Forecast modernization program


Animal rights group: Replace Punxsutawney Phil with robot
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — An animal rights group wants organizers of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it’s unfair to keep the animal in captivity and subject him to the huge crowds and bright lights that accompany tens of thousands of revelers each Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, a tiny borough about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. PETA is suggesting the use of an animatronic model.

But William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says the animal is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.” The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Deeley says PETA isn’t interested in Phil from Feb. 2 on, and is looking for publicity.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10027/1031375-100.stm?cmpid=MOSTEMAILEDBOX#ixzz0dy2kX0rW

Here’s the issue from PETA on their blog, plus the letter they sent to the Groundhog’s handlers here

Excerpt:

“The popularity of using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronic animals instead of live animals is rising. Performances such as “Walking With Dinosaurs, the Live Experience”—a theatrical show in which animatronic dinosaurs roar, stomp, and chase each other around an arena—have been taking audiences by storm. Other popular exhibitions have featured robotic penguins and dolphins who swim and communicate just like real animals do, and we think that an animatronic groundhog would similarly mesmerize a crowd full of curious spectators in Punxsutawney.”

==========================

Well, I can see this coming. Punxsutawney has told PETA to bugger off, and now PETA will show up next Tuesday and make some sort of idiotic protest to get news media attention.

In other news, I hear Phil Jones may soon be available. If he saw his shadow it would be six more months of avoiding FOI requests.

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139 thoughts on “Forecast modernization program

  1. Thank you Bulldust. I laughed out loud, but would have hurt myself rolling on the floor. So I just had to tell my wife instead.

  2. These are the same people who claim that biomedical research using animals has no value or that it can be replaced by computer models. They are not interested in animal welfare, only animal rights, including the right of mountain lions to eat joggers and, presumably small children, though they may draw the line at poodles.

  3. Neat trick to play on PETA person arrived to “save” the groundhog. Exchange the groundhog with a badger. Then direct the PETA person to remove the “groundhog” from the nice warm nesting box. And just for shitzal and giggles, tell ‘em that groundhogs don’t like gloves.

    Once had a pair of badgers chase me into the cold Wallowa River. Apparently they were upset that I was minding me own business fishing along a public river. Turned out that badgers can SWIM!

  4. I can see this poor groundhog waiting in line at the unemployment office bemoaning the fact that he lost his job due to automation. Take heart Phil, I’m sure there will be a government jobs bill that will help you find work in a local burger joint.

  5. Can groundhogs be used to make a nice stew, or are they best roasted?

    Can they be first cooked, then left over in the fridge, cut up into slices and used in lunchtime sandwiches?

    Can the fur be used to make warm gloves?

    Signed: Curious, Cold and Hungry.

  6. a bit more comedy from Australian AGW-loving Govt’s Trade Minister, the same govt who is attempting to get its emissions trading scheme through parliament:

    Our turn to whinge on Australia-London fares
    In London, Trade Minister Simon Crean has urged Britain to scrap its latest “green tax” rise on airfares, arguing it discriminates against people travelling to Australia…
    “We’ve indicated to the Government that whilst this was originally said to be a duty for environmental purposes it’s now accepted that it’s just for revenue raising purposes,” Mr Crean said…

    http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-news/our-turn-to-whinge-on-australialondon-fares-20100127-my94.html

  7. I think we’d all be better off if we could replace everyone in PETA with an animatronic replacement….

  8. Mike Bryant (20:27:23) :

    I think we’d all be better off if we could replace everyone in PETA with an animatronic replacement….

    I would like to see all NGOs corporatised and subject to corporate rules of disclosure and taxation…

    Wouldn’t that evoke a great wailing and gnashing of teeth?

  9. At long last PETA, have you no decency? Have you no shame? Can you not consider the traditions and customs of your countrymen?

    Can you not respect the ancient history of your own species who survived the Ice Age only by eating animals and wearing their hides for warmth?

    At long, long last can you not have just a little compassion for your fellow human beings?

  10. contradictory poll and outright lie?

    Reuters: Richard Cowan and Timothy Gardner: Editing by Paul Simao: U.S. embraces Copenhagen pact, Senators rework bill
    A new poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change and George Mason University concluded that fewer people believe global warming is occurring. But it also said more people now fear it could harm their families and future generations…
    (Republican Senator Lindsey ) Graham said cap-and-dividend, which would mandate carbon emission reductions while limiting the trading of pollution permits, is under review along with other options. Under that system, polluters would be required to buy carbon credits in auctions and consumers would receive most proceeds.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60R5F520100128?type=politicsNews

    consumers will benefit???

  11. No no, I’d rather see the animatronic dinosaurs replaced with real ones!

    I’m looking forward to watching that cheesy Bill Murray movie next week…

  12. Mike Bryant (20:27:23) :

    I think we’d all be better off if we could replace everyone in PETA with an animatronic replacement….

    What makes you think they aren’t animatronic already? They do seem to have the same unwavering responses to everything. Maybe the model should be upgraded?

  13. Reminds me of the time Jack Hanna (the zookeeper that sometimes shows up on late night talk shows with his animals) came to my home town of Ann Arbor to do a show. We took my two little girls and they were very excited. When we got to the theater there were two female protesters. One held a sign that said something like “Jack Hanna is abusing animals” or something like that. The other one — and I kid you not — was sitting on the sidewalk in a tiny little cage. Pointing to the one in the cage, I said to my wife (just loud enough for them to hear): “Look honey… it’s the rare North American Killjoy.”

  14. Sorry, but I agree with PETA on this one. I am appalled that so many who claim to be enlightened are so callous. No animal should be mistreated for any reason, including so called medical research (also known as doing anything for research grants).

    Does being a AGW skeptic now mean one has to approve of animal research, cruelty to animals, and the rest? Is a majority of AGW skeptics now in the bible thumper camp, screaming that animals don’t have souls? Nobody told me, and I don’t believe it. I think the skeptical side is being hijacked by the same right-wing know-it-alls who have hijacked so many other good, non-political causes and ruined them. Look what they did to the pro-life movement in a matter of a few months (in the early 1980s); turning it from a respected human rights movement into a fundamentalist Christian loony bin, ridiculed by everyone except for religious fanatics. These people destroy everything they touch.

    Must skeptics march in step to a single drum?

    I’ve been an AGW skeptic for years, and I can’t stand Obama, but I cannot stand animal abusers even more. For all its awful faults, PETA does more good than many organizations, and there are few alternatives to it. George Bush and Dick Cheney shooting captive tame animals on canned “hunts” do not speak for me or my beliefs or values, but evidently many people cannot think for themselves.

    Please do not let AGW skepticism become yet another platform for the right wing Pat Robertson egomaniac crowd. Climate change should never have been politicized, and these people are every bit as hidebound, intolerant, and arrogant as those they ridicule on the other side.

