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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Taking a beating

I've received some criticism lately and it really has me in the land of self doubt. The criticism came from fellow rat afficianados whose opinnion I do trust, so it truly does bother me.

Anyway, one thing they critisized is that I have a couple of breeders who don't actually have pedigrees. They came from local breeders that I know and trust but who breed pets not show animals so they don't keep great records. I don't think it's wonderful that they don't keep great records, but at the same time if I see an animal that is clearly healthy and this person can show me how they're cared for and tell me what lines they came from and show me their still healthy parents, grandparents etc., I'm not really concerned about the actual pedigree. I mean I will keep excellent records on mine so I'll have peds on everyone in 3 generations anyway. But the point of the ped as far as I'm concerned is to know what genetics are carried in the line and to ensure that they are healthy with good temparament. Is it so wrong to breed an animal that you have all that info on if you don't have the ped?

The other thing they critisized is my handling of my current litter. And that really got to me. I mean they flew all over me for putting the females in a situation where they could combine their litters. I agree it was a bad decision. In all fairness I did put up what I felt was a strong partition and the whole thing was done to give the mommies more room. They ended up breaking through the partition and combining the litters. Now I know that they have to be very very separated. I made a mistake. But no animal suffered for my mistake. I worked double time hand feeding to make sure of that. It's not like I'm going to lie to people and say I can guarantee all their peds when I can't. I'll tell people honestly that they come from 1 of 2 lines (except for the ones that look just like their daddy's and have no doubt.)

I was pretty proud of this litter. I'm pretty proud of my breeders. I passed up animals that had peds but didn't look as healthy and interesting to me for some of these animals because my goal is to make wonderful companion animals for people who seek an alternative to unhealthy chain store rats.

I'm proud of how I handled a bad situation and kept 20 out of 20 dumbo eared babies alive. I feel like other people are expecting me to be this automatic expert and never make a mistake in any of this. I do my best. I do a lot of research. I make decisions based on health, temperament, and happiness of animals. And if I make a mistake I make darn sure that it affects my time, sleep, and resources before it affects a potential customer, or God forbid, an innocent animal. What more can you really do when you're new at something?
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 01:20 PM
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You've already defended yourself in all the ways I would have defended you. You know that you're breeding good companion rats for the right reasons. So it doesn't really matter if your litters combined. You've learned a lesson and now you know more for next time. The people who get rats from you will do just what you did and be satisfied that the rats are healthy and socialized.

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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 01:42 PM
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As far as i can tell hun from your post you have nothing to worry about and besides why do you care what other people think? If you know true in your heart that everything you do is for the good of your rats and you raise them and care for them in the way they should be then you are doing a brilliant job! As for the accident well everybody makes and learns from their mistakes,you tried something and it failed but you paid the price and dealt with the backlash so dont worry yourself hunny xxxxxx

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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks I really appreciate the support. I think I just needed some positive paw-talk affirmation
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I have to say that you didn't do anything wrong, if I was buying rats for pets from a breeder I wouldn't care about pedigree, I would care that the rat was friendly and healthy. As you say you worked really hard to keep those babies fed and it has paid off with 20 healthy little ones. As for the Mummy rats combining their litters, no real harm was done, just a little confusion for you. I think your attitude towards your animals is also very positive and far preferable to people who breed substandard animals that look good but are a mess in terms of their health and wellbeing.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Aww baby she really got to you huh? Next time we know to keep them separated at least till they are old enough to tell apart. Two different tanks I mean. You didn't lose a single baby. How many breeders can say that of their first liter especially from first time mommy rats. Oh sure there are a few that well we just don't know which incredible dad they came from. No worries the ones we keep for breeding will not go back to either line even though we can be 99% sure that Figgy Junior as I call him is Figgy's baby and my favorite is 99% Lecter's. The girl may be a little tougher but so we will just start our records with them. No problem. It's not like we don't have plenty of other males to cross them out with. Lord knows Quinton's babies will mix very well with these in what 5 or 6 months or something. Merlin is the only one we definitely can not breed under any circumstances for two reasons. Not the least of which being his babies will probably be larger than our dogs. Or at least the guinea pigs.

