Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Current events - Televison and News, Habitat loss. Ethics and raising awareness discussions.
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Philsuma
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Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Philsuma » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:44 pm

if this thread engenders sufficient interest, I'll probably find a sub forum for "Ethics" all of it's own. I came up with the following "Tree" about a year ago. Please feel free to comment or propose additions or adjustments. I was just trying to get something on paper that I have never seen before in the hopes that it would provoke thought and debate.


But first, let's get this out of the way....and you may as well chisel it in stone:

We are ALL Hypocrites

We keep frogs in glass boxes.

We perpetuate the importation of wildlife thru our hobby practices.

Now that we got that out of the way. You cannot claim the higher moral road unless you do not keep a single frog in captivity.

But

I know what you are thinking. If that's the case...we are all "bad" and if so, everything doesn't really matter, and , and , and....

Not so fast. although there is technically one true "black and white" - legal or illegal as defined in a federal statue, there are still shades of gray. Our human social life contains all manner of shades of grey and any hobbyist pursuit does so as well. For your perusal....


The hobby ethics tree:

i. Any frog, from anywhere. No questions asked. Ever

ii. A species is in the country now, so it is absolutely fair game to acquire WC or EU imports.

iii. I realize it may have come here illegally, so I will only acquire CB offspring of that species

iv. I will acquire Legal WC frogs, but only from permitted businesses with tax ID numbers ect.

v. I will acquire only CB frogs from legally acquired species

vi. I will acquire only site / locale specific frogs from hobbyists that can back them up.

vii. I will not keep any frogs whatsoever for a variety of personal and moral reasons.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Michael Lawrence » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:32 pm

5 and 6 seem to be what the hobby or some of us are pushing for but I wouldn't rule out the collecting of WC frogs so long as they go to those capable of quality care and experience. Also to keep putting effort into unknown's that come in with imports should be discussed. Maybe work it in there as many still blindly buy them not truly knowing what issues it can cause.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Michael Lawrence » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:35 pm

And maybe an ethics chart on actual husbandry and responsible breeding practices.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Jeremy Huff » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:09 am

Looks good Phi. I think close to 100% of personal collections fall under 3. If you consider no Brazilian, French Guiana, and few Costa Rican, Ecuadorian, Colombian and Venezuelan frogs have ever been legally exported for the pet trade. Plus those brought in on scientific permits and illegally released to the hobby (ie Castis). In addition, most 'legal' frogs have at one time or another been illegally collected in parks or smuggled at other times, there is a very good chance there is an illegal history to some of everyone's frogs.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Philsuma » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:35 am

Thanks Jeremy. Everyone that knows me, is aware that I'm trying to put together a list of species and a history of origin for U.S Dart frogs in our hobby. I really have no idea how we can even try to move forward without a comprehensive list, which would be a veritable roadmap for us. And it's not like our hobby is so old, that we can't remember when things happened.I think I'll be able to get some more information from the West Coast attendees at Frog Day in May and that will help.

I do have a little write-up on D. castaneoticus that I'll probably post here at some point.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby DKOOISTRA » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:09 pm

Ethics is a difficult subject.

Most of us hold to and do our best to follow 4, 5, and 6 and i would say that those items are what is considered acceptable to the majority. The difficult part is accountability. Where does one draw the line, and how does one enforce some type of accountability when the line is crossed? What I am about to say is NOT a plug for Rich's group, I am not a part of it, but I agree with what he's doing in that it does establish a code of ethics that a group of people will agree to follow with a means of accountablility (inclusion or exclusion from the group). If I'm wrong on that please correct me, but i think thats the main thrust of what I've read with it.

My main point being that its hard to have a code of ethics without having a means to enforce a code of ethics...
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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby D3monic » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:29 pm

I was in the 5-6 range until recently.... made an assumption when making a frog purchase only to find out that it was from an older lineage and not the more recent legal brazilian import.

Shame on me though for not asking the right questions off the bat. I would have ordered the recent import from UE if I had known. Slightly dissapointed with myself. I have only been in the hobby for a year and still have lots of lessons to learn especially when it comes to the issues in the past.
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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Philsuma » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:49 pm

DKOOISTRA wrote:Ethics is a difficult subject. Most of us hold to and do our best to follow 4, 5, and 6 and i would say that those items are what is considered acceptable to the majority. The difficult part is accountability. Where does one hold the line, and how does one enforce some type of accountability when the line is crossed? What I am about to say is NOT a plug for Rich's group, I am not a part of it, but I agree whith what he's doing in that it does establish a code of ethics that a group of people will agree to follow with a means of accountablility (inclusion or exclusion from the group). If I'm wrong on that please correct me, but i think thats the main thrust of what I've read with it.
My main point being that its hard to have a code of ethics without having a means to enforce a code of ethics...


Great post - excellent point made !

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Philsuma » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:52 am

......I call it a "tree" simply for lack of better terms. I just wanted to get the start of something on paper. We all travel up and down it to some degree.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby Philsuma » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:44 am

This needs bumped.....

Again..this is not a "Good end - bad end" list. It's not a continuum either. It's more of a spectrum that we as hobbyists travel.

Does that even make sense?

Is this thread even worthwhile ? Seriously, I won't be offended it anyone says it's "wrong", incomplete or ineffectual.