  15. If a superior being from another planet came to earth, told me they needed me to be their pet on their world and in exchange for being able to explore living on another planet through captivity in their domicile and occasional outings to their versions of camping or visiting the beach I would be provided with a lifelong mate and all the food I would ever need… and in addition to this, I would never have to ever even think about the stupid things that humans back on earth spend their time thinking about protecting to absolve their unnecessarily pained consciences instead of spending time with their kids or being more productive at work…

    I would say yes, sign me up for that rocket ride and take me off this crazy 3rd rock from a dull star where PETA and their up-side-down-prioritized ilk are allowed to reproduce their large batches of cognitive dissonance infecting even the smart among us and get away with it for decades as some kind of protected species of deliberate retardation. At the very least I wont be living on a planet where the intellectually dominant species is so afraid of itself that it pretends to care about the planet in a fashion that can only lead to suicide for an entire species.

    [REPLY - Better check out their attitude toward/methods of neutering and spaying, first, though, just to be on the safe side . . . ~ Evan]

  16. I hope Canada will ban PETA from Canada under the terrorist act because one of their member attached one of our Member of Parliament last week with a shaving cream pie.

  17. The statistics show that the Punxsutawney Phil has been right only 39% of the time… that is way better than the MET Office.

  18. Pamela Gray:

    Originally being from Wisconsin myself, I could have told you not to mess with badgers. Lol!

  19. Oh Anton, give it a rest. These groundhogs are NOT being mistreated. Let’s not get into this thing about coddling animals. They aren’t human, they just aren’t. Please.

  20. Hey mr.artday, I am a winner, and I don’t identify with you. Go figure.

    By the way, the last time I looked, the Pat Robertson crowd was losing on virtually every issue.

    AGW skepticism does not belong to anyone or any ideology. And skepticism is a good thing, especially regarding religions and their claims. Since nobody can offer any defence of cruelty to animals other than hateful, pompous religious arguments, I would say I’m definitely on the winning side.

    No Larry, I am not being satirical.

    Yes, Pamela, Cheney shooting another “sportsman” was a great thing. Too bad he didn’t shoot himself.

  21. “Oh Anton, give it a rest. These groundhogs are NOT being mistreated. Let’s not get into this thing about coddling animals.” –Larry

    Define “mistreated.”

    “They aren’t human, they just aren’t. Please.” –Larry

    And that’s a liability because . . . ? Don’t tell me. You think YOU are the highest life-form in the Universe? Good luck with that.

  22. Graeme From Melbourne (20:23:21) :

    Can groundhogs be used to make a nice stew, or are they best roasted?

    Can they be first cooked, then left over in the fridge, cut up into slices and used in lunchtime sandwiches?

    Can the fur be used to make warm gloves?

    Groundhog tends to be a bit fatty, so they work best in stews where the potatoes can soak up some of the fat. Not too good as sandwich material.

    I think they make better hats than gloves. The skin side isn’t as tough as deerhide and the fur isn’t as soft as bunnies.

  23. Control freak organizations like PETA, Green Peace, and the WWF should be shamed out of existence. Shame them with your superior intellect.

  24. Poor Phil. All those patriotic years of service, and now the animal rights group wants to rob Phil of his Climate Service benefits. No, you can’t steal food from the groundhog. Go gather your own nuts.

  25. Pamela Gray (20:07:47) :

    Neat trick to play on PETA person arrived to “save” the groundhog. Exchange the groundhog with a badger. Then direct the PETA person to remove the “groundhog” from the nice warm nesting box. And just for shitzal and giggles, tell ‘em that groundhogs don’t like gloves.

    Once had a pair of badgers chase me into the cold Wallowa River. Apparently they were upset that I was minding me own business fishing along a public river. Turned out that badgers can SWIM!

    Yeah, that might work! Most of these eco-loonies seem like they’ve never actually met animals, let alone wild ones.

    I was hiking with some in Germany once (eco-loonies, not animals) and they were in total awe of everything they saw. Musta been their first experience outdoors.

    We happened upon a farm with big honking (pun intended) geese in the yard, where upon one of them remarked, “Oh look at the pretty ducks!”

    I recommended that they go pet the pretty ducks.

    They tried.

    I laughed my a$$ off!

  26. Well Anton, I keep a cat in captivity. I know, I should be ashamed. All she gets is unlimited food and water, warmth in winter and coolness in summer, a life completely free of conflict, nice places to sleep, regular brushings, the occasional bath, and happiness.
    I really should do the right thing, and let her out onto the lake where she can be eaten by coyotes. That would be the “natural” thing, I think.

    I will never, ever understand people who listen to, follow, or associate with PETA. They are a terror organization by all definitions. Animals are not people. I know pet owners, hunters, chefs, and ranchers, and have yet to meet anyone who has ever been cruel to an animal.

  27. As Phil Jones has stepped down for a while at CRU perhaps he could do it this year? He could use a special “trick” to make sure he gets the forecast right….

    Andy

  28. This post is just silly, and I am sure it was done mainly because the pics are so cute. One star for content, 5 stars for the pics.

    REPLY: Well, you’ve pretty well summed up what I think about Groundhog day. If rodents were meant to forecast, they would have been equipped with barometers. -A

  29. Anton (20:54:10) :

    Sorry, but I agree with PETA on this one. I am appalled that so many who claim to be enlightened are so callous. No animal should be mistreated for any reason, including so called medical research (also known as doing anything for research grants).

    Does being a AGW skeptic now mean one has to approve of animal research, cruelty to animals, and the rest?

    —…—…

    Anton- Have you ever been to actually SEE the living enclosure )heated, vented, waste removed daily, swept-out, well-lit, safe from predators, fed daily, watered continuously, and veterinarian-medicated!) that this varmit actually lives in?

    I’ve been to that enclosure (the center of a small park in “downtown” Pax…. Beautiful little single-critter “zoo”. Nice place. Better than what my great-parents lived in.

    You want to throw him out to freeze to death, starved or todying by internal parasites and blinded by rabies or eaten by dogs/coyotes/wolves/cats/rats/wildcats? /cougars? (In other words – you want him to die miserably just like every OTHER groundhog in the world? Just so YOU can “feel good” about “freeing” another living creature to die horribly?)

  30. Leo G (22:12:53) :

    I know, but the woman that did the pieing was American from New York… she had no right in taking our right away of pieing our politicians… she should go to Washington DC… there are plenty of corrupt politicians there to pie (except in that case she might not survive it through).

    Hey PETA, I think I will go cull myself a seal. Our Governor General said it was delicious.

  31. At last, a sign of global warming… April Fool’s Day has come early this year. :D

    As regards discussion on (mis)treatment of animals above, it reminds me of Konrad Lorenz who once wrote something along the lines of ‘many people pretend to love animals when in fact they simply hate humans’. As far as I remember, it was in the preface to one of his books.

  32. More PETA posturing.

    If you don’t look too close at the groundhog (or are too far away to clearly see that it’s a groundhog), it might appear that they’re pulling someone’s well overfed cat out and holding it high for all to see.

    Perhaps PETA needs to leave their warm city apartments and venture out into the really rural countryside and observe how animals live – darting about in a state of fear trying to find food and, when eating, constantly watching lest they themselves become another animal’s meal. Punxsutawney Phil has got it good.