Love you baby don't worry about it. We know that they all came from good lines. I was a little worried about the lack of official papers on the others but we have know where they came from and we saw two generations back on all of them. They came from good healthy obviously disease resistant lines. Also good genes. The grand parents of at least Gretel were incredible.

That is all.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 04:11 PM
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I agree with what the others have said.
As long as you know your rats are healthy and your not breeding sick rats,then good for you! Who cares what OTHER people say? You made a mistake,but you are aware of it and people learn from their mistakes.

I know from experiance,when you breed ANY animal,even when you know what your doing - you will have people against what you do.I have bred rats and mice before for a few yrs.




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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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You have done great! It sounds like you did nothing wrong just made a simple mistake (After all we are human right?) and nothing was lost. Besides, who cares what those people think? You can know yourself that you did a good job raising those babies.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 05:06 AM
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luvboyrats, im on your side all the way

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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 05:42 AM
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Well, I'm going to be completely honest because I prefer it when people are honest with me. I don't hold this as a personal grudge against you, or anything, this is just how I feel.

I don't really agree with breeding animals in general, especially overpopulated animals like rats. But because they are overpopulated, if you are going to breed them, I think it's owed to them to do every single thing right to give them as much chance as possible at a forever home, so you can be as picky as you want with owners. People are upset about the pedigrees because you're essentially asking everyone to trust this person you know on your word, AND you don't have an established reputation as a rattery. S/he may be a very nice person, but I see enough stupid with pets in general to not really trust people I don't know (and often don't trust people I DO know, tbh).

I can also see how the combining of the litters could be a problem. How are you going to tell the heritage of everybody? If someone steals babies from someone else, how can you know who the parents were? You won't have reliable pedigrees. It becomes impossible to track genetics. What if the children of one of these rats develops cancer when they're a year old? How do you halt the line when you don't know for sure where the line is from?

And again, another "honest" truth that is probably going to stir a pot, but it's just how I feel -- the reassurance of Paw-Talk that you aren't a bad breeder is pretty worthless, in my opinion. I have not yet ever seen a thread on breeding where people suggested for one minute that someone shouldn't breed their animals, regardless of age, reason, species, or knowledge. It's all a lot of backpatting and asking for cyoote baby pictures. And if that's the tone of the board, that's fine, and that's how it is. But I don't think you're going to get a honest opinion here, you're going to get the comfort of your friends. I think the opinion of the other rat aficionados who have more experience with reputable breeders and who aren't just interested in making you feel good should probably hold more sway.

Again, I'm not mad at you, what's done is done, and you seem like a very nice person, I'm just giving you my honest opinion.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 07:16 AM
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Well i think you have managed a tough situation perfectly. So what if you made a few mistakes?? they happen so you can learn. WELL DONE!

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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Jennicat, no offense taken, honesty always appreciated. I do think you're wrong in that I believe there are many folks here, including myself that would say and have said to many that 95% of folks who want to breed any animal probably shouldn't.

In response to the rest of your post, I don't so much ask strangers to trust me. I expect people from my community who are welcome to ask me any questions they want to trust me more than they would a chain store. One thing that separates me from other breeders, is that high end show animals were never my goal. I started out as a pet owner with two male rats I dearly loved that died far too young. One reason was that they were obtained from a chain store that I'm sure bought from irresponsible breeders. I got more rats from a more reputable place (had to travel far and wide to do it). I did a lot of work and research and what I discovered was there isn't anywhere in Middle Tennessee for a well researched responsible person to buy a rat that won't die in six months. At this point I knew many rat people in Tennessee who were angry about the same thing, loved rats, but had given up because it was too hard to lose them all the time. So over a course of months I made the difficult decision to begin breeding a very small group of breeders, some of which have documented pedigrees, some of which do not. They are all healthy from healthy stock I myself have seen. I don't charge anymore than the petstores that I offer an alternative too. And I believe that anyone who knows me, questions me, sees me, sees my animals and how they're cared for (sees my frickin' rat budget each month) would know that if what they are looking for is healthy happy friendly rats, I got them. If people choose not to trust me more than petsmart, that is certainly their perogative. I haven't had any trouble with placing animals, even after putting folks through a rather vigorous screening.

