Ugh. I’ve been dreading this one since the Blog Challenge 2011! began. I mean, who wants to post a photo that depresses you and everyone who visits your blog? Not me.
I’m not perfect. I have little aggressive tendencies; part of me likes to push buttons and get people upset. Not just for the sake of getting someone upset– I’m not exactly a sadist. No, instead I’m just a little teeny weeny bit of a jerk. I like to rub ugliness in people’s faces when it’s something I am passionate about. I can’t help it. I have rage inside me about certain things. Like cruelty to animals. People who use Christ as an excuse to be hate mongers. Women who leave their children with men who end up beating and/or killing the kids, and then wonder why it happened. Pro-life crazies who somehow think it’s acceptable to kill physicians who perform abortions. Holocaust deniers. Michael Vick. Snooki. The list goes on and on.
So… there are a lot of photos that go with all of those things I just listed. I’ve had to think about a photo that doesn’t make me super angry, but instead just saddens me on a very deep level. I also couldn’t put anything with blood up here, because that red color just spurs a visceral reaction that’s a little more intense than what I’d want to put up here. (I was tempted to share a photo of the dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan, since that’s the first animal-cruelty thing I ever saw images of, when I was very young, and it made an indelible impression. But it’s too disgusting to bear to look at.)
So I chose this photo:
It barely needs explanation. It says so much. The body of the trainer killed at Sea World lying under a blanket, only feet away from the whale who took her life. And Tillikum, the whale, in that tiny little enclosure, looking right up at the camera. I can almost hear him crying out: “I can’t take this anymore.”
There’s no need to reiterate my feelings on dolphins, whales and other marine mammals in captivity, since I’ve made my thoughts very clear on several occasions. Instead, the saddest thing about this photo is that it was taken on February 24th, 2010. And here we are, on January 10, 2011… and have any shows stopped? Has SeaWorld stopped the horribly grotesque performances? Have they stopped putting the lives of their trainers in danger? And has the industry to acquire new animals for the aquariums around the world come to an end?
Not at all. It’s like it never happened. People are still paying to see those shows. People are still turning a blind eye to suffering. Hell, not just turning a blind eye to it… in this case, they are SEEKING IT OUT and buying admission tickets. Teaching their kids it’s OK to do this. It just makes me seriously sad. That trainer died in vain if nothing changes.
And now, that whale Tillikum is sequestered and cannot have any trainers in the water with him anymore since he’s now dangerous. But he can’t help it. People did it to him. What did they think would happen? This kind of thing is inevitable. But that whale has known trainers and people as his substitute pod for years and years now… if they take away all contact, it’s cruel all over again. There is no simple answer here regarding what to do. He can’t be set free.
I don’t want people to forget about this tragedy, and remember that nothing has changed.
So, in this way, I am being a wee bit of an activist jerk. I admit I enjoy reminding people. I’m not letting it go. I won’t. If that makes me an actual jerk, then so be it. I’d rather say something than keep my mouth shut.