  33. Anthony/Moderators. Do you know of an e-mail address where I could let the people who keep this tradition alive know that I support their use of a real groundhog? I’m sure they get lots of e-mails condemning what they do. I’d like them to get more e-mails telling them to ignore the PETA crowd.

  34. Pamela Gray (20:07:47) : “Neat trick to play on PETA person arrived to “save” the groundhog. Exchange the groundhog with a badger….Once had a pair of badgers chase me into the cold Wallowa River. Apparently they were upset that I was minding me own business fishing along a public river. Turned out that badgers can SWIM!”

    Badgers? We don’t need no steenkin’ badgers!

  35. Anton –

    I would ask YOU to define “mistreated,” since you are the one who in effect was alleging it. Nevertheless, the poor animal is not being unnecessarily cut up, fed with chemicals, shot, beaten, or otherwise physically abused, starved, or injured. The idea that he is being paraded around, handled, and televised – well, maybe if paparazzi were following him around all of the time like a movie star, that might qualify (lol) – that in my mind doesn’t count as mistreatment.

    And if in fact you DON’T think you are the highest life form in the universe, I feel sorry for you. I would expect you have enough of a human brain to reason these things out properly. Given the fact that we are supposed to be the stewards of this planet to any degree, we’d best think of ourselves as the highest life form. If we don’t, there will be a lot of consequences to pay for it.

  36. ” “The popularity of using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronic animals instead of live animals is rising. Performances such as “Walking With Dinosaurs, the Live Experience”—a theatrical show in which animatronic dinosaurs roar, stomp, and chase each other around an arena—have been taking audiences by storm.”

    This is just laughable! The reason the dinosaurs are anamatronics is due to them being extinct!

    If they were still with us, I’d know whom to feed them..

  37. This reminds me of a study recently in NZ – Victoria University in Wellington I believe, that supposedly demonstrated that an SUV had a smaller carbon footprint than a dog.

    I think at that point a lot of Kiwis started seeing the light…

  38. Phil’s not looking happy at all!

    I don’t think he likes the idea of PETA sending him back to a cold hole in the snow! Told ya Phil, they want to take all of our rights and comforts away. He just sharpens his teeth!

  39. “The popularity of using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronic animals instead of live animals is rising. Performances such as “Walking With Dinosaurs, … chasing each other round the arena.

    It’d be much more fun to have real dinosaurs chase PETA members round the arena of course…

  40. Anton

    I looked at Punxsy Phil and he’s a happy animal. It looks like the PETA are so blinded by their beliefs that they cannot see this crucial piece of evidence.

    Always look at the evidence. And IMO if anything gives us the right to consider ourselves superior, it is if one is willing to look at the evidence and change one’s mind, because the evidence says otherwise than one’s preconceptions. Willingness to admit being mistaken, even mistaken about being superior. Willingness to stand one’s ground and stay true to the evidence, even when outnumbered.

  41. For all you out-of-state people, here’s some info. I strongly suspect this is related to the Pennsylvania Lottery using a “spokesanimal,” namely “Gus, the second-most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania.” A cute animatronic creation, while performing his duties of promoting lottery sales, mostly the instant-win “scratcher” tickets (a groundhog scratching, ha-ha, so funny), for years he has talked and sung, even rapped. Why for Christmas, he was all bundled up with his hat and scarf as he stopped by to see his extended family, at a normal-sized house with regular furniture where the nicely-dressed relatives were busy trimming their large Christmas tree. (Psst, his family isn’t making a big issue about his working nude for the cameras, so don’t worry about it.)

    This has undoubtedly led to some sensitive types thinking of how much groundhogs are just like us. Plus they are as intelligent as humans, obviously. And when you look at all the suffering and manhandling poor Phil has to go through compared to Gus, why, it’s just not fair!

    The somewhat more aware ones realize Gus is of course not real, a puppet, the makers of the commercials can make him do basically anything they want. But, well, you have to admit, he is so lifelike!

    And now, voila, why not replace the suffering Phil with an animatronic groundhog? It’ll all look the same! Just look how real Gus is!

  42. Because we use robotic dinos. Oh, dear lord…

    But I guess it _would_ have to be explained to a group of morons like PETA that we use robotic dinosaurs not because we wish to _merely perceive_ ourselves as kinder to them, but rather because aren’t any living ones anymore.

    And just what IS the point of using a robotic groundhog? By design, it will either “see” it’s shadow or it won’t, 100% of the time. Oh wait, I see… we can reverse global warming this way, right? :-)

  43. kadaka (00:38:45) : “And now, voila, why not replace the suffering Phil with an animatronic groundhog?”

    But can we make the robot “suffer” just like the real one? I don’t want to get out of touch with my “vicious humanity” that gets a kick out of being mean to animals. And too, without suffering animals like the real poor ol’ Phil, there is no more use for PETA!

    What ever would we do after that?! :-)

  44. Anton

    As someone who works in the pharma business and understands the value of animal research (when done properly) I can’t agree with your stance on that. But I do agree that just because we don’t think CAGW is real doesn’t make us rabid fundamentalist neo-con members of the NRA, and people posting on this site shouldn’t assume that we all think the same way about other political and environmental issues.

    My politics are rather left wing, and that’s UK left wing, not Obama style left-wing lite. I find it hard to fit in with this community of anti-immigration, flat-taxing UKIP voters just because I care more about scientific rigour than ideology.

  45. We really need alot more of these PETA-type morons to go hug polar bears (like the crazy lady in the German zoo), lions, tigers etc. Or go up to Alaska and play with the cuddly brown bears like “Grizzly Man” did…and get eaten like he did. It would make life so much easier for those of us with some semblance of sanity.

  46. @ Anton: Shut up man, you’re so transparent. Why do you people always have to start screaming “Right Wing!” at anything you disagree with? It’s such a meaningless, stock response. AGW scepticism: Right Wing! Meat eater: Right Wing! Intolerance: Right Wing! Non-belief in animals havin a soul: Right Wing!
    Sounds like the only person politicising anything round here is YOU.

  47. As a kid growing up in Iowa, I never understood why the Groundhog day question even came up. “Will we have 6 more weeks of winter?” Well–yeah. Feb. is just starting; winter will last 6 more weeks. DUH!!

  48. The funny thing about PETA and all who oppose animal testing, if they or one of their loved ones get badly ill they would sacrifice as many animals to live vivisections in a heartbeat if it showed a cure as it needed. The fact is humans (except the PETA like sub species) as is correct in nature, are near the top of the food chain in our normal habitat, even if, as has been correctly stated, we cannot cope with an angry badger. Are PETA pissed because they did not get on the warming bandwagon before the wheels fell off and now cannot dictate behavior to the northern half of humanity?

  49. tallbloke (00:36:34) :

    “….It’d be much more fun to have real dinosaurs chase PETA members round the arena of course…

    Perhaps we could substitute hungry polar bears for the dinosaurs and hold the events in the Roman Coliseum. Should we start with Al Gore as the star attraction?

