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Freddie, I was really really enjoying this article until you made the jaw dropping assertion that its ridiculous that *kids*(!!) would ever be inspired hurt animals unintentionally based on a video game. There was a boom in pet owl sales post Harry Potter — animals average people/impulse buyers have no ability to care for. Clownfish were poached from the wild in record numbers to be sold as pets after Finding Nemo despite the fact that the whole freaking movie was about the evils of keeping fish as pets. I’m sure there’s plenty of other examples of pop culture having devastating effects on how people treat, buy, sell wildlife — and these were adult buyers and sellers and economic actors in the pet trade — it hardly seems hysterical that in the privacy of their homes that kids might emulate something they see in a game with a pet parrot. I didn’t read any of those threads so I have no idea if your psychoanalysis of the parrot inquisitors is correct or if they had a sincere concern for the wellbeing of captive animals (Parrots are so intelligent and difficult to care for they probably never had any business being in the pet trade to begin with.) But it seems incredibly ignorant and callous to just assume petty bad faith on the part of people engaged in a niche animal care subculture just because all the relevant nouns in the story sound quirky/weird (parrots, chocolate chip cookies, minecraft). Its a very similar rhetorical trick to what conservatives do with federally funded research that has *any* quirky unusual facets involving “silly” animals. There was a huge conservative freak out a few years back because of a scientific study that involved putting shrimp on treadmills to research their metabolism — the headlines screamed IVORY TOWER EGG HEADS ARE USING YOUR TAX DOLLARS TO PLAY SILLY GAMES WITH SHRIMP!! It seems uncharacteristically dismissive and ignorant of you to just assume concern about captive parrots is contrived bad faith nonsense.

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