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Author Topic: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal  (Read 20893 times)

kirispupis

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2017, 03:09:07 PM »
One last comment/observation though: I'm not sure that people who take safaris and bring back great shots of African wildlife are, in all cases, exhibiting that much greater skill than those who shoot captive animals. The tour operators know exactly where the animals are and make it their duty to get the tourists to the animals. It sounds like great fun and I'd love to do it, but I'd feel like I was in a bit of a glass house if I were to throw stones at others.

I've spent time on safaris, and this isn't really the truth. On most occasions, the guides don't know where the animals actually are. They just know that a certain pride or specific leopard lives on an extremely large tract of land. We spent a great deal of time driving around trying to find them - even with a guide and tracker. Other vehicles will often spot animals and call you in for a view, but a number of animals (rhino, leopard, and wild dogs) in our case took several days to collectively find. Of course, behavior that may make your shot stand out (such as a hunt) requires a lot of luck and enough skill to capture the fleeting moment.
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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2017, 03:09:07 PM »

Skatol

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2017, 03:27:37 PM »
......Of course, behavior that may make your shot stand out (such as a hunt) requires a lot of luck and enough skill to capture the fleeting moment.
I think this is what it really boils down to.  Study the subject enough to understand the behavior.  I do not agree with creating a dependence of the animals on the baiter for a food source.  In several cases I'm aware of, animals have been euthanized due to illnesses directly related to poor diets.

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unfocused

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2017, 03:31:01 PM »
One last comment/observation though: I'm not sure that people who take safaris and bring back great shots of African wildlife are, in all cases, exhibiting that much greater skill than those who shoot captive animals. The tour operators know exactly where the animals are and make it their duty to get the tourists to the animals. It sounds like great fun and I'd love to do it, but I'd feel like I was in a bit of a glass house if I were to throw stones at others.

I've spent time on safaris, and this isn't really the truth. On most occasions, the guides don't know where the animals actually are. They just know that a certain pride or specific leopard lives on an extremely large tract of land. We spent a great deal of time driving around trying to find them - even with a guide and tracker. Other vehicles will often spot animals and call you in for a view, but a number of animals (rhino, leopard, and wild dogs) in our case took several days to collectively find. Of course, behavior that may make your shot stand out (such as a hunt) requires a lot of luck and enough skill to capture the fleeting moment.

I'll defer to your experience. My intent was not to criticize those who go on safaris. As I said, I'd love to do it. I apologize if my comments came across as too harsh or judgmental. My intent was simply to suggest that there is a wide range of experiences and talents needed to produce great photographs. We all do our best to improve our odds of getting memorable shots and ultimately I think it is about being honest with yourself and with others.

Upon further reflection I've deleted that last paragraph from my earlier post, as I don't think it really added anything to the discussion.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 03:34:55 PM by unfocused »

RGF

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2017, 03:31:46 PM »
will some explain baiting to me.

toss a mouse, fish, etc for a bird is baiting

What about a feeder?

What about a man made water hole?

Is setting up a perch near a nest site equivalent to baiting?  Or a perch near a water hole (either natural or man made)?

I could go on

I find the topic confusing - reminds of Talmudic law.

kirispupis

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 03:49:55 PM »
will some explain baiting to me.

toss a mouse, fish, etc for a bird is baiting

What about a feeder?

What about a man made water hole?

Is setting up a perch near a nest site equivalent to baiting?  Or a perch near a water hole (either natural or man made)?

I could go on

I find the topic confusing - reminds of Talmudic law.

It is confusing and I don't think we're going to reach a consensus. It's one of those questions where many are passionate, but the entire thing is really a grey area.

In my particular case, I've come to the conclusion that I need to ask three questions concerning the event.
  • Was the animal harmed in any way by the activity in which I participated? This is of course subjective itself,
     but say someone pulled a sea turtle out of the ocean and let it flap around in the boat for an hour while people photographed it. For any cases like this, I shouldn't even be there.
  • Was the animal restrained from its natural course in any way? For example, is the animal in a zoo or any other enclosure? In this case, I may take photos but not include them in my portfolio.
  • Was the animal's behavior changed in any way, compared to how it would behave were we standing still, just to obtain a photograph? Photos in this category also don't belong in my portfolio.

