A Professional or A Pirate?— An Anthrozoological View

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In animal training world, we back to the primitive man essence in creating groups within his tribe.

The fact that there is no worldwide professionalization of this activity, leads us to long discussions, mostly of them are ideological or moralistic.

In the anthrozoological context, which also encompasses the philosophical component, I reason a lot on this question, without judgments or dogmatic thinking, I use critical thinking. My greatest reflection, it is why this activity is not professionalized since non-human animals have been living on our whims for thousands of years and why the little recognition that exists is still tied to animal use for purposes of Governmental organization interests.

It is not my job to affirm what is right or wrong, but rather a duty to write how I view this situation through deductive reasoning, leaving for your analysis the various differences of argumentative discourse vs. rhetorical discourse, between opinions and assertions, and Between facts and fallacies.

I also do not question the care and dedication of all groups with nonhuman animals, my role will never be a judge, after all agreement and respecting people are two different concepts and individual characteristics of each individual.

I always like to make the distinctions in these terms so that we all follow the same line of reasoning, because it is not uncommon to use these terms without the knowledge of their true meaning.

Thinking is the activity of the mind that tries to make sense of the events of life, we can think about what we want without any effort, which makes us desire or want something.

Reasoning is a process that helps us to accept or reject statements made by ourselves or others.

Dogmatic Thinking is characterized by a firm and blind adherence to a certain set of instructions.

Critical Thinking recognizes and appreciates contextual differences and their complexity, rejecting previous conclusions and accepting more appropriate conclusions.

A premise is a declarative sentence that serves as the basis for a reason, which will lead to a conclusion.

An argument is a set of assumptions or justifications that lead to a conclusion. This process can be good or bad, but never true or false. Arguments can be explicit (when assumptions leading to the conclusion are all stated) or implicit (when assumptions leading to the conclusion are under-understood). The latter is widely used at the advertising level. They can also be classified as valid or invalid, strong or weak, convincing or not.

A fallacy is the error in the formulation of an argument.

An opinion is the expression of a subjective belief or a position on a particular subject, not always based on true premises, and most of the time based on emotional motives or social pressures.

Rhetoric is the art of speaking and convincing others without regard to the truth of the premises.

My analogy with the “pirate” follows in his definition of the adjective not to be original and/or in the informal definition of an artful. Both professionals and pirates exist in the groups below as you will confirm.

When we work with living beings, we should always have science as the basis of everything and not dogmatic thinking, rhetoric or fallacies of generalization and exception.

It is of extreme interest to reflect the group battles within the modern tribes on this subject and to try with direct questions to arrive at several possible answers of immediate implementation.

For the moment, I classify three types of groups with their sub-groups:

– Groups that recognize their glory through demonstrations of power (trophies, medals, diplomas) mostly with animals previously selected and trained continuously for this purpose, sometimes with the need for rapid learning due to temporal conditioning, diverging Reality of social need. These groups are subdivided into individuals who are only dedicated to the specific activity that are accredited or recognized by the appropriate sports clubs or possible governmental entities, in both cases, and I repeat, only for the specific activity; In individuals who use the demonstrations of power to generalize the activity to other areas of activity as if it were all one truth; In individuals who join the two subgroups above and use them as a form of persuasion, intimidation or simply demotion of the next; And in individuals who use their glory only for playful and / or personal purposes.

– Groups that recognize their glory through training, readings, social services and similar activities. These groups are subdivided into individuals who need permanent updating in their specific area of ​​activity; In individuals who are largely governed by theory and the practice it is limited to this theory, having as a demonstration animals previously selected and preferably already with a good learning of what will be demonstrated; In individuals who through their experience in a certain activity involving non-human animals begin to work with them without previous scientific knowledge but by theoretical/practical imitation; In individuals who balance theory with practice, with their own self-imposed limits on specific activity, who seek constant improvement even if they start in other areas of activity; And in individuals who, by their constant presence in events, workshops or other theoretical activities, begin their activity. Within this latter sub-group, we subdivided into individuals who always seek to update with the knowledge of their limits and in individuals who create dogmatic thoughts, not leaving the theory. Within this group it is also common to see demonstrations of power or the temporal factors of the learning of the group above (mainly in companies) and some characteristics of the following group.

– Groups that recognize their glory by personal experience and/or pseudo knowledge through social readings on the subject (google research and basic imitation of existing professionals). These groups are subdivided into individuals who have as example only dogs of their own and create a universal knowledge; In individuals who initiate the activity without any scientific knowledge and purely with economic thought (they use rhetoric and implicit arguments), creating absolute truths, the need for people, guarantees of results, the cover-up of their work or the properly selected practice, Preferably that can bring protagonism or create social empathy, most related to social projects. This subgroup is adept at having various decorations on clothing (patches, medals, etc…) as a means of persuasion or credibility and has direct interconnections with the groups above.

I have an article on scientific or moralistic training that I strongly recommend reading for a better comprehension of all the concepts present. Click here to access the article.

There are also specific qualifications that are misrepresented or generalized that are only obtained at university level. It would not be very different from an ophthalmologist doing dental work because his “area of ​​action” is close to one another.

Morality and ethics must be above all the reasoning about our limits.

It is a question of balance, not too long with theory alone and not much time with practice alone, that is how extremism and incoherence born in all groups. It is not our fault, it is our cultural and social essence. But we can change that.

Will the Professionals and Pirates presence in all groups create a discussion of the commonalities between the groups that can be the starting point to reflect on the disagreements and making all to row to the same side: The Animal Welfare “Thing”?

Now it’s up to you to analyze and decide: A Professional or a Pirate?

REFERENCES
ABRANTES, R. 2013. So you want to be a good dog trainer! Ethology Institute Cambridge.

BARATA, R. 2017. Scientific or Moralistic Training?. Etologia.pt.

DEMELLO, M. (2012). Animals and Society: An introduction to human-animal studies. Columbia University Press.

GREENE, J. (2013). Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. New York: Penguin books.

GROSS, R. (2010). Psychology, the Science of Mind and Behaviour, Sixth Edition. Holder Education.

HENRICH, N. (2007). Why humans cooperate. New York: Oxford University Press.

JOYCE, R. (2006). The Evolution of Morality. MIT Press books.

MORRIS, D. (1967). The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal. Delta(1999).

MORRIS, D. (1969). The Human Zoo. Kodansha America, Inc.

MORRIS, D. (2002). PeopleWatching. Vintage Books.

SCOTT, J. P. (1976). Violence and social Disaggregation. Aggressive Behavior, 1, 235-260.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic.

Autor: Roberto Barata

Animal Trainer, Consultant and Instructor; Ethology Institute Tutor; Scientific Articles Writer; Animal FACS and Pets in Society (anthrozoology) Technical Researcher.