species.

    Here's a thought. What if we just scienced out all the aggressive genes and behaviors? Is genetically modifying animals for domestication purposes ethical? We already do that with livestock and breeding wolves into beagles is basically the same process, just a much longer one.

    Edit: beat'd by like 5 other people. Ok, so the question about livestock still stands. That's probably where to look to see if we can do this in a responsible way and produce healthy and friendly poodle-lions or some such nonsense. Oh yeah, also consider that they're already trying to decode the genes of a woolly mammoth.

    Talleyrand on
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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Paladin wrote: »
    In order to genetically engineer an animal to become domesticated without actually genetically engineering the animal is to do it the old fashioned way: only allow the domestication mutations to breed while slaughtering the rest. If you're talking about turning wolves to dogs, the change was biological, and it was made on the corpses of many dogs and people.
    I don't think that's clear based on what we know from the historical/archaeological record.

    It's possible that the wolves that learned to follow human camps and become friendly with humans (so as to get scraps) were favored that way—no slaughter necessary.

    Qingu on
  • Orochi_RockmanOrochi_Rockman __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    People keep chimps as pets, and they freak out and eat peoples faces. So yeah, I guess you could do this through generation after generation of attempting to breed out all of their wild instincts, but should you?

    Probably not.

    Orochi_Rockman on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    What about the wolves that followed the human camps without wagging their tails or being alone or whimpering/keeping relatively quiet


    Slaughter is always necessary

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Have we domesticated any asocial predators before? I can't think of any off the top of my head. I suspect it'd be extremely hard to get anything resembling "domestication" from a bear. Lions, maybe... eh, I don't really know.
    Elki wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    areyounotentertained.jpg

    A terrible joke but also kinda what happens when you treat godless killing machines like tamagachis.

    Breaking News! Killer Whale Tries to Kill! Everyone Shocked!
    Funny thing is I don't believe there's ever been a fatal attack on a human by wild Orcas. Contrast that with how many people get killed each year by wild hippos, or sharks, or friggin' bees.

    CycloneRanger on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Unfair comparison! The chimps who ate people's faces weren't domesticated. I don't believe there are any domesticated species of primates though of course the slow lori is

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9f-6jygRJk

    very cute indeed

    Qingu on
  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    People keep chimps as pets, and they freak out and eat peoples faces. So yeah, I guess you could do this through generation after generation of attempting to breed out all of their wild instincts, but should you?

    Probably not.

    In a distant future, what if we understand consciousness so well that we could genetically modify animals so they become sentient and capable of speech or communication of some kind. Would you say no to the dogs from Up?

    Talleyrand on
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  • Orochi_RockmanOrochi_Rockman __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    Orcas dont come anywhere near reefs and shores the way sharks do right? That probably has something to do with it.

    Orochi_Rockman on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    the big concern here is false negatives. Ravenous animals can always just not get triggered because their owners were super lucky, which means there will be a baseline of human deaths due to statistical error for a long time.


    DEAD BODIES

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Orochi_RockmanOrochi_Rockman __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    People keep chimps as pets, and they freak out and eat peoples faces. So yeah, I guess you could do this through generation after generation of attempting to breed out all of their wild instincts, but should you?

    Probably not.

    In a distant future, what if we understand consciousness so well that we could genetically modify animals so they become sentient and capable of speech or communication of some kind. Would you say no to the dogs from Up?

    I dont even want to think about the awkward conversation I'd have to have with my dog when he asked me why I had his nuts cut off.

    Orochi_Rockman on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    In a distant future, what if we understand consciousness so well that we could genetically modify animals so they become sentient and capable of speech or communication of some kind. Would you say no to the dogs from Up?
    Most animals already communicate. My cat communicates with me all the time. Just not with language.

    That said, there isn't a clear-cut line in the sand between language and non-language communication. There are monkeys who have different sounds for "predator spotted in the sky!" and "predator spotted on the forest ground!" and the rest of the monkeys know what the sounds mean—even monkeys from other species, I believe.

    Giving animals the ability to use language would involve dramatically changing the structure of their brains, much more so than domestication would involve.

    Qingu on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    I think the comparison to the domestication of dogs is great, because people are (too often) horrible dog owners. Just imagine translating dog ownership habits to tiger owning habits... yeah, that sounds great.

    Elki on
    smCQ5WE.jpg
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Elki wrote: »
    I think the comparison to the domestication of dogs is great, because people are (too often) horrible dog owners. Just imagine translating dog ownership habits to tiger owning habits... yeah, that sounds great.
    This program would need to be accompanied by mandatory killing of bad pet owners; also mandatory abortions for non-intelligent non-empathetic parents while we're at it.

    Edit: to respond more seriously, can't you make the same argument against bad parents? Isn't it basically the same problem? A poorly-raised child can also be quite dangerous.

    Qingu on
  • DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    Elki wrote: »
    I think the comparison to the domestication of dogs is great, because people are (too often) horrible dog owners. Just imagine translating dog ownership habits to tiger owning habits... yeah, that sounds great.

    You should need a license to own pets.

    You should need one to have children to really but there you go

    DarkWarrior on
    ...it's in the shape of a giant c**k.
  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It could be as simple as just making them much smaller.
    yourcatisplottingtokill.jpg

    Talleyrand on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    I fail to see the benefits of domesticating these creatures other than the desire to have a cool pet.
    Bear cavalry.

    OptimusZed on
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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The thing about pluffsters is that if they're not actually trying to eat each other it generally seems like they are capable of getting along just fine. I mean

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE-Nyt4Bmi8

    Qingu on
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Why not do the same with bears? And lions? And panthers, and other great beasts of legend that are endangered? Who wouldn't love a snow leopard as a pet?

    Assuming a future where genetic engineering allows us to do this with little danger to either humans or beasts, would you be in favor?

    Animal ethics is crazy as a result of the sorts of ontologies persons create while articulating what one ought or ought not do with a particular animal. So, with regard to domesticating animals...basically I think all sides are nuts, given how crazy the arguments are on both sides.

    _J_ on
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Orcas dont come anywhere near reefs and shores the way sharks do right? That probably has something to do with it.
    I think they're less common in warmer areas, but the orca's range covers every part of every ocean, and they prefer coastal areas. They even eat oceanic mammals (some populations eat seals) and sometimes land-dwelling mammals that end up in the water for whatever reason (moose, deer)—but not people. I don't know; maybe we just look really scary to them, like some kind of land-based Cthulhu. Or maybe we're insufferably cute.
    Qingu wrote:
    Most animals already communicate. My cat communicates with me all the time. Just not with language.

    That said, there isn't a clear-cut line in the sand between language and non-language communication. There are monkeys who have different sounds for "predator spotted in the sky!" and "predator spotted on the forest ground!" and the rest of the monkeys know what the sounds mean—even monkeys from other species, I believe.

    Giving animals the ability to use language would involve dramatically changing the structure of their brains, much more so than domestication would involve.
    I'm not sure about this. Some animals may already have "language" in the same sense that we do. Isn't the jury still out on whether whales and/or dolphins have true "language" of whatever level of sophistication? It seems that some animals would take little or no structural modification to enable this sort of thing, while others would take a great deal.

    CycloneRanger on
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