  50. Having live animals in captivity, available up close so that people can see them and even touch them, does more for raising awareness and sympathy and the reality of animals than any other consciousness raising effort that can be imagined. Is it a crime to have a few animals live in relative luxury to serve as the ambassadors to humans when the likely outcome of it is to save their entire species? Do PETA members imagine that the situation is similar to episodes of StarTrek where humans are held as captives for advanced aliens to learn from? The difference is that humans can make the kinds of decisions where they voluntarily send and ambassador. Animals cannot make those kinds of decisions themselves. They brains are not built for it. Go ask one. Fortunately, you can still go to a zoo to do that.

    The ethical treatment of animals is a nice idea. Too bad PETA is so extreme they can’t see that the removal of all contact between humans and animals would result in the eventual extinction of animals. Just like the end of eating meat and eggs would mean the extinction of all farm animals otherwise, who would keep them?

  51. Phil the Robot? My younger brother had that robot, I believe. There was a hatch on the chest, and after four or five steps, the hatch opened, displaying two ray guns. The guns flashed red, and the robot made an annoying noise. The hatch then closed, and the cycle repeated itself. My brother’s name for the beast: Murgatroyd.

    Sorry. Sometimes it’s nice to write about something other than climate data.

  52. Please send your naked PETinA cage to protest this outrage. And no – sending the animatronic version is not an acceptable substitute. We need to appreciate real sacrifice to really get the message.

  53. I don’t oppose animal testing, because I think it necessary. But the appearance of a ground hog for the Ground Hog Day celebrations isn’t necessary.

  54. I’ve had pet woodchucks all of my life.

    Phil’s fine and couldn’t be happier.

    If he wasn’t, he would let you know about it. LOL

  55. No, no, no! Getting rid of Phil for an animatronic would be a big mistake. Groundhog Day brings in a lot of money for Punxy–the whole town is just one big party all day long. As a PA native, I can’t imagine February 2 without it. Here’s a little history:

    Groundhog Day comes from the old Teutonic Candlemas Day, and before that, it was the first day of spring (Imbolc, dedicated to Brighid) in the old Celtic calendar. In Scandianvia, a festival was held on 2 February every year to mark the time when the bear would come out of hibernation to signal the end of winter. Even the Romans celebrated it. February 2 is close to the cross-quarter day between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and in China and Babylonia it was considered the first day of the New Year. There are a lot of rhymes from all over that show just how common a tradition it was:

    American:

    If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
    Half the fuel and half the hay.

    German:

    For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
    So far will the snow swirl until May.
    For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
    So far will the sun shine before May.

    Scots:

    If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
    There’ll be two winters in the year.

    Old English:

    If Candlemas be fair and bright,
    Winter has another flight.
    If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
    Winter will not come again.

    The Scandinavians used a bear. The Germans used a badger. Other cultures used hedgehogs–really, any hibernating animal would do. When settlers came to America in the 1700′s, bringing the tradition with them, they substituted a groundhog. I don’t know why–there are lots of badgers around here, even if they’re meaner than raccoons. (Although dragging a hibernating bear out of its den wouldn’t be something I’d like to do.)

    These PETA people are nuts. They’re trying to take a tradition that’s a couple of thousand years old and ruin it, just like they do everything else. Phil doesn’t mind–I drag my kids out of bed every morning and they get over it in less than 5 minutes.

  56. P. Phil’s “predictions” are scripted more than a WWF, err, WWE fight. I predict that Phil will be said to have not seen his shadow in order to give the recession-afflicted populace something to feel good about.

    Of course, if the negative AO brings -10F (-23C?) weather, then the backup script may have to be used.

    I like to say “If Phil sees his shadow he’s scared back into his den and we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is just around the corner and only a month and a half away.”

  57. @ Ric Werme (05:40:03) : “I like to say “If Phil sees his shadow he’s scared back into his den and we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is just around the corner and only a month and a half away.”

    That’s what it comes down to, really. There are always 6 more weeks of winter till spring (since the equinox isn’t till March 20 or 21). So, when Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter, he’s always right, but when he predicts an early spring, he’s always wrong. (That’s an 80% accuracy rate according to meteorologists.)

    Another thing. They put Phil on stage at 7:25 am, but sunrise this year isn’t until 7:29 am. It might be light enough to see, but not light enough for him to see his shadow, especially if it’s cloudy.

  58. Larry said (23:20:37) :

    “Anton –

    “I would ask YOU to define ‘mistreated,’ since you are the one who in effect was alleging it. Nevertheless, the poor animal is not being unnecessarily cut up, fed with chemicals, shot, beaten, or otherwise physically abused, starved, or injured. The idea that he is being paraded around, handled, and televised – well, maybe if paparazzi were following him around all of the time like a movie star, that might qualify (lol) – that in my mind doesn’t count as mistreatment.

    “And if in fact you DON’T think you are the highest life form in the universe, I feel sorry for you. I would expect you have enough of a human brain to reason these things out properly. Given the fact that we are supposed to be the stewards of this planet to any degree, we’d best think of ourselves as the highest life form. If we don’t, there will be a lot of consequences to pay for it.”

    I didn’t say the groundhog was being mistreated; I said I agreed with PETA’s thoughts on the matter. . .mostly I agreed after reading others posts ridiculing PETA and minimizing animals. Somebody else threw in the medical research issue, which was completely irrelevant, so I addressed that too.

    Who said we are supposed to be stewards of the planet? If humans said it, it means nothing, since so many take themselves too seriously. So who else? Who? Dare I guess your answer? God? If that’s your answer, then you’ve proved exactly what I was saying.

    Dave UK said (03:11:53) :

    “Anton: Shut up man, you’re so transparent. Why do you people always have to start screaming ‘Right Wing!’ at anything you disagree with? It’s such a meaningless, stock response. AGW scepticism: Right Wing! Meat eater: Right Wing! Intolerance: Right Wing! Non-belief in animals havin a soul: Right Wing!
    Sounds like the only person politicising anything round here is YOU.”

    Who are the “you people” you refer to? I happen to live in a country where everything is polarized, and, yes, where those who defend cruelty to animals almost always proudly identify themselves as conservative Christians, and who almost always argue the animals-don’t-have-souls thing since they don’t have any other argument. On the other side we have the pro-abortionists arguing that fetuses don’t have souls, because they can’t defend their position logically either.

    I am not a conservative or a liberal; I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I am neither religious nor anti-religious. And I resent being marginalized as an AGW skeptic by other skeptics who happen to think they own the cause, and who have tried to turn it into a partisan clubhouse.

    If you are annoyed by my use of the term “right-wing,” how about going through a few hundred of the posts on this site to see how many lambaste the “left-wing,” “liberals,” “socialists,” “communists,” etc. And while you’re at it, look at how many completely irrelevant issues they toss into the mix. Why do they do this? Because these are the POLITICAL issues their partisan interests are obsessed with, and they cannot separate one from the other. They think that if one is an AGW skeptic he automatically must be a conservative Republican Christian opposed to any form of national health care and in favor of offshore drilling. It is THEY’RE assumption–I should say PREsumption–that I am criticizing.

