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what is your opinion on "rescuing" goldfish?


motherredcap

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As a pet owner, one faces many choices. We must decide on the appropriate habitat for our pets, their food type and feeding frequency, their access to fresh water and medical care and the number of other pets that share their environment. Everyone reaches their own conclusions about what they can and cannot provide for their pet/pets and for most people, this balance is a compromise between the needs of the keeper and the needs of the pet. Ideally, both partners in the relationship thrive.

But it is no secret that in many cases, the pet/human relationship fails to work out to the satisfaction of both parties. It is not easy being a domesticated animal in a world where humans are placed under enormous amounts of economic, psychological and temporal stress. Every day, we are faced by a veritable Sophie’s choice of tragic cases in the form of television programs about human and animal misery, fund request letters and phone calls, appeals from friends and chance encounters. Since most adult know that they cannot be all things to all people and causes, we are forced to select areas where our attention and financial resources can do good.

This leads many of us to be interested in animal charities and in animal welfare in general. Obviously, many of us feel strongly about the treatment domestic animals have received in overwhelmed or irresponsible homes. These are kind and generous impulses and I encourage individuals in their commitments.

Many among us also take the additional step of attempting to intervene in the tragic fates of animals and, by our intervention, help the animals recover physically and find good, responsible homes. These individuals should be applauded for their efforts.

It is important, however, to consider the large picture when attempting a personal intervention (taking an animal into one’s homes as opposed to calling the authorities). Ill and mistreated animals need time, attention and financial resources to recover fully from their treatment. For many people, these things are already in short supply and all of us have obligations to the people and animals already in our care that trump our responsibility to other entities. Thinking over our available resources should be the first thing one does before attempting an intervention.

In addition, sick and ailing animals often have conditions and illnesses that are contagious. These illnesses can be spread to other animals (and humans) in our care. Although many people successfully take precautions against the spread of disease, many accidently infect their existing stock through shared equipment or water. Again, we must think carefully about what is possible and impossible to accomplish with the equipment we have on hand.

Further, we must think over the resources available in the communities we inhabit. While we may be willing to commit our own time, attention and resources to alleviate the plight of an animal, we cannot make that commitment for other members of our community.

While Koko’s Goldfish Forum is dedicated to helping people with goldfish care, the people that make up the forum also have limited time and resources and have not necessarily agreed to dedicate them to the work of multiple interventions. In no way does this imply that we should not try to help an animal in need or request help from the forum. It is important, however, for us to consider the likely extent and frequency of requests for specialist, moderator help when considering taking in a new animal. Limited resources can easily be exhausted and attention distracted from the concerns of more conventional pet owners with smaller set-ups.

While not a ‘rescue’ per se, some people also feel that purchasing an ill pet from a store constitutes a rescue situation. This is perhaps the most problematic of all. While the purchaser may feel that he is doing a service to the animal (and might, in fact, be doing so) the store simply feels that it has made a sale. Purchasing sick or mistreated animals signals that stores do not have to care appropriately for the animals they are selling or to insist that their suppliers do so.

There is no neutral language describe the relationship between ourselves and our domestic animals. Buying, purchasing, adopting, saving, rescuing or simply getting all carry connotations about the transaction and how we see ourselves in relation to these animals. We are consumers, parents, saviours, heroes, keepers, owners and so on. I would suggest that we should also reflect a little bit about how we talk about these animal/human relationships as it has implications for how we ultimately behave towards the creatures in our care.

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A very well thought out response, Susanne.

I think when it comes to animal husbandry a combination of utilitarianism and deontology needs to adopted. Promote the greatest happiness for the animal and yourself, look at the consequences of your actions, and most importantly, uphold the duty of care you established. Do this and you will continue to behave in an ethically satisfying manner.

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While not a ‘rescue’ per se, some people also feel that purchasing an ill pet from a store constitutes a rescue situation. This is perhaps the most problematic of all.

Thanks for clarifying your position on this subject, Susanne. It had been on my mind since you stated that rescues were a pet peeve of yours :doh11:. I wasn't sure if you objected to the word itself, the savior aspect or what exactly it was that bothered you about rescues.

I'll be more careful going forward about using the term. Encouraging those without the experience, time and resources at hand to attempt to rescue problematic animals seems obviously unwise.

You state "we must think carefully about what is possible and impossible to accomplish with the equipment we have on hand." Although at the time I had not given the matter careful consideration, I did quickly evaluate whether or not I had the environmental resources to "liberate" a couple of feeder fish from their likely fate. It is perhaps not exactly what you are talking about here, but it could have proven very problematic given my experience level at the time. If I had to do it over again knowing what I know now, I would not.

