Thursday, February 4, 2010

Goth Kitties

Okay...  First read this article.

So did Holly Crawford do anything wrong?

The defense's argument is an interesting one.  We allow parents to pierce their children's ears and such, why not allow us to pierce our pets?  Why have a higher standard for the animal and a lower standard for the human?

I think there are two things wrong with this line of reasoning.  First, the piercings of a human's ears won't necessarily affect coordination and mobility, but they may affect them on a kitten (espescially on the tail).  But I don't think this is a heavy consideration.  Assumedly the kitten could learn to adapt to the piercings.... Afterall they have to learn to adapt to their four legs too (kittens are sooooo wobbly!). 

The second problem, and I think the more pressing flaw is that there is a higher standard for animals and a lower standard for humans line of thought.  There should be higher standards for the treatment of animals in some cases I think, precisely because we don't know what they are experiencing.  Erring on the side of caution is reasonable.  For children, we can simply ask them how they feel about being pierced (assuming they are old enough to be communicative).  We raise standards of treatment for less abled people, it stands to reason that we raise the standards to a similar height for animals.  Not because they're more important, but because they need the protection from exploitation.  We treat adults and children differently for the same reasons.

But these are just the flaws in the defense's argument.  Presumedly they can be wrong, and Crawford still hasn't done anything wrong. 

Ultimately the piercings are for aesthetic purposes.  The difference between the child and a pet, is that the child can appreciate the piercings.  They can make the the choice to remove the piercings in the future if they do not like them.  Pets can't do that, or worse, they will try to do that and tear out the piercing.  So the wrongness here isn't the harm thats been done to the cats (I'm not sure if the harm of the actual piercing is negligible, but I'm willing to concede the point).  But rather that it endagers them to future harm.  A piercing gets caught on a fence or on a pillow, and the cat will expeirence a great deal of unnecessary pain, so that we could amuse ourselves with having a pierced cat.  The tradeoffs of benefits here doesn't hold up. 


  1. When I heard you talking about to "goth kitties" in class I had to check out the article. Well I'll just start by saying Holly Crawford definatly did something wrong, and her actions, in my opinion are completely unexcuseable and I hope she gets the book thrown at her for this. To just be straight foward, I see she is a dog groomer, it seems she just wanted to kittens to look even more cute or cool or something, but I have no idea why she would think for even 2 seconds that peircing a kitten would be an okay thing to do, at all, on any level.
    I feel that, when people say that animals are held to a higher standard because, this one time, a HUMAN is getting in trouble for peircing a cats ears ect and "we do that to our children" they are not considering the fact that kittens, are very fragile, very sensitive, and really don't totally understand what, we as humans, are trying to do with them. For example, if a cat is looking out of a window and you try to take them down and put them on the floor, they might meow, scratch, bite, or maybe they'll just let you handle them and run off. But.. holding down a kitten, and peircing them (which not only causes them immediate pain but also affects the rest of their life) so you can SELL them for hundreds of dollars is sick and cruel to me. I hope that she gets max charges against her and she serves as a lesson to people..not to hurt animals, for any reason, especially to make them look gothic of all things. I'll just leave it at that!
    -Patrick C. Intro to philosophy

  2. Well at first I was against the idea, but looking more into the article, I feel I don't know enough to make solid arguments (don't own a cat or dog)...

    First of all, people pierce themselves to appeal to other people (who find piercings attractive). It's beneficial. Crawford pierces her cats to market them to other humans. The animal doesn't really recieve any benefits from the piercings and, mentioned already, may face other problems in the future due to the piercings. Not only that, but you can't explain to a cat why you pierced them. It may be a sign of betrayal to the cat despite the good intentions...

    Now I know people neuter dogs and declaw cats (or do that other thing when they experience heat), but most of these are to place measures on the animal. Parents can tell their children to control their sexual behaviour or not to hurt others, but animal communication still hasn't been completely achieved. We have with gorillas, but not cats and dogs. Our way of keeping others out of harm from our animals is by doing these procedures that may seem inhumane...

    As for Crawford's position, I feel she is in the wrong since what she does is merely for profit rather than caring for the cats. Not only that, but piercing cannot be done by ordinary people without the proper piercing tools and procedures(piercing gun). You would have to keep your cat from getting their ears dirty to prevent ear infections, and I know cats aren't exactly the type to stay still, especially after a piercing...

  3. Declawing a cat is an interesting comparison, because lots of people think that declawing a cat is cruel. Arguably the same can be said for spaying or neutering. We gain some benefit by physically altering the cat surgically.

    I'd say that declawing a cat is MORE cruel than piercing a cat, and spaying/neutering less cruel than piercing a cat. Declawing is more cruel because it requires physical removal of bones and prevents a cat from engaging in its natural instincts...

    Spaying/neutering also physically alters a cat, but it removes the behavior AND instinct (no sex glands, no sex drive). So the cat isn't as frustrated (I know some animals still retain sex drives after neutering/spaying....)

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  5. Tania said...
    The thought of piercing a pet never even crossed my mind before reading your blog. Because piercings on animals can be a liability if they get hurt, I would not promote this type of behavior!
    Tania Ruiz
    Phil-106 T/TH

  6. I feel pretty broken about this, personally. I mean, while I feel it's cruel and unusual, I certainly need to wonder how harmful it actually is to the cat. While of course anything heavy can greatly harm a cat's balance, I can only imagine these animals would be able to make that transaction about as well as we can. I think about dogs here: people often will have a dog's tail surgically removed in order to make it more appealing, and I wonder if this isn't somewhat a similar idea. It boggles my mind that piercing would ever even be considered on an animal, but I can only wonder if it's as big a deal as we make it out to be.

    William Caine
    Ancient Philosophy (Wed. 6-9)