So, based on my personal limits:
- Tossing a mouse - not allowed. I'm changing its behavior.
- A feeder - for standard garden birds, allowed. Garden birds have grown used to this, so no change in behavior.
- man made water hole - allowed. Animals don't care that it's man made, and they're not changing for me.
- setting up a perch - allowed. Similar to a water hole.
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applecider

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2017, 03:52:28 PM »
I would not overthink this.  If you are promoting this as something that it is not then that is on you for ethics.  We all set up our shots in some ways, I happen to enjoy interacting with wildlife, whether it be walking around them or sneaking them a snack. 

The ducks at my local pond have gotten used to me walking my hunting dog and slipping both the dog and the ducks almost all mallards, a few dog treats.  Ducks are at least as omnivorous as dogs so they enjoy them.

The ducks follow us around the pond, and are comfortable with the dog to about five feet when feeding both dog and ducks.  If the eagles see the aggregation of fowl and chose to overfly, that’s a natural picture to me.

And what constitutes feeding?  Is a roadside deer feeding on an unnatural source or elk in an alfalfa field?  Or is any wildlife at Yellowstone?

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Skatol

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 03:54:44 PM »
will some explain baiting to me.

toss a mouse, fish, etc for a bird is baiting

What about a feeder?

What about a man made water hole?

Is setting up a perch near a nest site equivalent to baiting?  Or a perch near a water hole (either natural or man made)?

I could go on

I find the topic confusing - reminds of Talmudic law.

It is confusing and I don't think we're going to reach a consensus. It's one of those questions where many are passionate, but the entire thing is really a grey area.

In my particular case, I've come to the conclusion that I need to ask three questions concerning the event.
  • Was the animal harmed in any way by the activity in which I participated? This is of course subjective itself,
     but say someone pulled a sea turtle out of the ocean and let it flap around in the boat for an hour while people photographed it. For any cases like this, I shouldn't even be there.
  • Was the animal restrained from its natural course in any way? For example, is the animal in a zoo or any other enclosure? In this case, I may take photos but not include them in my portfolio.
  • Was the animal's behavior changed in any way, compared to how it would behave were we standing still, just to obtain a photograph? Photos in this category also don't belong in my portfolio.

So, based on my personal limits:
- Tossing a mouse - not allowed. I'm changing its behavior.
- A feeder - for standard garden birds, allowed. Garden birds have grown used to this, so no change in behavior.
- man made water hole - allowed. Animals don't care that it's man made, and they're not changing for me.
- setting up a perch - allowed. Similar to a water hole.
Agreed.  The one thing I would add is if using a feeder make sure to set it up in an area close to cover so the birds can retreat if necessary.  This will also increase the number of visits to your feeder.
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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 03:54:44 PM »

Mikehit

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 04:04:37 PM »
One last comment/observation though: I'm not sure that people who take safaris and bring back great shots of African wildlife are, in all cases, exhibiting that much greater skill than those who shoot captive animals. The tour operators know exactly where the animals are and make it their duty to get the tourists to the animals. It sounds like great fun and I'd love to do it, but I'd feel like I was in a bit of a glass house if I were to throw stones at others.

I've spent time on safaris, and this isn't really the truth. On most occasions, the guides don't know where the animals actually are. They just know that a certain pride or specific leopard lives on an extremely large tract of land. We spent a great deal of time driving around trying to find them - even with a guide and tracker. Other vehicles will often spot animals and call you in for a view, but a number of animals (rhino, leopard, and wild dogs) in our case took several days to collectively find. Of course, behavior that may make your shot stand out (such as a hunt) requires a lot of luck and enough skill to capture the fleeting moment.

