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Tolerance among members of herp communities


[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ DFW Herp Society Forum ]

Posted by Michael Smith on June 08, 2002 at 14:02:57:

The DFW Herp Society forum on Kingsnake.com has a message from someone connected to the Texas Reptile Expo asking why his message regarding the “hot” show was removed. A message on the Texas Reptile Expo’s forum from an anonymous poster says,
“My opinion is if this club [DFWHS] can't tolerate a simple post, what else can't they tolerate? I considered joining this group, but after watching their actions I have decided that I will never associate myself with such persons.”
The question of what we tolerate could be a legitimate one even though the poster’s intentions are not to have a discussion but to malign the DFW Herp Society.

Growing up, I learned that the best response to schoolyard bullies and worse is simply no response. And so, there is no point in addressing comments to him/her. The question about tolerance is worth answering, however.

The elected officers of the DFW Herp Society are responsive to members, and to date no complaints have been received from members regarding stances we have taken. Any member would be welcome to discuss any issue about which they believe we have been wrong. They could contact us individually or bring an issue to a board meeting. And, we have purposefully tried to cultivate a friendly atmosphere and have tried to avoid the hierarchy of “in” groups and “out” groups that are occasionally seen in herp clubs. Speakers have commented on our sense of “family” or cohesion, and anyone visiting our meetings would see a group of people who genuinely enjoy getting together.

That said, I’m sure there is some diversity of beliefs within the DFW Herp Society, and that’s OK. Grownups realize that people can disagree about some things and still respect or even like each other. Nobody has been told what they can or cannot say, or can or cannot keep in their collection. With regard to venomous reptiles, we do have a position statement that says, “The keeping of venomous and other potentially dangerous reptiles requires considerable experience and safeguards. Members who do so are expected to follow appropriate procedures to protect themselves, the public, and the animal. DFW Herpetological Society advises members to comply with their local & state regulations pertaining to reptiles and amphibians.” No statement that our members should not keep them, just a statement advocating responsibility.

Practicing tolerance includes not trying to bully other groups of people into thinking your way or changing their practices to suit you. Accordingly, it would be nice if everyone, including those outside the society, would practice tolerance. Meanwhile, the leadership of this group continues to have an “open door” for any member to be heard.

(representing my own individual views)
Michael Smith
Editor & Secretary
Co-founder, DFW Herp Society



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