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Old 05-30-2010, 09:52 PM   #1 
1fish2fish
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Let's talk advocacy.

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.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:11 PM   #2 
SaylorKennedy
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The one fish that I actually did rescue, Chance (popeye, severe fin rot), I talked with the manager and since then their fish department has greatly improved. The rest of my bettas I just simply buy because they're the ones I get excited over. Luckily, all my local stores are very good about keeping their bettas. I agree, a rescue is one who is really suffering though.

In the end, it's just about the fish leaving the store. No one wants to be stuck in the cup for the rest of their lives while people pick them up and slosh them around.
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:35 PM   #3 
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I agree. But at the same time, it's all a matter of perspective.
The way I see it is if you take any betta home from virtually any pet store (save for the ones who actually give a crap about what they do with their bettas), it's a rescue.
My reasoning for this is that if you think about it, a few days or weeks down the road if they're not picked up and taken home by a caring owner, even the healthiest, most beautiful betta is more than likely going to come down with SOMETHING. And at places like wal-mart, their employees and managers are not going to care what the fish has. Because at wal mart, rollbacks are more important. And fish are "just fish" to them. A few extra dollars in corporate's pocket.

I don't even want to think about what would have happened to my guys and girl if I hadn't taken them home. Given they didn't have any visible health problems outside of color loss (Winston used to be grey/white), but it could have been so much worse.
Like I said, it's just a matter of perspective, and if you do see a fish in serious need, and you have the means to bring him/her back from the brink, TAKE IT HOME.
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:03 PM   #4 
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Originally Posted by metalbetta View Post
The way I see it is if you take any betta home from virtually any pet store (save for the ones who actually give a crap about what they do with their bettas), it's a rescue.
My reasoning for this is that if you think about it, a few days or weeks down the road if they're not picked up and taken home by a caring owner, even the healthiest, most beautiful betta is more than likely going to come down with SOMETHING. And at places like wal-mart, their employees and managers are not going to care what the fish has. Because at wal mart, rollbacks are more important. And fish are "just fish" to them. A few extra dollars in corporate's pocket.

I get what your saying but the way I see it even though you did save one fish who may or may not have died eventually, all that happened is that the store now has money to go get another fish to put in its place. See where I'm coming from?

I like to use the analogy of adopting a dog from an animal control shelter. Yes the dog you adopt now has a better life and was saved from euthanasia.. but what about the dog that inevitably takes its spot? If you had adopted the dog from a no-kill shelter that means you would have saved not only the dog you adopted but also the dog that can now take its spot at the shelter. I'm not saying that one is better than the other.. just that there is a difference.


When it all comes down to it I guess its just semantics.. but there's something about calling a pet store fish that is perfectly healthy a "rescue" that rubs me the wrong way.. especially if you chose that fish over another, sicker fish.

I have no problem with buying fish from pet stores to have as pets. Thats how most of us got started. But just because you bought a fish from a pet store doesn't make it a rescue. Some one could argue that getting a fish from a breeder in thailand is a rescue because they're kept in small beanies until they're sold . I just think there should be a distinction.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:28 PM   #5 
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Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
When it all comes down to it I guess its just semantics.. but there's something about calling a pet store fish that is perfectly healthy a "rescue" that rubs me the wrong way.. especially if you chose that fish over another, sicker fish.

I have no problem with buying fish from pet stores to have as pets. Thats how most of us got started. But just because you bought a fish from a pet store doesn't make it a rescue. Some one could argue that getting a fish from a breeder in thailand is a rescue because they're kept in small beanies until they're sold . I just think there should be a distinction.
Haha, thanks for saying this--I'm know I've been guilty of calling my boys with fin rot "rescues" when they're not quite that. As an avid animal-lover and someone who did get my last dog from an animal shelter, I find calling a dog from a shelter a "rescue" to be an incorrect label. The people who picked it up off the side of the highway or brought it in from horrible living conditions somewhere rescued it. The people who adopt it may "save" it or "spare" it, but it's not a rescue, per se. Part of this probably stems from my annoyance with certain animal rights groups... but that's another topic. :P

I guess what I consider a "rescue" is a fish with either (a) a noticeable illness that is going to need time or medication or (b) an obviously limited time to live. The ones that aren't necessarily sick with something like fin rot or ick, but the ones that look awful and that you know no one else will ever take home (unless they're also trying to save it). It doesn't necessarily have to be discounted because, well, I tried asking for a discount on an obviously very sick fish once and got rudely shot down and would never consider doing it again. Once I got offered a discount, but that was a boy that didn't last a week when I got him home. Maybe we should say "any sane LFS would discount it" as the criteria? Because, from what I've seen, the chains just really don't think of things that way.
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