So what is the difference between a guide knowing where to go and driving into the right position to take the photo, and someone having a hide where they know the animals are?

'In our case took several days to find'....not you. The guide. You did zip. You were simply plonked in the right position to take the photo. Capturing the fleeting moment takes skill and luck whether it is truly 'hunted' by yourself, or you were put in the right position by a guide driving a truck, or you went to a wildlife hide in the right place, or someone baiting the animals to make it easier or in a zoo.

I know I am being deliberately contentious here to simply point out that your issues are self imposed. As I see it, your whole reason for posting this thread is for people to validate your own ethics. You have already decided to not include this image in your portfolio, and anyone who says 'include it' you have said why you haven't.  So I am not sure why you asked the question other than self-validation.

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2017, 04:05:39 PM »
- A feeder - for standard garden birds, allowed. Garden birds have grown used to this, so no change in behavior.

Yeah, but as Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri show us, birds aren't the only ones who like bird feeders...

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KarstenReis

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2017, 04:10:27 PM »
I would take a look at this: http://www.audubon.org/get-outside/audubons-guide-ethical-bird-photography

My personal opinion is that you shouldn't include that photo in your portfolio. Raptors (i.e. hawks, owls, and eagles) are smart and once they start associating food with humans that directly alters the way they behave. You would be misrepresenting yourself based on the parameters set out.

takesome1

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2017, 04:25:05 PM »
There have been studies on baiting and feeding wildlife and its effects.
So this is a tough one.

Some might say it is unethical to bait any wildlife, and the fact that you even took the picture when this was happening brings in to question your ethics.

Some might say if you are selling the picture for cash to feed your family, then it is ethical to do what you have to feed your starving family.

And finally some might say, it would be ethical to have brought a shotgun and harvested the eagle to feed your starving family.

For me it is in the representation, if you lie and tell me it is a natural unaltered picture then my ethical judgment is you are a liar. I see no problem with displaying the picture with no claim, real or fake. The only problem is the lie.

unfocused

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2017, 05:42:30 PM »
will some explain baiting to me.

toss a mouse, fish, etc for a bird is baiting

What about a feeder?

What about a man made water hole?

Is setting up a perch near a nest site equivalent to baiting?  Or a perch near a water hole (either natural or man made)?

I could go on

I find the topic confusing - reminds of Talmudic law.

+1. One thing I keep thinking about is how farmers along the natural flyways of Sandhill Cranes are encouraged to leave some of their grain in the field. In fact, even wildlife refuges do this. Is that baiting?

unfocused

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2017, 05:47:22 PM »
...'In our case took several days to find'....not you. The guide. You did zip. You were simply plonked in the right position to take the photo. Capturing the fleeting moment takes skill and luck whether it is truly 'hunted' by yourself, or you were put in the right position by a guide driving a truck, or you went to a wildlife hide in the right place, or someone baiting the animals to make it easier or in a zoo.

I know I am being deliberately contentious here to simply point out that your issues are self imposed. As I see it, your whole reason for posting this thread is for people to validate your own ethics. You have already decided to not include this image in your portfolio, and anyone who says 'include it' you have said why you haven't.  So I am not sure why you asked the question other than self-validation.

Maybe a bit harsh, but I'm thinking you have a valid point. I feel like many of us got suckered into giving thoughtful, honest answers only to learn that fostering a discussion might not have been the point of this thread after all.

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2017, 05:47:22 PM »

unfocused

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2017, 05:49:48 PM »
- A feeder - for standard garden birds, allowed. Garden birds have grown used to this, so no change in behavior.

Yeah, but as Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri show us, birds aren't the only ones who like bird feeders...



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Otara

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2017, 06:31:07 PM »
This might be obvious, but it also depends who the portfolio is going to be viewed by, ie who your intended audience is.  If you plan on it potentially being presented to organisations or individuals that disagree with the idea of baiting etc, then its not going to be very useful including it, regardless of your own ethical stance towards it.




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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2017, 06:31:07 PM »