    PETA’s groundhog protest may be silly and extreme–PETA does this deliberately for free publicity–but the underlying message is not wrong. Animals shouldn’t be used like machines. They aren’t machines.

    If you want an accurate weather forecast, just put Pachauri in a cage, drag him outside, and ask him what’s coming, and then act on the exact opposite. He’s going to be a cage anyhow, so why not make the best of it?

  59. Ed Fix (03:56:21) :

    As a kid growing up in Iowa, I never understood why the Groundhog day question even came up. “Will we have 6 more weeks of winter?” Well–yeah. Feb. is just starting; winter will last 6 more weeks. DUH!!

    ———-

    Groundhog Day is a paganizing perversion of a Christian Feast Day: the celebration of the Presentation of the infant Jesus at the Temple. What we have here is a presentation of the groundhog. That’s why there is no possible scientific rhyme or reason for the choice of date with regards to weather forecasting.

  60. Anton

    Here is more cruelty to animals for you to condemn:

    US eco-freaks a while ago kidnapped a poor baby whale by taking him from his natural habitat. He was kept in cruel captivity, taught to accept food only when hand-fed dead fish from a bucket, and misused in an agit-prop comedy movie named “Free Willie”
    Having served the eco-freaks purpose, they cruelly dropped him back into the Atlantic, without having taught him how to survive in the wild.

    The NAO soon carried the poor bewildered animal to the shores of my home country – Norway, a place where we kill wales for fun (I prefer whale meat in my burger, you prefer cow meat in yours – what’s the difference, except for my burger have a smaller carbon footprint?), while also awarding the Nobel peace prize (after having redefined “peace” to serve certain people’s political agenda and the settled fact of man-made catastrophic global warming). But I digress, sorry for that.

    By the time Willie arrived here he was starving, and for years he was kept alive by Norwegian schoolchildren handing out fish from a bucket, and a horde of government employees worried about his health, effectively shattering the eco-freak image of Norwegians as whale-killers and making the poor animal another recipient of Scandinavian state welfare.

    Later poor Willie died, unable to survive the hash and cold winter climate in the North Atlantic.

    Time to grow up Anton?

  61. In other news, I hear Phil Jones may soon be available. If he saw his shadow it would be six more months of avoiding FOI requests.

    Even if he didn’t see his shadow, it would still be six more months of avoiding FOI requests. Any less and he might get prosecuted.

    Mike Ramsey

  62. Did somebody mention that pets have this big carbon footprint? A dog is like driving a SUV 10000 miles a year. Wild animals will weigh in similarly. How do we best minimize wildlifes carbon footprint while maintaining maximal biodiversity? Advice needed, Peta, WWF, FoE, GreenPeace!

  63. That gives me a new idea for a carbon offseting company. Instead of planting a tree, simply shoot a Rhino. Generate CDM Carbon credits. Carbon Safari.

  64. DirkH (09:07:42) :

    That gives me a new idea for a carbon offseting company. Instead of planting a tree, simply shoot a Rhino. Generate CDM Carbon credits. Carbon Safari.

    You would need to sequestor the carbon …. I know; taxidermy!

  65. If Candlemas be fair and bright,
    Winter has another flight.
    If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
    Winter will not come again.

    Switch off the Hadley supercomputer and hire a small furry animal to tell us the weather. Maybe a hedgehog, as we don’t have groundhogs in the UK. It would save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

  66. Groundhog! Groundhog!
    Stand, Old Ivy, stand firm and strong.
    Grand Old Ivy, hear the cheering throng.
    Stand, Old Ivy, and never yield.
    Rip, rip, rip the chipmunk off the field.

    When you fall on the ball
    And you’re down there at the bottom of the heap,
    Down at the bottom of the heap!
    Where the mud is oh so very, very deep,
    Down in the cruddy, muddy, deep!

    Don’t forget, boy,
    That’s why they call us,
    They call us
    Groundhog! Groundhog!
    Stand, Old Ivy, stand firm and strong.
    Grand Old Ivy, hear the cheering throng.
    Stand, Old Ivy, and never yield.
    Rip, rip, rip the chipmunk off the field.

    – From How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

  67. @Veronica (09:19:59) : Switch off the Hadley supercomputer and hire a small furry animal to tell us the weather. Maybe a hedgehog, as we don’t have groundhogs in the UK. It would save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

    I always did like Sonic…

  68. vigilantfish (08:29:08) : Groundhog Day is a paganizing perversion of a Christian Feast Day: the celebration of the Presentation of the infant Jesus at the Temple. What we have here is a presentation of the groundhog. That’s why there is no possible scientific rhyme or reason for the choice of date with regards to weather forecasting.

    Er, no. Groundhog Day is a Christian perversion of a ritual that predates Christianity by centuries. You know, just like Halloween is the old All Hallows Eve or Samhain, the night before All Saint’s Day. St. Bridget is Brighid, who was the daughter of the Dagda (the Good God) and is the equivalent of Brigantia (Minerva, Athena). She was also the goddess of wells. Did you know that every time you put a coin into a wishing well you’re honoring a pagan goddess?

  69. Ask me how much I like ground hogs… after they have eaten my entire fenced-in garden, and I mean sheared off every green bean plant to the ground, in mid-season, when it is too late to plant again.

    Ask me again, when I find them living in a burrow, INSIDE my fenced in garden.

  70. Ryan C said (08:03:02) :

    “You never replied to the post about someone having a pet cat Anton. What is your stance on pets?”

    I think they’re great. I have tons of pets. I always have. But, I don’t like wild animals being turned into pets, unless for some reason they cannot survive in the wild. I don’t believe in deliberately breeding ANY animal, wild or otherwise, for pets. There are plenty of animals in need of adoption here already.

    Geir said (08:38:40) :

    “Anton

    “Here is more cruelty to animals for you to condemn. . . .

    “Time to grow up Anton?”

    Talk about apples and oranges. I don’t support eco-freaks, but apparently you can’t distinguish one subject from another, something else I mentioned in my posts. And I do not believe in capturing wild animals to put them in movies or circuses or television programs or theme parks. Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando imported thousands of animals, but failed to tell the public that for every monkey, bird, etc. that survived the capture and transport, countless others died horribly. WD’s supposed love and compassion for animals is just a PR gimmick to make buckets of money.

    I outgrew your myopia when I was fourteen.

  71. “…
    Mr. Deeley says PETA isn’t interested in Phil from Feb. 2 on, and is looking for publicity.
    …”

    Telling it like it is. Good for Mr. Deeley!

  72. I knew things were really going downhill when I first noticed animal stores selling rats. As pets, not just snake food. This is true animal cruelty, as it prevents the rats from having a life of freedom in the wild within their natural habitats, namely apartment buildings, restaurants, and alleyways near garbage dumpsters.

