The Ethics of Culling Snakes

While everyone else is arguing on whether dominant genes have a super form, I’d like to return attention to this:

I want to know the answer to this, too. Breeding an animal just to see what it looks like and then culling it is just wildly unethical.

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I would say that’s a no since they stated no one else has it.

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This is what worried me on the read through, and honestly in my personal opinion, if that many healthy animals were culled in the discovery and testing for a gene, it should be a disqualifying factor for listing a gene/sales on MM. I can’t imagine the count on culled animals if this gene was discovered and worked with from 2008 until now, a period of 14 years.

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The only time I think it is acceptable is if they are fed. Everything needs to eat, so if they were fed to something else it’s not the same to me, but if they were just thrown away that changes a lot for me. I don’t know if that would change the listing on here, but I personally would not buy an Eramosa snake for a very long time (probably never) if this is true.

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I understand your position, it’s a valid one, especially in a hobby like this where they can be used as a prey item.

For me, personally, even if they were fed, it just rubs me the wrong way that someone was so intent on being the first to have something new that they destroyed perfectly healthy animals, regardless of if they ended up going to waste or not. I’ve noticed that the reptile community in general can be rather secretive about new morphs, and in the end it ends up causing problems, i.e. when people hide that a gene produces defects, etc. I’m just hoping for clarification, overall.

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I agree, I’m never going to agree with culling animals like this under these circumstances, no matter what was done with the bodies. If they were just thrown away that is much worse and really changes things for me.

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I know it’s been a couple days, but I want to bring us back around to this because I’d still really like clarification on this.

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It’s unfortunate, but I’ve got a feeling this type of thing happens more than we’d like to accept. I’m sure there’s many that do this and just don’t talk about it. Doesn’t make it right, but i imagine many others do it.

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Definitely doesn’t make it right. If you’re correct and there are breeders out there culling perfectly healthy animals just to keep a potential new gene out of the hands of anyone else or to save the costs of feeding them, that’s one of the most concerning practices I have heard of and we as a hobby seriously need to take a look at our ethics standards.

I agree with one of the posts further above - if in order to prove out this new gene there were hundreds of healthy animals culled (13 years is a LONG time to be sitting on this gene) in my opinion that should disqualify from any hobby recognition of the gene. If we allow such practices, how can we claim to ever have the best interest of these animals in mind?

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Just to clarify, my point was not to indicate I think it is an “okay” or acceptable practice, just that I would be surprised if it was something that isn’t happening more than we are aware. That doesn’t at all make it right and I agree it should be stopped.

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In the breeding world at large the term culling simply means removing it from your breeding program. Considering Cory’s Canadian and a very well spoken professional, I think this being taken well out of context. Cory is a very successful producer and exporter of ball pythons, it would not be financially sensible to cull ball pythons as feeders when you have a wholesale outlet for them.

I was raised around livestock and produced livestock and poultry extensively. I use the word cull to represent the removal of undesirable animals from my program. It rarely means I actually killed the animal.

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I really hope that that’s the case and that is why I asked for clarification (which Corey still hasn’t given). In my experience in the reptile hobby, most uses of the word “cull” imply the death of the animal - you are the first I’ve heard use it in this hobby specifically not to mean euthanization in some way (I know it’s a lot more common in livestock breeding). I do absolutely hope you’re right, but it’s worth asking for the clarification, especially since in this case we’re talking about a new gene which Corey is very clear no one else has. If that’s the case, there can’t be wholesale animals floating around.

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Which is why we are asking for clarification. This could easily be resolved by Corey himself.

You say, “in the breeding world at large” but no breeder I’ve ever spoken with has referred to removing an animal from a breeding project as “culling”, I’ve only ever heard that term used in reference to dispatching an animal that had defects or otherwise. You’ve also conveniently omitted the second definition of cull, which is in fact in reference to killing animals. Only Corey knows what he meant by that, and the fact that multiple people are concerned with the verbiage means clarification is required here.

To address this specifically, you say he has a wholesale outlet for them, but he himself said no one else has the gene. Which means either he’s kept almost 14 years worth of bred animals, or they were dispatched. I don’t know a lot of breeders who would hold onto that many animals when they have active projects that they’re not used in.

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I feel that before any person decides that they want to raise and sell animals, any animal. They really need to think long and hard about the “what if’s”

What am i going to do if the offspring is born with defects?

What is my plan to safely and humanely put down very sick or injured animals or with severe birth defects?

What am i going to do with the “undesirable” animals that nobody wants. ?

What if my animals “age out” meaning for example kittens ( everyone wants a kitten. Its much harder to sell a cat especially if it isn’t what some find attractive) ?

How am i going to care for these excess animals while i wait for buyers or if nobody is buying?

Is it sound to breed during economic hardships such as we have been experiencing during this pandemic.

Everyone thinks their ideas are the best and often put the cart before the horse. (As in thinking oh man im gonna breed ball pythons for example) im gonna make easy money, people will “love” my gene combo etc.

Most businesses fail within the 1st 3 years. Having knowledge about something does not equate to success.

I feel that if you cannot answer those questions, perhaps you shouldn’t be breeding.

I myself have to face this dilemma if i decide to breed my arachnids especially as they tend to have lots of offspring. What am i going to do with all the babies? This will be especially true if i ever aquire a partheneogenic species.

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After reading everything, to me it sounds like he wanted to control the gene completely so he could have a monopoly on it. Until he clarifies, which if he actually did this I imagine he won’t (because it is honestly kinda messed up) I am staying far away from any of his stuff. Culling snakes because they have deformities is one thing, but culling just because you wanna be the only one with something and don’t wanna sell it is beyond messed up.

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I know someone personally who is well known and breeds excessively imo. He tends to keep the best for himself ( i guess its his right) and sells the “ugly” ones and kills the ones that don’t sell.

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To me many breeders are like the people who play collectable card games. ( i did for several years) everyone searches for the “holy grail” card that will make their deck or make them rich, when in reality there are many more losers than winners.

Finding that wow! it factor animal is a lot like gambling and probably just as addictive and detrimental. You could roll the dice and come out craps with nothing panning out. Now you are out of pocket and stuck with animals nobody really wants and ultimately it’s the animals who pay the bill.

Im not saying there are not responsible breeders but there are a ton who are not, just look at any shelter of unwanted animals.

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I’m withdrawing from this conversation as it’s become an emotionally driven series of personal digs (based on no actual evidence) against someone who’s been a productive member of the industry far longer than anyone speaking here. Someone who has done much to gain the respect of his peers and is well thought of throughout the industry and has been for a couple decades.

I also can’t be indifferent when people who feel justified feeding rodents to predators, and also feel justified disparaging someone who (may or may not) have euthanized snakes.

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I disagree. I don’t think there are any person digs against him, it’s simply reading what he wrote. There needs to be some clarification, because it blatantly says that he is the only person with the gene, and he culled combos not used. Process of elimination leads one to be able to conclude that they were killed off so he didn’t let anyone else have the gene.

It’s as simple as providing clarification, or owning up to the actions. If he does it, he does it, and if he doesn’t, just clarify it and move on.

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He said no one else has this morph and that he has culled the snakes not used for breeding. What more evidence do you want than his own words? Even long-standing respected members of various communities have turned out to less than good people in the long-run. It isn’t impossible for this to be the case here.

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