The campaign Tickling is Torture by international animal rescue campaigns against people keeping slow lorises as pets (for very good reasons). One claim they make however is that tickling is torture for slow lorises, something that they do not seem to explain or back up anywhere as far as I was able to find, yet it is even the name of the campaign. The best I was able to find is that them raising their arms like in those tickling youtube videos is a sign that they are preparing to bite, however in that case I would at least expect them to bite/try to attack at some point, which in turn would teach any naive pet owner that they probably shouldn't do it again, instead of doing it again and even filming it.

Just to be very clear here: I am not skeptical of the claim that they make for bad pets, nor of the claim that they probably do not enjoy the tickling (and definitely won't enjoy it in a bright lit room), but the difference between 'not enjoying' and 'torture' is huge.

  • As much as I agree that a slow loris should not in any case be kept as a pet, I think the term "torture" is used here mostly to add shock value... I seriously doubt they have any scientific evidence in favour of that. What type of evidence would you like to see to confirm (or not) this claim? In any case, here's an interesting article on the topic which, however, does not answer your question: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3722300
    – nico
    Jun 14, 2015 at 13:14
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    @nico Well, within the line of my post if for example they do actually attack when treated like that, then I think 'torture' is an exaggeration, but 'within reason'. Practically I think if 'torture' has any meaning within this context I would expect there to be some reason for it, some kind of reaction from the animals that has caused this labeling. If however it is only a statement created by a marketing firm, then I sincerely do not know what the best way to disprove it would be, except themselves acknowledging it... Jun 14, 2015 at 17:10
  • The video said their teeth are removed (and showed that being done): so they can't bite. I guess the logic is, "You buy them because you think it's cute to see a video of them being tickled, however that (i.e. buying them, not tickling them) is torture. It's also alliterative.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:31
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    @ChrisW They can bite, it just won't be dangerous~ I can still bite even without a single teeth left. And if it would have been purely the name of the campaign then that construction would have worked, but in the text on the site itself they explicitly state it as a self contained fact. Jun 15, 2015 at 20:12
  • It was my understanding that tickling, in general, is a form of panic attack and in fact involves pain nerves. So, by definition, it could pretty easily fit into many definitions of torture.
    – Jonathon
    Oct 30, 2015 at 18:12


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