    Please let me know how many animal-loving never-killing no-meat all-vegan PETA-types happily allow wild rodents in their bedrooms, cockroaches in their kitchens, and termites in the wood framing of their house. BTW, how do you do a perfectly-humane live capture-and-release of termites? How do you return them to their native environment, overnight air shipment to Africa?

  73. @Graeme From Melbourne (20:23:21)

    Sorry Graeme. I checked my Cooking Alaska cookbook and no Ground Hog recipes. The closest I have is porcupine, muskrat, and beaver.

    /Cooking Alaska has recipes for about everything that swims, crawls, or walks in Alaska. Yes, whale, seal, bear, and lynx are even in the book.

  74. Some years ago, the animal rights mob in the UK ‘liberated’ a lot of mink from a farm. Probably one of them had met a bloke in a pub who knew a guy who had read a political theory book, but they, as usual, knew nothing about mink, especially that they are viscious little buggers who will murder anything they can sink their teeth into.

    The result was that for years they devastated the wildlife across much of Eastern England until finally, at great public expense, they were eradicated.

    Just another example of when ‘caring’ is worse than useless if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  75. In Switzerland, people now have to consider the feelings of plants.

    Considering the number of chemicals that plants produce to avoid being eaten, what are the veggies going to eat from now on?

  76. That should be funny, a bunch of PETA yahoos protesting in the middle of a bunch of beer and gun clutching revelers! Good luck to em!

    Likely Phil would last about two days in the wild before he got smashed by an 18 wheeler.

  77. Being from PA and from a hunting family, there are no groundhog recipies because, frankly, why the hell would you want to eat a groundhog? The best thing groudhogs are good for is zeoring in your scope, the little buggers are really good at destroying farms and gardens. Although they are kinda cute and would probably make a nice warm hat.

  78. Kay,

    I am skeptical that Scandinavian bears are so stupid as to make a habit of emerging from hibernation at or near February 2. Scandinavia has a similar climate to the part of Canada where I live, and February 2 lies around the mid-point of winter. In norther Russia, bears emerge from hibernation in March. I stand by my earlier post: the date of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is dictated by the date of Christmas. Here’s why:

    “Under Mosaic law as found in the Torah, a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain for three and thirty days “in the blood of her purification.” Candlemas (the English term for this feast day) therefore corresponds to the day on which Mary, according to Jewish law, should have attended a ceremony of ritual purification (Leviticus 12:2-8). The Gospel of Luke 2:22–39 relates that Mary was purified according to the religious law, followed by Jesus’ presentation in the Jerusalem temple, and this explains the formal names given to the festival, as well as its falling 40 days after the Nativity.”

    No doubt other pagan customs were mixed in, but I doubt that the Scandinavian honouring of emerging hibernating bears has anything to do with the date for Groundhog Day, an American tradition, on which I was commenting.

  79. vigilantfish…

    your argument might stand if christmas hadn’t been placed on top of the winter solstace to start with.

    Oh, and lay off Bill Murray! Here in the UK, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have even heard of Groundhogs, groundhog day or Puxacatawny, PX. He was good in ghostbusters as well. Look at the way he dealt with the EPA ;)

    Don’t take it all so cereally, guys. it’s not like its ManBearPig or anything!

  80. Scaryoldcortina (15:19:56) :

    I LOVE Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It’s brilliant on several levels and Bill Murray has the best ‘resigned’ face in Hollywood. ( Caddyshack, however, which features other rodents, is dreadful – although it’s my brother-in-law’s favourite film – I gather there’s a sexual divide on this film).

    I’m not really taking anything ‘cereally’ – just speculating on the origin of the tradition, which I suspect had to do more with some guys having a few too many drinks and coming up with a great joke. In Ontario we have ‘Wiarton Willy”, which by tradition is an albino groundhog. Often his and Punxsutawny Phil’s forecasts contradict each other. Amazing what a psychological let-down it is when Wiarton Willy sees his shadow, even though it does not make a speck of difference! Canadian winters can be very cold, but this year I think you’ve got us beat (us being southern Ontario).

  81. I wonder if PETA would prefer the one we have down in Quarryville. It’s been stuffed and dressed in a tuxedo and tophat for decades now. I mean what is the official time of mourning for a dead groundhog?

  82. Lol, I agree ;) Caddyshack was awful, wasn’t it!

    I have nothing further to add.. I probably agree with you anyway, speculation without consequence is a hobby of mine. Helps pass the time up here on the hills.

    Take care, and thank you for not pouncing on my geographic gaffe of placing puxacahoweveryouspellit in texas (oops)

    as a geographic curio however, within 50 miles of my house are settlements named New York, Philidelphia, Washington and Quebec. (but also No Place and Wide Open… go figure, that’s coal miners for you)

  83. I will never, ever understand people who listen to, follow, or associate with PETA. They are a terror organization by all definitions. Animals are not people. I know pet owners, hunters, chefs, and ranchers, and have yet to meet anyone who has ever been cruel to an animal.

    I’m not a PETA advocate, but I daresay keeping animals in tiny enclosures, branding them, and slaughtering them for food or sport is cruel by any stretch of the imagination. Just because you feel they didn’t suffer (much) doesn’t mean it isn’t cruel. That doesn’t mean I’m against hunting or ranching or cattle farming. They’re necessary things, especially in the case of wild animals with no natural predators left. But don’t pretend these things aren’t cruel to the animals.

  84. Anton (21:42:27) : “Don’t tell me. You think YOU are the highest life-form in the Universe? Good luck with that.”

    Actually, according to my wife, I’m not even the highest life-form in my own house, let alone the universe. WUWT?


  85. Jeff Alberts (18:32:43) :

    I’m not a PETA advocate, but I daresay keeping animals in tiny enclosures, branding them

    Sound like the US ‘jail’ system (NEVER MIND the ROW).

    How do you feel about that?

    .
    .

  86. _Jim (19:23:23) :

    Sound like the US ‘jail’ system (NEVER MIND the ROW).

    How do you feel about that?

    No comparison. Criminals chose their paths by making extremely bad choices, but they had choices. The animals don’t have choices.

  87. Anton (20:54:10) :
    Sorry, but I agree with PETA on this one. I am appalled that so many who claim to be enlightened are so callous. No animal should be mistreated for any reason,

    WARNING: GRAPHIC DISPLAY OF EAGLE SKILL AND CUNNING (IOW, animal on animal violence; avert your eyes oh sensitive ones!):

    Golden Eagle Preying on Wolves to grown Deer

    .
    .
    .


  88. Jeff Alberts (19:34:56) :

    No comparison. Criminals chose their paths by making extremely bad choices, but they had choices. The animals don’t have choices.

    NOT the innocent ones … and we _know_ there are innocent ones …

    Still going to dodge this one?

    .
    .

  89. Jeff Alberts (19:34:56),

    First, I agree that the suffering of animals must be kept to a minimum. But I see the situation a little differently.

    If it were not for breeding turkeys, for instance, to be used as food, those turkeys would not exist [and if they did exist, they would meet a much more cruel end, via 'nature, red in tooth and claw.'].

