Another post got me thinking about this.
There seems to be a lot of "new rescues" around the forum lately. But what actually constitutes a rescue in your opinion?
IMO a rescue (be it fish or dog or horse or monkey) is an animal SAVED from immediate danger. So if you go in and see a fish, the one that needs rescuing is the one that is hanging on to life by a thread. Not the one who's cup is dirty. Rescue fish are the ones the pet store gives away for free or really cheap (less than $2) because they don't think he has long to live anyway.
Ok.. now what about advocacy? This is what all rescuers should work towards IMO. Simply buying a fish in a dingy cup isn't enough.. even if the fish is hanging on to life. The only purpose that serves is to help that fish.. what about the fish that will take his or her spot in that pet store? Advocacy is not only about saving one fish but about making the store PAY for its neglect and making it known that the abuse seen will not be tolerated. Boycotting, letter writing, complaining to management and corporate, alerting the media and general public about the abuse... this is all advocacy.
So what about the fish well all inevitably come home with? The one that is beautiful but in a dingy cup? What is he? I think there should be a distinction between this fish and the one that has ich and fin rot and parasites and is almost dead.. the former would be a sympathy buy.. the latter a rescue. ALL of us are guilty of sympathy buys.
So should you not buy the pretty fish in the dingy cup? Not necessarily. But he isn't a rescue.. he is a sympathy buy. There is nothing wrong with that, but the sympathy buy should be backed up by advocacy. Complain to the employee, then go to the manager, then go to corporate if the store is a chain. Write letters and get others involved.. that is advocacy. The same should be done for rescues.
Rescuing is nothing without advocacy.
So many of you might be thinking "but Jackie... what about the fish you bought from wal-mart?" While I call them "rescues" (usually putting quotes around it) they were actually sympathy buys. Even though all of them had moldy, brown water.. once I got them back home I found that none of them had any major issues. Big Red might have been considered a rescue because he had debilitating fin rot that initally made it hard for him to swim.. but since I paid full price for him, he is just a sympathy buy. I did however back it up by sending letters to the manager as well as reporting the store to corporate. There has been some improvement but I'm still fighting for better treatment or getting rid of the fish altogether.
So what are your opinions? Is merely bringing home the fish enough?
I'm not trying to call anybody out.. I'm just curious as to others opinions on the subject.