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You state "we must think carefully about what is possible and impossible to accomplish with the equipment we have on hand." Although at the time I had not given the matter careful consideration, I did quickly evaluate whether or not I had the environmental resources to "liberate" a couple of feeder fish from their likely fate. It is perhaps not exactly what you are talking about here, but it could have proven very problematic given my experience level at the time. If I had to do it over again knowing what I know now, I would not.

This is a common argument used against theories of utility promotion and duty fulfilment. Both theories require logically thinking things through (more utilitarianism) and entering actions into a sort of rational based matrix. Proponents of other theories believe this takes too long and there must be another way. I'm inclined to agree to some extent. Humans tend to be quite rash when passions are invoked: you, myself and hundreds of thousands of others demonstrate this inclination. How many people have regretted an impulse purchase later on? We tend to be quite good at talking ourselves into things even if they are to the detriment of others. At the end of the day it is impossible for every eventuality to be considered, but I believe (at least for the purposes of this conversation) attempting to adopt a style that allows for careful and deliberate thought is paramount. That is not to say I believe helping an animal in need is wrong because I am the first person to try and help, but you must do so appropriately. As strange as it sounds for an ethics based action, you should live within your means and help to the best of your ability. For example, people do not always have to rehabilitate an injured animal themselves (even if they are compelled to do so), there are agents out there who are capable of doing a much better or comparable job.

This is what I took away from Susanne's writing.

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Wow! That was very impressive Susanne :clapping: I can tell you are a prof :)

It is hard to realize that you can't save the world :(

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I completely agree with everything you said. I feel that purchasing a sick fish from a pet shop, knowing it's sick, is not "rescuing". It's giving money to people that mistreat living things.

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Having taken part in the odd rescue (all my four legged critters are rescues and I've also taken in, provided medical care for (through a vet) and rehomed a couple of cats) I couldn't agree with this more.

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If I may, I would like to just add my very simplistic thoughts.

It's actually quite OK to want to be a hero and rescue people, animals, and things. The world actually needs as many heroes as we can get, who are willing to stand up and defend and protect the weak.

Having said that, it's not much of a rescue if you end up having to be rescued yourself, or if your rescue hasn't been well thought out.

Take initiative and do what you can, but you must take care to commit to only what you can do.

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Thanks Alex, this puts it nicely. But on a less immediately practical level, I do think it is important how we talk about acquiring animals. Language that always makes animals victims (as in the expansion of the word rescue to purchases) and us saviours changes our attitudes towards these animals.

Mr. B was so wonderful when he introduced the fish he tried to cure this week. He began by saying that it wasn't a rescue; it was a selfish act committed for himself, out of his own appreciation for the beauty of the fish, his own desire to care for it. I frankly thought this was a beautiful way to acknowledge that we humans also receive something from our relationships with animals.

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Everyone has different feelings on the whole rescue thing and that's ok. That person is the one who has to commit to providing treatment and who has to decide if they have the resources to do so. You're right that no one on here has agreed to intervene in every single "rescue" situation but no one is forcing Koko members to do so. This is just an internet help forum. No one on here, as far as I know, has taken a legally biding oath to get involved in every situation. I'm not "making a commitement" for members here if I rescue a sick fish; I'm posting an advice wanted thread which you are more than free to ignore if you don't have the time, deem other cases more worthy, or simply don't feel like it. This is a great resource with many experienced and helpful members but there's other forums and resources in the world than this one. I absolutely agree that you should consider your own ability before committing to take on a difficult case (And should probably turn the case down if you have no idea how to help but hey, it's your choice) and that we can never help every creature in need but ultimately that's your decision.

If you do decide to give a store money for a sick fish I think you should at least write management with pictures so the situation is turned into a customer complaint, in their eyes.

Edited by Goldenhero
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ok i am hoping to not start any arguements here if there are differences of opinion on a topic im sure many feel passionate about. i am on the fence about rescuing sick goldfish. there are so many different types of rescues too. rescuing sick store fish. privately owned sick fish, and fish that seem ok but can or will no longer be cared for for whatever reason. i will personally take a healthy fish from someone IF i can but i dont want to take a sick fish. i dont want to spend the money on it. i dont want to overstock my tank with it if it becomes healthy again. i do admire those who care so much that they go through a lot of extra work to cure a sick fish, but its not for me. what about you?

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I personally do not rescue any fish from a store. I feel as though store should know better and I do not want to support them if they are not going to take care of the creatures they sell.

I would however take in a goldfish that someone I knew could not care for or it got sick and they do not know what to do. I would most likely have to rehome the fish but said friend probably would have no idea how to care for the fish and I would try to educate them if they took the fish back :)

Just my opinion, some people fall in love with a poor sick fish and are willing to put the time and money in them :)

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I don't have room. If I did I would not buy a sick fish. But if someone wanted to give away a sick fish/with tank and I had the room I would take it in and try to make it better then look for a good home so I would have the room to do it again if I needed too.

