I have enjoyed my share of visiting the zoo, the circus, the local pet shops, the large aquariums, and any other place that I could view real, live animals in their simulated homes. As an animal lover, I also enjoyed watching the commercials for Sea World, and even wished that someday I could go to Sea World and see the sea animals do spectacular tricks. I bet there's a ton of "oooohs," and "aaahhhhs" throughout the show, and much excitement and clapping to see the sea creatures perform amazing feats for the audience. However, a few years ago I was enlightened and today I will never, ever again visit a zoo, a circus, and definitely not Sea World or the like, no matter how entertaining it might be for me, an animal should not have to suffer for my enjoyment.
Recently there have been a couple orca (killer whale) deaths at Sea World, deaths for unknown reasons. Actually, there is much data collected to show that these large, long-lived animals do not belong in captivity. The United States Humane Society released a press release today that shows a collection of data taken from the past 45 years showing that these large family-oriented mammals do not survive or thrive in captivity. Not only are the Orcas dying in captivity, but there have been quite a few human deaths related to these animals, yet in the wild these animals have been known to live 90 years and there are no reports of human deaths related to these animals despite the many contacts humans have made. The question being begged to ask is why?
First, they are captured and taken from their homes, their families, their extended families or herds, then they are doomed to spend the rest of their lives behind bars in a simulated environment much smaller than the home they came from. They will no longer spend their entire lives with their family members as they would in the wild, and no longer will they be able to swim through the ocean for 100 miles a day or pick their own mate. They will now be fed simulated meals and no longer have to hunt for their food, and while this may seem like an easy life, to them it is taking away a part of who they are and what they instinctively know to do. They are then trained to do tricks and "act" for us humans, so that we can be entertained by them, but have you ever wondered how these animals are trained? The ways they are disciplined for unruly behavior? Yet when the animals acts out and hurts or kills their trainer or another human being we blame the animal.
I always just accepted that these animals were meant to amuse me, as a human being. I never thought about what they must endure. I never thought of what is going on behind the scenes, and I never thought about how difficult it must be for them to live under these circumstances in their simulated environments, to be taken from their homes, separated from their families, and forced to put on a show for human amusement. Yes, this is exactly what it comes down to: animals being abused so that we humans can be amused and a few can gain economically, and this problem persists because those of us who want to be entertained pay to view these captive animals. Many people still see nothing wrong with this! If we turn the tables and put ourselves in their paws, wings, or fins for just a moment, I think we would all agree that this is wrong and unethical, and a serious invasion of the rights of God's creatures.
Think about this scenerio for a few moments: What would happen if Orcas took over the world and starting collecting select humans and keeping them in simulated, escape-proof environments in the middle of the ocean, far away from our family, friends, and homelands; kept us in tiny cages where we could never stretch or exercise how we were intended to do, and then began training us with whips and zappers for their entertainment and to make money off of us. Would this be exploitation? How about an abuse of our rights? Would that be unethical? Would we be a bit resentful? Angry? Frustrated? Depressed? Lonely? Would we and our young ones survive to a ripe, old age? And do you suppose that we would sometimes lash out when we've had enough emotionally, physically, and psychologically? And if so, who's fault would that be, and how should we be disciplined for acting out? Should our penalty be to be put down?