As far as this litter is concerned you're right, most of them I can't breed because I can't track them. There is one that has a very rare marking exactly like one of the daddies. I am confident of who he belongs to. Most of the rest I could guess on but would never be certain, they simply won't be bred. Pets only.

And as far as whose opinion to value, I value both. Obviously I would never have posted this if the other person's opinion hadn't bothered me. But I do not accept that the people on this forum are back patters. Clearly you have missed the heated posts to people who didn't get animals to the vet fast enough, the posts to people who breed partially to feed snakes, the posts to people who breed large groups of animals with no idea of their background. You've also possibly missed that these animals are more important to people on this forum than just about anything except their own children. They spend all their money on them, they research them, they discuss them, they fight for them and about them, they panic when they are sick, and they weep when they die. I do not believe that anyone on here would tell me that what I was doing was okay if they felt it was detrimental to rats just because they like me. We do stick together as a rodent community offering support, but there is far more loyalty and concern for the animals than for eachother. Some of these people have given me life saving advice. Some of them were the first people I talked to when my first two boys were in danger. I trust in their knowledge and concern for animals. And if one of them says, you may not be perfect but I'd feel comfortable having one of your animals, then that does mean something.

And I never understood that theory of breeding. There are too many of this animal that aren't of good bloodlines so no one should breed. If we do that then the only rats left in the pet trade would be the ones coming from the mass breeders and the chain stores. You certainly shouldn't breed if you're creating more feeder quality rats that are going to have health and temparement problems and end up in shelters, but if people with healthy lines completely stop breeding, then all the good things that rats can be will die out.
On the other hand animal lovers have a responsibility to ease the stress on shelters and that's why I also have several nursed back to health rescue rats.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
Well, I'm going to be completely honest because I prefer it when people are honest with me. I don't hold this as a personal grudge against you, or anything, this is just how I feel.

I don't really agree with breeding animals in general, especially overpopulated animals like rats. But because they are overpopulated, if you are going to breed them, I think it's owed to them to do every single thing right to give them as much chance as possible at a forever home, so you can be as picky as you want with owners. People are upset about the pedigrees because you're essentially asking everyone to trust this person you know on your word, AND you don't have an established reputation as a rattery. S/he may be a very nice person, but I see enough stupid with pets in general to not really trust people I don't know (and often don't trust people I DO know, tbh).

I can also see how the combining of the litters could be a problem. How are you going to tell the heritage of everybody? If someone steals babies from someone else, how can you know who the parents were? You won't have reliable pedigrees. It becomes impossible to track genetics. What if the children of one of these rats develops cancer when they're a year old? How do you halt the line when you don't know for sure where the line is from?

And again, another "honest" truth that is probably going to stir a pot, but it's just how I feel -- the reassurance of Paw-Talk that you aren't a bad breeder is pretty worthless, in my opinion. I have not yet ever seen a thread on breeding where people suggested for one minute that someone shouldn't breed their animals, regardless of age, reason, species, or knowledge. It's all a lot of backpatting and asking for cyoote baby pictures. And if that's the tone of the board, that's fine, and that's how it is. But I don't think you're going to get a honest opinion here, you're going to get the comfort of your friends. I think the opinion of the other rat aficionados who have more experience with reputable breeders and who aren't just interested in making you feel good should probably hold more sway.

Again, I'm not mad at you, what's done is done, and you seem like a very nice person, I'm just giving you my honest opinion.
I have to be honest here too. At first I was a bit too defensive when I read this and a little aggravated. But I do appreciate your position here. I think this is the kind of thing we are having trouble with.

Now we took measures to make sure the animals stayed separated. We made a mistake in the way that was done. Everyone makes mistakes. No one does it right every time.

