Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Too Damned Sick!

I thought that I had heard enough to be immune to the shock of money-making schemes online, but I was wrong. Let me back up a moment here. My Critical Thinking students have to compile a Fallacy Notebook for next Friday. To do this, they check out arguments (letters to the editor, blogs, ads, etc.) in any form(s) of media they wish, selecting ten that stand as examples of different logical fallacies (they may only use any given fallacy only once and associate only one fallacy with each source). One student brought in something disturbed us.

Apparently, one man (oh, how degrading to the gender this is!) rescued a rabbit a few months back and nursed him back to health. An enterprising fellow, he decided that he could use the rabbit, now named Toby, to make a little cash, so he start

Now, Toby is not sick, not old, not mauled by a cat. In fact, Toby is in good health by his owner's accounting. Still, unless his owner receives $50,000 in donations by the end of June, Toby becomes a mid-summer main course (recipes are available on the site). Tell me, am I wrong for being disturbed by this? "Give me money or I will kill my pet rabbit, which I rescued and nursed back to health." Nice one. Think he's just showing off his marketing skills? Maybe, but he has already gotten, as of this writing, over $15,000 in donations (that's almost $2,000 between 2/8 and 2/20, folks).

Does this fall into the realm of private rights, or can the SPCA do something here. The law, wherever this twit may live, may regard Toby as property to be cared for and raised of butchered (he has promised to use a real butcher) and eaten. I'm no animal rights activist, but come on! There are limits to decency, and this is a few steps over the line. I'd like to hear your ideas, and maybe we can start a "Free Toby" campaign (I do not want your money, I want your ideas and your suppport).


At 10:10 AM, Blogger Mr. H.K. said...

Just get the ASPCA and PETA on the phone. They'll take care of Toby.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Andrew Purvis said...

Thanks for the feedback. I have contacted SPCA/LA (because I can get to their offices if I wish), and my wife has suggested I go to PETA as well.

I have hopes that both organizations are aware, but then who knows? If this guy is serious, it is cruel. If he is joking, it is fraud. I'm pulling for some form of penalty, personally. Anyone got a cattle prod and K-Y?

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Trey Desolay said...

Wow. This guy aced that assignment, no? How much clearer and more immediate an Appeal to Pity could he have found in a newspaper or on a blog?

But as clear and immediate as is his example, it is also nuanced. This Appeal to Pity works only because it plays upon a set of values that don't stand up to rigorous examination (unless of course you are teaching at Vegan U., in which case, never mind).

Discussion must have been lively once you asked your students how their reactions might have differed had "Toby" been a cow or a chicken.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Jewels said...

I love animals, too, but I think he knows that human nature will win him what he's after.

If what he says is true, he's nursed this bunny back to health and it sounds as though funds to support him have run dry.

He decides to use his marketing expertise to support expenses, round up some cash and yes, use the cute little bunny as a tool.

It sounds like clever marketing. He's raising controversy, luring countless bloggers, critiques and curiosity-seekers to his site. I think he's proven his skill already.

We've seen this type of thing before. Surely there's been worse exploitation on the net. And I wouldn't quite bet my bottom dollar, but I doubt he'd eat his young'un, simply based on the fact that he had a choice and did save Toby.

I say lighten up. Toby's owner deserves an A. You're giving him just what he wants.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Andrew Purvis said...

Toby's owner deserves an A in what? I teach English. One of my students brought in the front page as an example of a fallacy.

If this person has no intention of eating Toby, regardless of how much or little money he gets, then he has committed fraud in a manner that violates interstate wiretap laws.

I guess, though, it worked wonders in Iraq, using a journalist instead of a rabbit.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger J.P. said...

I don't know if I'd give him an "A" in anything.

As for getting him for cruelty to animals, it might be a stretch. If the job of 'butcher' were illegal on the grounds of cruelty to animals, they'd all be out of business.

If it turns out that Toby's owner is telling the truth, it would be impossible to get him on fraud. Those who have donated have done it out of free will, and Toby will live.

If you're feeling a little evil, find someone who knows computers and have them send the guy a virus someway, somehow.

If all these options fail, we could make the guy a counter offer by proposing that we start a fund to pay him $50,000 to stick a cattle prod up his ass. We'd have to have all rights to the photos, however, and we'd be able to do whatever we want with them.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Jewels said...

"A" in what? Marketing.

Yes, I know that's not what you teach. It was just an editorial commentary.

Although Abnormal's idea could work.


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