I think some people recently are demanding that hobbyists STAY firmly in one of the above catagories and NEVER move.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby DKOOISTRA » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:26 pm

It makes sense to me. I think most, as they progress in the hobby, move on the ladder, from 1 to 5,6, or 7. Not that everyone starts at 1, but I'd say most at one point or another start at 1 or 2. Not everyone "researches" for months before starting out, as in my case, had no clue and didnt know where to look, now, I do. As I grow as a hobbyist, I'm much more specific about what and where I get them from. A lot of where your at on the list depends on what your motivations are as a hobbyist. Someone approaching from the conservation end of things is going to have different purchasing tendancies than someone who has them solely for the pleasure of having them.
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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Stu&Shaz » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:10 pm

Honestly Phil, I as a novice think this subject is massively worthy of debate. For us, I guess we sit at about 3 at the moment. I have tried repeatedly here in the UK to ask about the heritadge of the frogs in our possession,these are threatened species and I would hate to be part of adding to that but I can't get collection date for most available frogs in the UK. I have managed to trace certain species from one of our main suppliers back to canada and understory, and from there to SNDF ,which my research says is a renewable option,but without being on the ground I cannot verify this. Part of me was drawn to this hobby by oophaga Histrionica/Sylvatica,they will always be my dream frogs, but they are in trouble, partly due to over-collecting I fear. That said, they are being captive bred around me.This dilema is even greater for a species like mysteriosus,for which there have been no legal imports, that I know of. Here I will lay my cards on the table,I have some of these,I know where they were bred,I know that if I travel in 4 different directions within an hour I will find breeders of these, so my novice take is to do absolutely all I can to breed them and spread them around, but I cannot justify this on ethical grounds. Tonight on this thread I have read that my leucs that I believe come from a legitimate source can't have done, if there have been no legal imports from Venezuela !

In my naivety, I wanted to one day in the future have enough knowledge about this subject to be able to give something back to our frogs whether that be by donation or captive breeding, or simply buying frogs that are providing a source of revenue to keep a habitat intact, without which all is lost.

So this debate is very important to me personally,and I am arguing with myself over these issues.Threads like these help educate guys like me, but where I should sit on your tree is difficult to weigh up.Should I not have bought my mysties,which are here and thriving, but I knew a few generations back came here of questionable origin. Or is it worse that I have some leucs, again here and thriving in captivity,that untill tonight never even questioned were not from a legal and above board importation. My ideal I guess would be that all frogs came from a resourse that kept their ecosystem intact, including providing revenue for local populations,that they -the frogs, helped pay for. That came with an ID so there parents could be traced,and breeders could therefore collaberate to not only keep bloodlines pure but also outcross. But very few records are kept here of any depth and collection date is almost non existant.

Thank you for this,

Stu

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Tony » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:23 pm

Jeremy brought up some good points. So many of our hobby staples have shady backgrounds (Azureus anyone?), it is very difficult to have a collection of 100% known legal origin. It seems like with enough time those frogs are grandfathered in and widely accepted, while the newest wave of shady frogs are publicly condemned and privately stashed away until enough time has passed to make them acceptable. The only solution I see is for the countries of origin to recognize that the frogs will be collected and exported one way or another and work with responsible outfits like UE to promote sustainable exports. Prohibition only serves to make them more desirable and encourage smugglers.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Philsuma » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:33 pm

And to further muddy the legal waters....histrionicus were legally imported here in the U.S back in the 1990's. Some hobbyists argue that original animals or even F1 or F2 progeny from them is unlikely do to horrid care and husbandry information and skills in the hobby back then.

The fact remains that that species WAS legally imported and no one can say with any degree of certainty that any of those frogs may or may not have perished. Would some sort of DNA testing prove anything? Would a Law Enforcement agency spend hundred of thousands of dollars and man hours on trying to take this on ? I personally doubt it. Some thoughts.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Philsuma » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:41 pm

Stu,

Your candor and honesty is very refreshing. So many hobbyists here in the U.S try to be sly, hide what they know and what they do and even out and out, lie.

Education through awareness is key, IMO. If that silly list I made up in the original post made you ponder, think, scratch, seek out more information, phone a friend.....well then, I guess it was worth it for me to think it up.

Thanks for posting in response !

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby start thread

Postby edwardsatc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:33 pm

Jeremy Huff wrote: If you consider no Brazilian, French Guiana, and few Costa Rican, Ecuadorian, Colombian and Venezuelan frogs have ever been legally exported for the pet trade.


A quick look at the CITES trade database shows that:

French Guiana exported 34 tinctorius for commercial purposes in 1990

In Ecuador, since 1994, over 4,100 histrionicus, 100 auratus, 310 E. boulengeri, 2400 E. tricolor, and 70 listed as Dendrobates spp. have been exported from Ecuador for commercial purposes. The vast majority of the histrionicus and tricolor were exported to the US. Remember all those cheap Ecuadorian histrionicus in the 90's? As recently as 2000, histrionicus and tricolor were being exported to the trade.

Venezuela has exported a total of 10 leucs since joining CITES in 1978. The database doesn't state the purpose for export for these.


I'll post more data as I find the time. The CITES database has been extremely slow for the past couple of weeks.


Donn

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby edwardsatc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:49 pm

Curiously, Ecuador also exported 50 Phylobates spp. to the US in 1993 for commercial purposes.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby edwardsatc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:55 pm

Colombia exported 2850 Dendrobates spp. to the US in 1993 for commercial purposes. Additionally, 3 arboreus, 1 granuliferus, 11 histrionicus, and 30 lehmanni were exported to the US in 1994 for unstated purposes.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby Philsuma » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:32 pm

Wow....Oophaga granuliferus is a Costa Rican Species that MAY dip down into northen Panama a bit but that species has no business being exported from Colombia.

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Re: Ethics in the Dart Frog Hobby - start thread

Postby edwardsatc » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:40 pm

The granuliferus was a seized animal that was later exported according to the CITES source code. The arboreus and 1780 of the Dendrobates spp. were also seized animals that were later exported.


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