“I am not at all interested in having my daughter who is three and a half grow up thinking that it’s okay to have these intelligent, highly evolved animals in concrete pools. I don’t want her to think that’s how we treat the kin that we find ourselves around on this planet.” Spoken by one of the former SeaWorld trainers when being interviewed to record a documentary called “Blackfish.”
“Blackfish,” told the tragedy of Tilikum, the most infamous whale in the world after killing three experienced trainers. Yearning to be free, Tilikum died at the age of 36, thirty-four years after he was captured by humans. He was never, ever able to embrace the boundless sea after being held captive in a small pool where his head and tail could even touch opposing walls at the same time. Just imagine if you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little irritated, aggravated, maybe even a little psychotic?
However, tragedies similar to Tilikum’s never seem to stop people’s enthusiasm going to zoos or circuses and paying money to watch animals shows. What is more heartbreaking is that the trainers adopt punishments to train and force animals to perform. For example, rationing food when animals fail to accomplish tasks or using electric shock to control their movements.
According to incomplete statistics, there are over 36 countries, including 389 cities that prohibit or restrict animals shows, but responses to date are far from enough. I do believe that parents who take their children to zoos or circuses want to teach their kids to cherish animals, not to show kids how humans abuse them.
Albert Schweitzer, a German philosopher, once said: “Ethics not only relates to people but animals.” Animals feel pain and dread death just like we do. Their existence should never be just to entertain humans; they are not just objects of entertainment for people.
It is time for all animal shows to be condemned, and for us to reflect on our connections with other beings and nature.
Written by Valentina Tu