As for it being overpopulated. That may be but Nashville has a fairly active rat market and anyone who has ever bought a rat from one of the chain stores knows how responsibly and every thing done rightly Sun pets does things. There is no way I would recommend anyone buy a pet rat from one of the major chains, we have bought 4 and only one made it past the first month without severe health problems. That being said in order to get dumbos around here we had to drive to Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. If you have priced gas recently then you know that it is ridiculous to drive a state over to buy a pet. Interestingly enough people here seem pretty dead set on buying from breeders.

Yes everyone that gets rats from these liters will know that there was a mixup. They will know both lines. Most of them are already placed and Pedigree isn't an issue so much as knowing where they came from. When she says we don't have a Pedigree she means we don't have official documents registered with any of the Rat associations. We got a visual pedigree by seeing the actual parents and grand parents of the ones without actual pedigree.

Now that the colors are starting to settle in and the ears are starting to pop out and the eyes are opening it is becoming more and more obvious which ones are which. There were only about 6 or so in question and those are starting to show clear signs of parentage. Of course we can't say with certainty that is the case so they will get the whole story but we can say with significant certainty for our records which is which. So if a problem arises which considering the lines these all 4 came from I would be seriously surprised we will have a pretty good idea which line had the problem.

The only thing this really effects is our ability to tell the people we are selling these to which lineage the babies come from, and that from an ethical standpoint not from a lack of an idea. From now on each mother gets separate birthing cages. Lesson learned.

The homes they go to are screened. We have actually turned people down. If there is any question as to what people plan to do with them or where they are going then we don't allow them to take them. We are pretty picky about it. I believe only 3 of our last liter went to first time rat owners. And we have stayed in contact with some of the new owners. Which has been great and an excellent way to keep track of those babies and that line which was from a rat we actually bought not knowing she was already pregnant.

You don't believe in breeding animals in general? Do you realize that in order for an animal to be domesticated and especially to be recognized as domesticated there has to be literally centuries of selective private breeding. The only way you can have pet rats at all is because there have been hundreds of years of breeders, for dogs it is thousands of years, and for cats thousands of years, then there are horses, cattle, fish, birds, and so forth. Does that mean we should breed? No. You are correct not everyone should breed because it is needed to carry on the pet trade. However, we decided to breed mainly because there are no responsible breeders within 100 miles of us. The closest is actually just right at 100 miles possibly a little over. None of the pet stores carry rats from responsible breeders and some use pets, and feeders as interchangeable depending on their business needs. We didn't go into this decision lightly. We knew that breeding for the sake of breeding is a bad idea. If we had been able to find a reliable source close to us we might have been more like regular customers instead of breeders but as we found when we were giving away the babies from the pregnant when we bought her rat this area is full of people tired of exchanging dead rats for live ones like they were cell phones or something.

You may argue that she can't call herself a responsible breeder because the two liters combined. Fine you can argue that but that wasn't from negligence that was from a design flaw that will be avoided in the future. Measures were taken to keep the liters and mothers separate but those measures were overcome. We both agreed that our solution was sufficient we were wrong. Now we have to let people know that. However, I would argue that from the stand point of acquiring rats from us they both still come from solid lines. We managed to procure excellent breeding stock some with officially recognized paper pedigrees others with unofficial records, but records none the less. We were able to see the condition, care and to some degree the longevity of the lines. We went to great lengths to get outstanding dumbo and dumbo rex breeder quality rats. If we have to start our pedigrees with these then it will take us a while to build some pedigrees if that is important to people. Until then we will, as record shows, have no problem placing our rats because around here pedigree isn't as important as healthy rats with care and precaution in breeding.

And you are right. I have often thought that the reassurance of just the paw-talk crowd isn't definitive. It isn't this is actually a small representation of the pet market as a whole. I also don't think the critiques on here to be definitive either. I will say though and I do find that the encouragement on friends when things aren't going the way you wanted is quite effective. Kara has researched, searched, and explored the world of rats for a long time now. She has a good bit of experience in keeping them. This geographic region is lacking in breeders and we don't want the pet rat trade to be thought of in terms of Petsmart rats. If we can educate a few people and put a few really good, sweet, smart, healthy rats into the hands of good people in this area we feel that we are working for the betterment of pet rats.