    I think [but I don't know for sure] that the turkeys would vote for the life they have, vs no life at all.

    So to be sure, animal cruelty must be avoided if at all possible. But not at all costs, which would mean no more turkey dinners. Better that the turkeys live in cages, gobbling at other turkeys all day, and anticipating their next meal, than no existence at all.


  90. Anton (21:42:27) :

    Don’t tell me. You think YOU are the highest life-form in the Universe? Good luck with that.

    Are you hiding ‘proof’ to the contrary (because, in a situation like this the burden of proof is on you since you assert the proposition) ?

    Otherwise, play the card, man …
    .
    .

  91. So to be sure, animal cruelty must be avoided if at all possible. But not at all costs, which would mean no more turkey dinners. Better that the turkeys live in cages, gobbling at other turkeys all day, and anticipating their next meal, than no existence at all.

    I agree, Smokey, but unfortunately you’re arguing something I didn’t posit. I just said that one can’t pretend that hunting, cattle ranching, etc isn’t cruel. I didn’t say those things shouldn’t exist.

    My post was a response to someone else above who said they knew hunters, ranchers, etc, and none of them had ever been cruel to an animal. Well, unless you’re a terrible hunter, or a rancher without cattle (or cattle prods), then yes you have been cruel. I didn’t say this type of cruelty shouldn’t exist, just that people shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t. I don’t feel guilty when I grill a steak…

  92. _Jim (19:46:06) :

    NOT the innocent ones … and we _know_ there are innocent ones …

    Still going to dodge this one?

    You didn’t specify innocent or guilty. You make it sound like the majority are innocent. What exactly am I dodging? We were originally talking about animals, then you changed the subject.


  93. Jeff Alberts (19:47:10) :
    You know that’s not the same thing, Jim.

    I’ll tell you two other things that amount to ‘cruel and unusual’ in the way of involuntary servitude (beyond which even animals are made to suffer IMO): Forced conscription and the process involved in so-called ‘income tax’ preparation and accompanying records disclosure re: business profit and losses, expenses, etc.

    How do you plead here?

    ‘Liberty’ for animals but not for man?

    .
    .

  94. _Jim (19:55:55) :

    I’ll tell you two other things that amount to ‘cruel and unusual’ in the way of involuntary servitude (beyond which even animals are made to suffer IMO): Forced conscription and the process involved in so-called ‘income tax’ preparation and accompanying records disclosure re: business profit and losses, expenses, etc.

    How do you plead here?

    ‘Liberty’ for animals but not for man?

    Wow, you’re all over the place, and going off-topic. Please show me where I said “liberty”.

  95. Re: Jeff Alberts (19:53:26) :

    Life is like this Jeff, and the sooner you make this ‘mental adjustment’ life will contain much less turmoil and stress for you – there is a food chain and like other predators shown here, we are near the top of that chain:

    .
    .


  96. Jeff Alberts (19:58:48) :


    Please show me where I said “liberty”.

    So you’re just going to wave the issue away … fine by me if you don’t want (can’t?) view this on a little wider scale.

    .
    .

  97. _Jim (20:07:21) :

    So you’re just going to wave the issue away … fine by me if you don’t want (can’t?) view this on a little wider scale.

    I’m not waving it away, I’m telling you it’s off topic, as the mods should have done. It’s not a wider scale, it’s a completely different scale.

  98. To me plants and animals were made to be eaten. That is how energy and resources are transfered from one generation to the next. I think using as many parts of the animal, like the fur is respectful of this. The fur that was used to keep the animal warm, continues on in its usefulness keeping another creature warm. The alternative is to let it rot into the earth, it is far more useful as a coat then more dirt.

    All of nature is a constant transfer of resources. Mankind is different from all the animals by our intellect and soul. As Mark Twain would say, “Mankind is the only animal that blushes or has need to.” It has been taught for millenia, that man was made in the image and likeness of God, so the body is honored by burial because of it. We tend to bury pets because of their relationship with us. Everything else is food, what isn’t buried becomes part of the food chain.

  99. _Jim (20:03:49) :

    Re: Jeff Alberts (19:53:26) :

    Life is like this Jeff, and the sooner you make this ‘mental adjustment’ life will contain much less turmoil and stress for you – there is a food chain and like other predators shown here, we are near the top of that chain:

    Wow, didn’t know I had turmoil and stress. It would be nice if you could actually comprehend what I wrote.

  100. Reading Anton’s comments, I can only say this:

    Man is far less brutal in his treatment of animals than nature is.

    http://tinyurl.com/yzj7vqs

    Not to say that pointless brutality is defensible, but when it comes to matters of eating, most people lack the desire to be vegetarian, but also have most likely not had to kill their own food. I can describe inter-species interaction in the biosphere in four words: Life feeds on life.

    When the brutality of the natural order is taken into consideration, the plight of the groundhog is hardly a noteworthy concern. Same goes for most other issues PETA raises. I really find it a testament to the success of man that we even have the time to worry about the morality of the way we kill our food.

  101. katlab said (20:25:44) :

    “Mankind is different from all the animals by our intellect and soul. As Mark Twain would say, ‘Mankind is the only animal that blushes or has need to.’ It has been taught for millenia [sic], that man was made in the image and likeness of God, so the body is honored by burial because of it. We tend to bury pets because of their relationship with us.”

    Thank you for proving my point. You cannot defend your position without invoking your religious beliefs, which you cannot back up with evidence, and which, in the case of supposedly exclusively human immortal souls and divine image replication, I regard as obnoxious and incredibly self-serving. It has been taught for millennia? Who cares? And taught by whom? The world’s largest and oldest religion, Hinduism, doesn’t teach anything of the kind. Neither does its offshoot Buddhism, one of the most benevolent religions.

    Humans tend to bury dead humans because of their relationship to them as well. Do you make a point of burying dead strangers in other countries? Do you know how many dead people without families end up on medical school slabs?

    To other posters above responding to my earlier comments, what does the cruelty of Nature have to do with justifying the cruelty of humans, especially of those who insist they are better and more intelligent than everything else in the Universe?

    _Jim said to me (19:50:01) :

    “Are you hiding ‘proof’ to the contrary (because, in a situation like this the burden of proof is on you since you assert the proposition) ?”

    The burden of proof is not on me. If you claim you are superior to all other life-forms in the Universe, it’s up to you to prove it. So where’s your Superman cape?

    Those who say humans have immortal souls but animals do not should have to validate both parts of that statement. Quoting the bible does not constitute proof of anything, other than the superstitiousness and dreariness of the person doing the quoting. When it comes to scary stories, falsified texts, and consensus thinking, bible-thumpers have few rivals. But, since they see themselves as God’s Mini-Me’s, this is only to be expected.

  102. Anton

    As you are clearly intolerant of religion, lets keep religion out of it and look at husbandry of animals by H. sapiens from a purely evolutionary perspective.

