Dear friends, family, clients and colleagues,
I was recently invited to the Ringling Bros. circus when it came to town, and had the opportunity to sit very close to the front row. My daughter couldn’t have been more excited, and she marveled at the trapeze acts, clowns, and most especially the animals. Because I was close to the trainers, I noticed the way they struck the animals with incredible force to motivate them to perform tricks. This upset me, and I recalled the picketing that PETA displayed at the gates of the circus.
Upon my return home, it took me a few clicks on my computer to discover innumerable instances of Ringling Bros. animal abuse videos, which led me to come across a slew of recent news stories related to animal abuse. These include the documentary Blackfish, which investigates several trainer deaths related to Sea World’s treatment of Orca wales, India’s recent recognition of dolphins as “non-human persons,” and California’s recent ban on Foie Gras.
At one time or another, I imagine most people hear stories of animal abuse and choose not to delve deeper. We all want to believe that animals consider showcasing their physical abilities for humans as a privilege, and ducks aren’t “human” enough to realize that being force fed food until their livers are engorged is painful and cruel. The sad reality however, is animals enjoy being forced to dance on a stool while beaten about as much as humans do, and although ducks aren’t human, it is unquestionably cruel to subject an animal to the methods we employ upon them.
Why do we choose to look away? Watching the news every day presents us with enough scary imagery to last us a lifetime, so why disturb ourselves even more? As they say, Denial isn’t a river in Egypt. We propagate injustice by sticking our heads in the sand, so choosing not to take some kind of action is to support the injustice by proxy. Too busy? Here are some incredibly easy ways to take a stand without buying a picket sign and standing on a street corner all day:
– The easiest way to take action is through inaction. Boycotting establishments that abuse animals is the best way to avoid participating.
– Mention abuses when these questionable establishments are brought up in conversation. A very small conversational seed can blossom into another person who chooses to find an alternative form of entertainment or restaurant.
– Donate to PETA. The organization has been incredibly successful in forcing policy changes in our government on state and federal levels. Your contribution is money well spent.
I highly encourage you to watch Blackfish and tell your friends about what you learn. Action is always incremental, and begins one person at a time.