It sickens me what happens to rats in petsmarts and places like that. Also what goes into getting them there. We wanted the good people of Nashville to have source for pet rats the way pet rats should be. Not the kind that you find after two weeks seizing in the bottom of her cage from who knows what neurological deficiency caused by the girl + boy = babies that the big pet suppliers operate on.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 09:59 AM
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You don't believe in breeding animals in general? Do you realize that in order for an animal to be domesticated and especially to be recognized as domesticated there has to be literally centuries of selective private breeding. The only way you can have pet rats at all is because there have been hundreds of years of breeders, for dogs it is thousands of years, and for cats thousands of years, then there are horses, cattle, fish, birds, and so forth. Does that mean we should breed? No. You are correct not everyone should breed because it is needed to carry on the pet trade. However, we decided to breed mainly because there are no responsible breeders within 100 miles of us. The closest is actually just right at 100 miles possibly a little over. None of the pet stores carry rats from responsible breeders and some use pets, and feeders as interchangeable depending on their business needs. We didn't go into this decision lightly.

Please reread my comment. I specifically said that I thought that breeding of OVERPOPULATED animals was a poor idea. I don't understand why rats in a shelter have to die, just because they're "not good quality". They deserve those homes as much as any other animal. They don't deserve to die because someone else wants a precious baby rat.

I know how many rabbits have been euthanized in a 1 hour radius of me in the past 6 months. I also know how many breeder litters are on Craigslist right now. Each year it gets worse and worse. Petsmart/Petco/chain stores are a huge contributor to this, but hobby breeders are also contributors.

I am against making more animals when we can't care for the ones that we've already got.

I am quite aware of how animals were domesticated (I did an animal science minor). However, more and more I am unsure whether we are justified in keeping domesticated animals, especially given the particularly nasty abuses I've seen recently. Does the enjoyment of good pet owners trump the right of one animal not to have to be abused? It's a tough philosophical question, and not one that I'm entirely sure there's a "right" answer to.

I never said that I thought the OP was a bad person, or deliberately did bad things. She asked for opinions, and I gave mine. I'm not really looking to debate it, tbh. It will only cause a long, drawn out fight, and in reality it's not really going to change how I feel (just as me presenting my POV didn't change how you guys felt. You obviously feel you're justified in breeding, and that you do a good job. You're not bad or abusive people, I just happen to disagree with some of the methods you use. Live and learn.

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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 10:34 AM
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I just wanted to say,I am not sugar coating anything.The OP is new to this,but not new to rats.She made a mistake,people do that and people learn.

If you look around the forum more,you will see...I don't always say "Oh yay! Babies".I ask or even criticize people for breeding animals that they got from a pet store or whatever.The OP I have talked to here and at other places and I KNOW how passionate she is for rats.If I thought she was doing something wrong or I didn't agree with what she was doing,I would tell her.

I also know your against breeding,from reading your posts.And it is good to give your opinion as well.

What got me tho,you grouped ALL of the PT people into one group.That offended me,because I am not sugar coating my words and WOW! I asked if I could see baby pics,so what? I love looking at baby rat pictures.I love seeing ANY rat pictures.In other forums,you will see other people asking for baby pics.Even well known breeders will show pictures of their babies.I don't see why you had to mention that.I don't see how asking for baby pictures is bad or sugar coating words! Once again,when I feel someone here or in any other forum is not doing something right,I will say so.Maybe if you read some of the other posts,you would see that.

I am all for RESPONSABLE breeding and I am all for RESCUE.What I am not for is breeding poorly bred pet store rats.I cringe when people come on here,they are new rat owners and they start asking about breeding.They had rats for a short time and obviously don't know anything about breeding/rescue/overpopulation...etc!

If there was a breeder here,I would buy from them...if they had healthy animals.There used to be a couple breeders here before,but they had to leave province.I also bred a little bit,but these other breeders were mentors for me.Now there are no breeders in NL now and I no longer breed,so I rescue rats or take in unwanted rats or rats that just need new homes.Even when I had wonderfully bred rats,I still took in rescues.I am for both well bred rats and rescue.




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