Adam Ruins Animals

Sep 18 2016

In this episode, Adam reveals how purebred dogs are genetic monsters, domesticated cats are overpopulated killing machines and wild animal trophy hunting can actually help endangered species. Here are his sources.


“But that’s backwards. Mutts are dogs in their natural state! Even though humans have lived with domesticated dogs for over ten thousand years, purebred dogs didn’t even exist until about a hundred and fifty years ago.”

“Evolution of the Dog.” Public Broadcasting Station, 2001. Web.

“In 19th-century Victorian England, eugenics were all the rage, and competitive dog breeding became a fad among the wealthy.”

Pemberton, Neil and Michael Worboys. “The surprising history of Victorian dog shows.” BBC History Magazine. The British Broadcasting Corporation, Jun. 2009. Web.

“Behold, my newest creation: the Corgi! A corgi is ten to 12 inches tall, with a foxy head, a wide flat skull and a non-sly expression.”

“Official Standard of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.” American Kennel Club, 13 Jun. 1972. Web.

“Kennell clubs prohibit purebred dogs from mating outside their breed, and breeders often mate them with members of their own family! Meaning this cute this little is more inbred than an Austrian duke.”

Maldarelli, Claire. “Although Purebred Dogs Can Be Best in Show, Are They Worst in Health?” Scientific American. Nature Publishing Group, 21 Feb. 2014. Web.

“And those diseases are REALLY serious. Sixty percent of Golden Retrievers die of cancer.”

Beck, Melinda. “When Cancer Comes With a Pedigree.” Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 4 May 2010. Web.

“An estimated 95 percent of King Charles Spaniels have skulls that are too small for their brains.”

“Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM).” Canine Inherited Disorders Database. Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 2011. Web.

“Pugs’ faces are so flat they ‘reverse sneeze.’”

Roedler, Frauke S., Sabine Pohl, and Gerhard U. Oechtering. “How does severe brachycephaly affect dog’s lives? Results of a structured preoperative owner questionnaire.” The Veterinary Journal 198.3 (2013): 606-610.

“Great Danes are so huge they get bone tumors from supporting their own weight.”

“Dogs That Changed the World: Selective Breeding Problems.” Public Broadcasting Station, 16 Sep. 2010. Web.

“Their noses are so squashed that they can barely breathe. Their heads are so big that they almost always have to be born via C-section. Their tails can become ingrown, they basically all have hip dysplasia, and their average life expectancy is SIX YEARS. These dogs shouldn’t even be alive.”

Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. “Can the Bulldog Be Saved?” New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company, 22 Nov. 2011. Web.

“There are over 70 million pet cats in the US! We love them, we cuddle them, and we Snapchat the hell out of them. But unfortunately, some of us also let those cats go outside.”

“U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics.” American Veterinary Medical Association, 2012. Web.

“The average cat can give birth to as many as 12 kittens a year.”

“Shelter Intake and Surrender: Pet Statistics.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2016. Web.

“These cats live tragically short lives. They suffer from disease, are hit by cars, and attacked by animals.”

Nutter, Felicia B., Jay F. Levine, and Michael K. Stoskopf. “Reproductive capacity of free-roaming domestic cats and kitten survival rate.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 225.9 (2004): 1399-1402.

“It’s okay when they say it. What’s not okay, is that while indoor cats live till about 15, the average outdoor cat dies after 5.”

“Your Cat - Indoors or Out.” Mobile Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2003. Web.

“Cats kill birds whether or not they’re hungry, even if they’ve just been fed.”

Robertson, I. D. “Survey of predation by domestic cats.” Australian Veterinary Journal 76.8 (1998): 551-554.

“A conservative estimate is that feral cats kill 1.3 billion birds per year.”

Loss, Scott R., Tom Will, and Peter P. Marra. “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States.” Nature Communications 4 (2013): 1396.

“We’ve actually caused more than 20 species of birds to go extinct. Forever.”

Medina, Félix M., et al. “A global review of the impacts of invasive cats on island endangered vertebrates.” Global Change Biology 17.11 (2011): 3503-3510.

“Nearby is an elephant, a black rhino, and a lion. The numbers still alive are below them: Elephant, 470,000. African Lion: 20,000. Black rhino: 5,000.”

“African Elephant.” World Wildlife Fund, 2016. Web.

“Black Rhino.” World Wildlife Fund, 2016. Web.

“Declining Lion.” National Geographic Society, 2016. Web.

“Geez, I drink like 50 gallons of water a day and I’m not as thirsty as this girl.”

“Mammals: Elephant.” San Diego Zoo, 2016. Web.

“Judge this dweeb all you want, but he’s not why these animals are dying out. The REAL threats are loss of habitat and poaching.”

Platt, John R. “African Lion Populations Drop 42 Percent in Past 21 Years.” Scientific American. Nature Publishing Group, 24 Jun. 2015. Web.

“Poachers are organized, they’re ruthless, and they are decimating animal populations. In some countries, rhino horn is believed to cure cancer and even hangovers, and sells for up to $45,000 a pound. That’s more than gold or cocaine.”

Guilford, Gwynn. “Why Does a Rhino Horn Cost $300,000? Because Vietnam Thinks It Cures Cancer and Hangovers.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Group, 15 May 2013. Web.

“In Namibia, revenue from trophy hunting is the main source of funding for new wildlife conservancies.”

Lindsey, P. A., P. A. Roulet, and S. S. Romanach. “Economic and conservation significance of the trophy hunting industry in sub-Saharan Africa.” Biological Conservation 134.4 (2007): 455-469.

“And in South Africa, legalized trophy hunting gives locals an economic reason to protect the rhinos. It incentivises them to give the rhinos land to live on and to protect them from poachers!”

Goldman, Jason G. “Can Trophy Hunting Actually Help Conservation?” Conservation Magazine. University of Washington, 15 Jan. 2014. Web.

“True! But still, this system works! In addition to the public land already set aside for them, 25 percent of all white rhinos in South Africa now roam free on private land, and their population has gone from one hundred a century ago to over twenty thousand alive today.”

“White Rhino.” World Wildlife Fund, 2016. Web.

“And you know what - endangered animals in Africa need a lot of help. But so do a lot of other, less traditionally cute animals! For instance, the critically endangered American Burying Beetle. They bury decaying rodent carcasses and lay their eggs in them! That helps plants grow!”

Ratcliffe, B.C. “Endangered American Burying Beetle Update.” University of Nebraska State Museum, 1997. Web.

For More on This Topic

This New York Times “Room for Debate” series offers several viewpoints on the ethics of purebred dogs.

This delightful New York Magazine feature delves into the long-simmering beef between Team Cat and Team Bird.

“The Rhino Hunter” - this episode of the Radiolab podcasts follows a trophy hunter on his $350,000 hunting trip to Namibia.