I would like the BBS Authors to agree, please

Please stop glamorizing and complicitly encouraging the keeping and feeding of wild animals such as opossums and raccoons. I find Sandlin and others at BB to be terribly inconsistent in their messaging regarding relations between humans and wild/exotic animals.

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Taking the position that you should stay well away from both is perfectly valid; but there’s a fairly evident distinction available between the category of ill-advised animal interactions that is a serious conservation issue and the one that’s likely to end poorly for some specific participants(animal, human, or both) but which presents no population level concern(or where the population-level concern is just how well the population does in the face of human presence, even if individual interactions often go badly).

This isn’t to say that I’m in favor of trying to turn racoons into nature puppies(I’m not, if nothing else their parasite loads freak me the hell out); but treating an animal that has done very well for itself adjacent to humans as distinct from one whose popularity will probably end in extinction isn’t some esoteric act of sophistical hair-splitting.

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“But these animals are often very difficult to care for, and keeping them as pets could be harmful to them (or to you).”

I think Sandlin’s words here apply to all wild/exotic animals, regardless of whether the whole population is threatened or it’s only individuals that are being harmed.

She makes the case that TikTok etc is leading to an increase in exotic animal trade. Meanwhile, there’s a number of posts on BB that could be said to normalize the keeping and feeding of less exotic animals.

In February, Sandlin posted about a “raccoon drive thru.”

Cruelty is cruelty. Harm is harm. Altering the natural behavior of any animal is harassment.

Is it OK to harm “common” wildlife just because they aren’t threatened at the population level. Why make that distinction?

I’m just asking for some intellectual and ethical consistency from Sandlin. It’s hypocritical to call out TikTok for putting animals in danger when you’re also putting animals in danger via BB.

Edited for typos/autocorrect

I agree with you that keeping of any non-domesticated animal is not good and I’m always outspoken about it here on the BBS.

Maybe ease up on BB writers specifically though. It’s a tough gig, I doubt they are well paid, and we’re all grateful they are here. I think you’re working overly hard to find some grand hypocrisy that isn’t there.


It’s almost always the women or POC who get the lion’s share of negative attention too. Wonder why?


Nah. Not working hard at all, and there’s nothing “grand” about it. Just do a search on possums or raccoons, etc. and you’ll find a number of BB authors who are guilty of sensationalizing poor treatment of animals in the name of “cuteness”. People who are ostensibly animal lovers should understand that encouraging these behaviors undermines their position.

By way of personal context I will say I’ve become a hard liner on this issue ever since a neighbor threw some raccoons a kiddie pool party for the sake of social media likes. Another friend posted video of himself feeding a squirrel the other day. Posting crap like “the raccoon whisperer” only encourages these people and BB should stop. I know BB is a drop in the bucket of the wider internet, but I see no valid reason to “go easy on them.”
They should know better and they should do better.

Editing to add:
A fed animal is a dead animal.
Let wild animals remain wild.

Nah, make sure Seamus Bellamy, Cory Doctorow, Mark Fraunfelder and Rusty Blazenhoff are on the list.

Edited to add: dunno if any of them are POC, though

And that’s not who you went after, of course. And you ARE aware that @Rusty_Blazenhoff is a woman, right?

And Cory doesn’t even write here anymore. Are you over at pluralistic calling him out?

I get caring about this issue, and I’m more inclined to agree with you about. But the fact that women and POC who are writers get the lion’s share of “shaming” posts from people who are not regulars is a real problem (and from some regulars, too, in fact). I get that animals might be more important to you than these “petty” issues of misogyny and racism, but there you have it… :woman_shrugging:


:notes: :musical_note:She’s gone, she’s gone
Oh I, oh I
I better learn how to face it
She’s gone, she’s gone
Oh I, oh I
I’d pay the devil to replace her
She’s gone, and she’s gone
Oh why, what went wrong? :musical_note: :notes:


Make sure to stamp your feet extra hard if they aren’t…


Tbf also anyone identified as Jewish that works here also gets targeted abuse. Lots of abuse going around online that’s for sure. That being said the ugliest I’ve seen has been directed towards women and afaik most women that worked here do not work here anymore. So… There is that.



And I find it really annoying when people use something they object to, that many of us might agree with, as cover for their attacks. And given how often it happens–that people show up, attack the OP rather than seeking to have a discussion about the issue–it’s more often than not, not really about the issue at hand. So, that might explain a bit of our knee-jerkedness here… Even as this is a generally safer space, women here still have to deal with being attacked on a regular basis.

Kristen Wiig Yep GIF by Where’d You Go Bernadette

And being a woman here is likely far easier than other places online…


Yeah… I imagine they try and just getting people to try is more than half the effort. Good on them for that.

This is OT though so I’m going to shut up about it.


Hey there, I’m not a POC but yes, I am a woman. A Gen-Xer. I am also queer, low-income, a single mom, and the cycle-breaking black sheep in my family.

I also adore animals esp. my darling cat, Missy (photo for proof).

Now, I’ve been a professional blogger since 2011, and frankly, I wish I could take back some things I’ve written. But, as I’ve grown, I strive to improve and be accountable for when I inevitably make mistakes. The internet can be, well, mean which means I have developed a pretty thick skin.

Now, if you’re referring to the latest animal post I wrote, I want to make sure you understand that’s it not a real pigeon. :stuck_out_tongue:


Katharine Hepburn Salute GIF

Yep… and my problem with our gentle poster here (and others who pop up to focus on their pet issue) is that women (and POC and queer people - pretty much anyone one of us who are not white, straight,male, etc) do not get the same space as men to make mistakes online. We are held to a higher standard and attacked harder for what we do and say. There is always someone waiting to man or white splain how we’re wrong…

I take issue with people popping up here to do that, because I highly value the community here, and the people who blog here, even if I don’t always agree with y’all. But I value all that you do and how you give us the space to share our thoughts and views with you and each other. It’s a rare space online these days that lately has felt under constant attack for that.


Thank you for all of this. BB is an unusual space and should be protected at all costs, as should its bloggers and devoted readers like yourself :heart:


mood GIF

I sort of feel like this is one of the few spaces of the old WWW that isn’t as corporatized as the rest of the WWW has become…


Hi, Sandlin here! I just wanted to say thank you for this engaging discussion, I really do appreciate it. I think I was specifically thinking about this news out of New Zealand from last year, where so many axolotls were being abandoned to pet shelters after their owners got bored of them. I also truly see your point about how we shouldn’t be glamorizing feeding wild animals like raccoons – Ever since I posted that Raccoon Drive Thru story I’ve felt like I should be doing better with regard to that issue. Just wanted to check in and let you know I appreciate the comments. And because it will come up tomorrow, probably (cause I have a post pending about a baby animal being born at a zoo), zoos are an interesting dilemma for me, on one hand I hate them because they are colonialist institutions, on the other hand, they also sometimes play a role in wildlife conservation, and particularly the places that are actual wildlife sanctuaries that take in abandoned and sick animals.

Anyway, again, I’m just checking in to say hi and that I appreciate that folks read and engage with my work. Thanks.


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Thank you for this.