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I have been doing rescues for years. I'll take sick or healthy fish, depending on the time/funds I have available when I am contacted. I rehome the healthy fish and treat the sick ones. Once they are healthy, they are rehomed as well. Usually the fish have very common issues that are pretty straightforward to treat. Sometimes it's a little more complicated and I have to do reasearch or ask for advice. All in all, I find it very rewarding. It's amazing to see the transformation in some of these guys. It's awesome when I can find them a great home..and hopefully get photos down the road:)

It's a lot of work and can get expensive, so it's important to consider these factors before taking in a fish. It's easy to get overwhelmed. I only take one sick fish at a time and maybe 3 healthy fish. Sometimes I don't have any coming in for a couple of months. Last week, I had some fry go to a lady with a pond and right now I have one sick little guy who already has a home lined up if I can get him into shape. That's the other thing. It can be hard to find good homes for them. I had one fish for 8 months before I found a home for him. You have to be prepared for that too.

I like to do what I can.

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I'm with mernany and hidr for the most part..

I would not buy one from the store. If it were for a friend, perhaps I would help them at their own home, but I can't see myself taking one or many in, even if I were to eventually rehome. I find that I exaggerate risk factors by about 100, and would not feel comfortable bringing one into my home.

I don't believe I have the resources (beginning with space) to help a sick one, as well as maintain my own fish's health and keep up with my other priorities. If I did, I think it would be for reasons in addition to the fish needing help - I've found myself smitten with the fish, a boost for my own ego, possibly guilt or pressure?

I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. This is my opinion, and solely about what I would do.

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I totally agree on not buying animals (of any kind) from a store that is obviously mistreating them. Yes, most stores will get in sick fish but the real question for me is, how does the store respond to this? If they just go about selling the sick fish without bothering to educate customers, that's not a store I want to buy from.

My last fish purchase was from a chain pet store. To my surprise, the saleswoman explained to me that the fish had just been brought in that day, and that ich could show up later so QT was important. I don't know if this is a common occurrence for you guys, but I was sure impressed by that!

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I totally agree on not buying animals (of any kind) from a store that is obviously mistreating them. Yes, most stores will get in sick fish but the real question for me is, how does the store respond to this? If they just go about selling the sick fish without bothering to educate customers, that's not a store I want to buy from.

My last fish purchase was from a chain pet store. To my surprise, the saleswoman explained to me that the fish had just been brought in that day, and that ich could show up later so QT was important. I don't know if this is a common occurrence for you guys, but I was sure impressed by that!

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Nice! All the pet stores near me don't seem to have a clue about illness/disease. My daughter once saw a fish stuck in a plant. He was in bad shape (fin rot, septicemia) and they had mega current going. She went to tell a staff member, who came over and explained that the fish was perfectly healthy, they just do that when they rest...even my 5 year old knew better and told the lady she was wrong because the fish's fins were hurt.

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I ask.

I ask a lot of questions before I buy. How long has the fish been there? What treatments have they received? How many deaths from the same shipment? What do they die of?

Even if you don't get all the answers, the sorts of answers you get from the employees will tell you what you need to know.

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This is something I battle with. I used to "save" fish, but eventually realized I was just encouraging the the problem so now I try and avoid most LFS. I did recently adopt a betta on a FB tag sale page though, not sure I was saving it, but she didn't want it anymore, and no one else wanted it-----so I stepped in. In essence I avoid circumstances in which I am required to make a decision. :no:

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I totally agree on not buying animals (of any kind) from a store that is obviously mistreating them. Yes, most stores will get in sick fish but the real question for me is, how does the store respond to this? If they just go about selling the sick fish without bothering to educate customers, that's not a store I want to buy from.

My last fish purchase was from a chain pet store. To my surprise, the saleswoman explained to me that the fish had just been brought in that day, and that ich could show up later so QT was important. I don't know if this is a common occurrence for you guys, but I was sure impressed by that!

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Nice! All the pet stores near me don't seem to have a clue about illness/disease. My daughter once saw a fish stuck in a plant. He was in bad shape (fin rot, septicemia) and they had mega current going. She went to tell a staff member, who came over and explained that the fish was perfectly healthy, they just do that when they rest...even my 5 year old knew better and told the lady she was wrong because the fish's fins were hurt.

Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I have also overheard this same woman refuse to sell fish to people, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. A customer had put in an expensive cichlid WITH HIS TURTLE and came in to buy two more to replace the one the turtle had mangled. The woman said absolutely not. :-)

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