Bullying does not exist in fishtanks

Yeah, I tried to explain that to a guy in a northern Scottish pub about 25 years ago when they were first thinking about reintroducing wolves. They are beautiful, majestic, magnificent...and they eat sheep and calves like jellybeans!
But even with that, it's a mistake to take it personally or consider the wolves to be villains. They're just doing what wolves do: Killing furry critters and eating them. Even their tendency to kill far more than they need is probably an outgrowth of their natural desire to share something with the pack, combined with unnaturally slow, vulnerable prey.

This might be somewhat controversial, but here's what I think: One thing that makes humans different from animals is that we have the capacity to go against our natural instincts and inclinations, to make decisions about right and wrong. That is what most people call morals, ethics, sacrifice, or even love. I'm no animal behavior expert, but based on my experiences and reading, I don't tend to think animals have that capacity. They act on instinct, and that's all they have to go on. A fish that's acting aggressively isn't making a moral decision; it's just reacting to its environment. Thus using morally-loaded terms like "bullying," while it might describe the behavior, probably gives the wrong idea.

Still, as long as we understand that basic idea, it doesn't do to get too hung up on semantics.

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