    Dogs evolved social interaction and a kind of symbiosis with humans – evolving from wolves. Being deeply social animals with complex social rules, they hung around human habitations initially maybe for food scraps but eventually some of them made a switch exchanging interaction with other wolves with interaction with humans, becoming companion animals, showing the same kind of subservience to the human (with the same canine body-language) as wolves do to the pack leader or any wolf above them socially.

    Rodents are also deeply social animals and surprisingly intelligent, as anyone who has kept them will know. They have a psycological need for social interaction. And they like canines are also able to substitute interaction and handling by humans with interaction with other rodents. (They still interact with eachother but the human beomes essentialy a big family member.)

    This is why in pharmaceutical work with animals it is god practice to regularly handle caged rodents – it is given the term “gentling”. Once so accustomed to handling, they respond positively to it. Once this stage is reached, it would represent abuse of the animal to withdraw such handling – loss of social contact is always a negative for a social animal.

    (Lab animals are treated infinitely better than many wretched household pets.)

    Puxatawney Phil is also a rodent (Marmota monax, of the family Sciuridae). So once Phil is accustomed to his yearly groundhog day ritual including handling, it would cause him something equivalent to confusion and loneliness to withdraw this handling from him. In fact it would be abusive toward him to do so.

    In terms of evolution and cladistics and historic branching rodents are closer to us than the large group including dogs, cats, deer, whales, bats etc (Laurasiatheres). Only primates are closer to us than rodents. (Note their pentadactyl limbs and opposing thumbs.)

    From the evolutionary perspective, animals that have become pets, farm animals and laboratory research models have all achieved a highly successful evolutionary radiation into a large and inviting ecological niche. They have got us humans pandering to all their biological needs from “cradle to grave” (so to speak). In exchange they provide humans with companionship, food, clothing, medical knowledge and other benefits.

    No such thing as a free lunch Anton.

    From the perspective of these animals being husbanded by humans, it is a huge success. Their numbers and more importantly their genes (with occasional modification) are becoming dominant and successful. Evolution and natural selection do not care about suffering. (You need some sort of religion for that.) They care only about survival, numbers and gene propagation.

    Your own affected concern for animal welfare also has an evolutionary – natural selection origin – you no doubt feel that makes you a chick-magnet.

    Therefore, to be honest and consistent you would have to oppose not only use of animals for research, but keeping of animals as pets, farm animals and any of the many naturally evolved human interspecies symbioses. You would have to carry out something analogous to a genocide to eliminate all these practices and life-styles. A mouse in a lab cage is an animal occupying an ecological niche in the same way and any other animal in “nature”.

    By the way, there is a “chick-magnet” theory of human evolution by sexual selection, which explains our main distinguishing features – bizzare hairlessness and grotesquely bulbous head and thus intelligence. Just to wind you up since you love religion so much – chapter 1 of Genesis is an accurate biological account of human evolution. The increase in cerebral size attained for us the knowledge of good and evil, and for partaking of this forbidden fruit God punished us with difficulty in childbirth. (Hyenas have the same problem but for a different reason.)

  103. corrections:

    “in pharmaceutical work with animals it is good practice” – not “god practice” (Freudian slip?)

    Last paragraph, Genesis chapters 2-3 (not 1) – the Adam and Eve bit.

  104. phlogiston said (15:35:56) :

    “Anton

    “As you are clearly intolerant of religion, lets keep religion out of it and look at husbandry of animals by H. sapiens from a purely evolutionary perspective . . .”

    I love animals and treat them as well as I treat humans, and we all get along great. Since I’m a fag, I have no interest in human chicks, sorry. And I am not intolerant of religion. I am intolerant of religious people using religious arguments to justify their stupid exclusionary attitude toward animals or human fetuses or anyone else. And I am tired of some of these same people trying to hijack the AGW skepticism platform and turn it into an ultra right-wing Christian platform.

    I don’t give a flip about evolution. I believe all life-forms are here for a reason (maybe they all chose to be here), and that cruelty toward any of them is repulsive. I have an exterminator who treats my yard with fipronil to safely get rid of fleas. I feel bad for the fleas, but I have no alternative. I don’t kill them gleefully. That is the difference. If you respect life, you don’t harm or destroy it indifferently, but with great regret, and you don’t harm or destroy it needlessly. Being embarrassed or inconvenienced by a pregnancy is not an excuse. Being foreclosed on and forced to move is no reason to leave animals behind.

    I practice what I preach every day, no matter how difficult, and I do not apologize to any religious loon who thinks he or she is a superior being.

    There are people on this site, regular posters, who are not logical, impartial, or rational, but who are partisan, lopsided, and fanatical. They come from other sites to preach their gospels. I know. I am a former moderator of American Thinker, and an editor for a popular AGW skeptics’ site.

    The anti-AGW argument cannot been tainted by partisan politics or religious beliefs, or it will crash. As I said earlier, everything these (religious fanatics) touch they destroy. The enemies of your enemies may not be your friends by any stretch, and AGW skeptics with brains should be very careful about the company they keep. As I said in an earlier post, these people destroyed the pro-life movement, and will destroy the anti-AGW movement if allowed to. They only reason they are here is because they perceive the skeptical position to be the conservative Christian position. If the pro-AGW side were populated by evangelical Christians, they would be on that side.

    This thread is old and worn out. I started out saying that I had to agree with–pardon the expression–PETA on the subject at hand, and instantly the religious crazies showed up, claiming to be superior beings and citing religious orthodoxy as their authority. Everything I said about them has proved true. If I appear to be intolerant of religion, I apologize, but I AM intolerant of THEIR religion. I’ve spent my life rescuing animals from these people and seen firsthand, over and over, the horror their beliefs inflict on the most innocent and helpless beings. These people are beyond reason, beyond logic, and, to my mind, beyond contempt.

  105. What on earth does this have to do with anything?
    PETA is crazy and nobody likes them. Not even other AR activists. Big deal.

  106. Anton (20:13:54)

    No offense meant, apologies if I caused any. We all find on this blog people who we agree with concerning AGW skepticism but with baggage we dislike. Thats what blogging is all about. Seem to have touched a raw nerve concerning religion. Such were your comments that I looked through the thread expecting to find some extreme Evangelical statements, maybe bible quotations, even a patronising call to repentance. Maybe I missed something but all I could find were statements based generally on a Judeo-Christian worldview, people having souls, being distinct from animals, having God-given stewardship etc. Perhaps you “protest too much”?

    The animal rights thing annoys me since I had to walk away from a successful business and find work overseas due to anti-vivisection politics.

    For what its worth I have three mice at home in a cage that I “rescued” following imaging experiments – otherwise they would have been “sacrificed” (dreadful technical jargon with religious overtones). A black 6, a BALBc and a Swiss Webster. Our three girls enjoy looking after them, I think their quality of life is better than it was. They will achieve a rare feat for lab animals – to die of old age.

    Reply: Let’s not drift into a religious discussion. I have not read any previous comments in this thread but if it already started, it stops now. ~ charles the moderator

  107. Oh… [self snip] I have to got to bed, but this thread may require a large amount of pruning tomorrow.

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