Secrecy in the Bird World:
Good or Bad
The bird world is as full of secrets, personalities, egos and insight as it is birds, people and places. Indeed, what a dull place it would be without mystery, challenge or excitement. There is however, a big difference between a genuine mystery and efforts to defraud people of money or practice deceit in the way one deals with ones bird transactions. Unfortunately, deceit has led to a nasty backlash against any form of independence or desire for anonymity among any group or class of breeders or bird enthusiasts.
Everything that one says must conform to an "established way of thinking". To think outside this area is tantamount to treason, and resented by those who are comfortable within a niche of friends, who share similar thoughts, activities and ideas. Indeed, this is how strong links are formed among those dedicated enthusiasts who are really responsible for creating awareness of their birds, and maintaining that interest from the general public over lengthy periods. Unfortunately, people are fickle, and are quick to forget those few dedicated individuals when new, almost instantaneous methods of communication develop, and people have answers at their fingertips in seconds.
The dedication from volunteer organizations and its people, is unceremoniously dropped or forgotten as new "svengalis" appear under various guises in new communication mediums. The dedicated enthusiasts have few options if they wish to continue to maintain their position in the bird world. They can pull back and ignore events occurring around them, or can actively pursue a new awareness among a new generation of bird enthusiasts. One need simply look at the sudden rise and interest in "yahoo groups"; web sites; chat rooms, and advertisements on the World Wide Web to see that a new era has dawned. People appear more aggressive, less willing to wait for answers and information, they desire immediate access to data and most of all want those answers or a reasonable facsimile there-of. The battle for domination of the Web and minds of millions is well along.
Secrecy in the Past
Avian secrets of the past often had to do with the removal of wild birds from their native land, and smuggling them to affluent individuals who were collectors of birds or desired first access to a new mutation or variation. Smuggling remains a problem today, although the magnitude or scope may extend well beyond the individual. This frowned upon activity had and has a negative impact on bird survival in transport or while awaiting transport; on the remaining population and on that population's generational success, as many of the birds taken would have been rather young, and not up to long trips or confinement. Conditions in overcrowded quarters were abysmal, as was care, attention and mortality.
The creation of new mutations or color varieties through physical dyeing or painting of feathers and down, would have been one of the methods frowned upon and resented by the purchaser or collector. The concept of someone duping them in such a way, unheard of. This was followed by the introduction of dye into eggs of precocial young (chickens), so they would hatch with a different down color. The greatest concern was the crossing of different birds to create new color combinations as was and is practiced through something we term hybridism.
The anger and resentment at having found to be "taken in" and purchasing a bird of questionable origin, quickly led to the isolation and distrust that we see hybridism in today. You will remember that individuals procuring such animals spent a great deal of money on their acquisitions and would not want to be perceived as "having one pulled over on them". Is it little wonder, if curators and collectors were fooled by hybrid birds, that they would want to outlaw the practice completely. Today, we still have problems with hybridism and some trying to pass off hybrid birds as the "real thing". I would not want to believe that any of us would think that this highly questionable application of hybridism and associated misrepresentation of sale would be anything other than unethical
Secrecy was the purview of the large or medium collector, who spent large sums of money to finance their "hobby" or "pursuit". If they were fortunate enough to be in receipt of an extraordinary pair of birds, is it little wonder that they would remain quite, and control the flow or production of those animals as they saw fit. Some would see this as unreasonable and think they should have shared their valuable finds. Why ? They spent a considerable amount of their money in order to have something special. If they desired not to share with people, that was their right. If they desired to produce as many animals as they wished before making them available on the market, that too could be argued as their right, although some, maybe many, would disagree. There is nothing that prevents someone who has spent a great deal to acquire something, in a legitimate manner, from being able to recover that money at a time and place of their choosing. Those who resent the practice resent the wealth, and the high cost of the birds at sale. In other words, petty jealousies.
Sometimes egos are involved in the bird world, as they tend to be everywhere. If an individual was fortunate enough to experience a mutation among her birds, but refused to sell those birds to those she felt undeserving, is there anything wrong with that?
Good or Bad
Can secrecy be anything but bad ? We all know that people tend to try and keep secrets, where secrets are necessary, because of the harm some things can do. We know that secrecy revolves around hybridism and inbreeding: Why ? Because we have been taught to see them as wrong or bad. In the past and even today, that may be true, but it is still distills to a question of how activities are questioned and perceived. Anyone associated with, practicing or advocating such activities is highly questionable, in the eyes of many (the question of ethics in hybridizing and inbreeding are dealt with on another page). Furthermore, when one provides a forum for the voices of hybridism and inbreeding, where names are kept confidential or anonymous, others try to suggest that the site is neither plausible, credible nor can be taken seriously.
Whether the site is plausible, creditable or serious is up to the reader to decide. The mere focus of a site on such activities as colony breeding, inbreeding and hybridism is bound to generate feelings of fear or revulsion or conversely excitement and statements such as "finally, someone discussing what needs to be discussed". Those who do not take the site and its information seriously need not participate, whether organization or individual. However, this is not so much of a case of individual reluctance to participate, as it is a question of whether organizations or individuals are being hypocritical in what they are advocating and doing. This site welcomes all view points, and if the lovebird community and other avian communities really do care for their birds, they will participate to ensure that erroneous information, that may harm our birds or the purity of current populations, is corrected in a timely fashion.
Is the secrecy of individual comments, on a site such as this, critical to success ? or is it merely another lying and deceiving mechanism to promote distasteful methodologies. After all, goes the argument, "how can you trust someone who does not want to give their name or is afraid to stand behind their perceptions and thoughts". The simple answer is that people have been shunned, ostracized and derided for far less, than open statements about breeding methodologies. If this site helps to see two diametrically opposing views come to some common ground, it is worth the effort. Will our birds benefit? Absolutely.
What is there to lose, other than a fear of the opposite side. No personal retribution is possible because of the site's stated objective of anonymity. The site welcomes debate on these issues that affect us all, but the site and the people writing to it, should not be questioned about credible or non credible perspectives (if detracters have the courage of their convictions, they will write their thoughts and objections to this site). This site does not, and will not post credentials. If you have a salient position that differs from those posted, the ability to put cogent thoughts together in a readable manner will sell itself, not advertise the individual's credentials or gather "points" for an individual's stated position. This site lets those interested in the debate, around secrecy and practical breeding methods, to reach an understanding on the pros and cons, based on the views posted: Not, on anything else.
Anonymity / Secrecy
Is anonymity important ? It is the basis or foundation of democracy in that every individual has the opportunity to place a vote by secret ballot, where none will know the position or leanings of that individual. The selection of a new Pope is conducted behind closed doors. Controversial issues will often be decided by secret ballot because of the fear of reprisals.
People are often influenced by position and standing in the community,
and sometimes the ability of certain individuals to inflict nasty reprisals
on those who would disagree with them. So let's not fool ourselves
by saying that anonymity is not required and that a person needs to stand
up to defend their position and put their name to something. If someone
really disagrees with something, and feels that they can comment in anonymity,
they will usually do so, and that is what this site is about. Is
anonymity necessarily a bad thing? No.
Disclaimer of Liability: All information contained in this web site is provided in good faith. While I have attempted to make the information in this and associated documents as accurate as possible, I give no guarantee as to the accuracy or currency of any information provided through this service or found as a consequence of this service nor for any loss or damage resulting from any such information. Furthermore, I do not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information contained within.
Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name , trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by me.
Please e-mail any questions or responses
you might have.