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Animals Should Not Be Used As Football “Oracles”

Animals Should Not Be Used As Football “Oracles”

In a fervor to foretell the fate of the football teams in the European Championship matches, many are turning to animals to “prophesy” who will win. Using animals as oracles goes back to ancient times: The ancient Greeks and Romans sacrificed animals including cattle and sheep and “read” their intestines to determine what to do and what the gods’ will might be; they also observed the behavior of birds to divine the future.

An octopus named Paul is the more recent inspiration for Germans turning pets into oracles. Paul the Octopus correctly predicted the outcome of all eight of Germany’s 2010 World Cup matches, a chance of one in 256 says Der Spiegel.

Paul died of old age in 2010 but his fame has “spawned innumerable copycat attempts to find an animal with similar forecasting abilities.” Der Spiegel is tracking 10 animalsfour of whom are said to have perfect records: Nelly the elephant, Emma the pig, Ferret and Mörmel the otter duo and Xaver the bulldog. Other animals include the ferrets Speedy and Snow White, Funtik the pig (from the Ukraine), an octopus in Spain (name not given by Der Spiegel), Citta the elephant (from Poland).

Yvonne, the cow who ran away for 98 days to escape the slaughterhouse, has also been tested for her prophetic powers but has so far made incorrect guesses three times.

Even countries that are not competing in Euro 2012 have been turning animals into oracles: Singapore has a fish, Big Huat and Thailand a seal, Tik.

But as Marius Tünte, the spokesperson at Germany’s Tierschutzbund or Animal Protection Agency, observes, the animal oracle craze has gone a bit too far and is even “tasteless.” Forcing aimals into this role is equivalent to making elephants perform in the circus, Tünte says:

“We as a society should be careful not make entertainment at the cost of our animals.”

The newspaper Die Welt says that some dogs who had made incorrect predictions have been left at roadside rest stops and,gruesomely, a piglet named Richard ended up in “portions in a butcher shop” after offering a “false oracle.” A parrot whose predictions were correct was found offered for sale on Ebay and was no longer alive but, it seems, stuffed.

Despite these reports, many of the animals are in no way being harmed. But one animal oracle is simply repugnant, the German radio station bigFM’s python Ado, which is being given a choice of two rats. Tünte’s agency says on its Facebook page that this is a case of “unnecessary suffering is being inflicted purely for the sake of enjoyment.” As Tünte told the BBC, “These days, everybody who has an animal seems to put it in front of a camera.”

Now that Germany’s been boo

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54 comments

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3:01PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

I love animals and usually I am against almost anything that comes even remotely close to harming them, but I don't really see the issue with them being 'oracles'. The article even states that 'many of the animals are in no way being harmed'. I don't see why there is a problem if this is the case.

I know the Octopus that was used for the World Cup 'prophecies' would just choose a box that contained a mussel, and the team on the box he chose is the one that would win.
There is certainly no harm in giving an animal his food in that way.

7:31AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

"You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals." I repeat myself when I ask, "Who is the real animal in this world?" I do not see "animals" doing such cruel things to one another as man does to another man and the animals. Animals will kill another animal for food and for fear of safety, but to find out if he will win a game or because it steals his food, that is man's forte. Man kills for the "sport" of it, because he feels "it" (what ever that may be including another human being) or that it is a nuisance, cruelty and because he can. Man will not be happy until he kills off every living thing and then himself and somewhere along the line $$$ is involved.

1:01AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Why not just toss a coin for heads or tails?

10:38AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Are these the same morons who think that drinking an animal's blood or that a rhino's horn or elephant's tusk will make their tallywackers bigger or make them fertile????

Ridiculous..................

4:34AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

thanks for sharing

9:55AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

For me I don't have a problem with it as long as the animals are not being inflicted with any kind of cruelty but the stories of cruelty is digesting and reason enough to stop this behavior.

6:28PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Thanks

9:30AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

It's just dumb humans acting dumb once again!

6:41AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

This is all nonsense. Animals are not to be used by us.

1:56AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Killing them specifically because they do or do not get it right is clearly repugnant, but there is little here beyond a little harmless fun. The whole consultation of entrails thing went out with the Roman empire over 1500 years ago.

The psychic octopus and various other high profile predictors were just shown two options and picked one somehow. That's it. No harm, no stress, nothing untoward whatsoever. Just a bit of fun.

As for the python having to chose between two rats... What is the world coming to? Carnivorous snake eats small animal! Hold the front page!

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