This is a great article from Australian Lecturer in Philosophy Patrick Stokes in which he lectures his philosophy students that they are not entitled to their opinion -- but only the opinions they can successfully argue for.
"The problem with 'I'm entitled to my opinion' is that all too often it's used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for "I can say or think whatever I like" -- and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And that attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature in our public discourse."
I've talked about this subject before -- and that somehow in the debate about laws targeting breeds, expert opinion -- which is overwhelmingly opposed to laws targeting breeds -- is somehow given the same credibility as the discourse led by a handful of individuals with no expertise in canine behavior. Pit Bulletin Legal News has a great article on "False Equivalency" as well.
Back to the Stokes article:
"If 'entitled to their opinion' just means no one has the right to stop people from thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you from saying that vaccines cause autism no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.
"But if 'entitled to an opinion' means 'entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth', then it's pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred."
I do hope that the people without experience or expertise will quit getting equal time with those that have real expertise and experience on the subject of animal behavior. This isn't an equal debate, and needs to quit being treated as such.