- Note: The Caregiver’s Thread went pretty well, last time, so I’ll repeat it again tomorrow morning – probably at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. (Unless we get crowded out by breaking news.)
Sorry for the lack of recent Faunaspheres. I’d have to say that most vegans and animal rights activists are as bummed by the recent election as everyone else, so not a lot of action recently. But I’ve written here before of the tragic life of Tilikum, the orca who endured a terrible decades-long captivity in cruel conditions at SeaWorld, and was responsible for three human deaths (at least one of which SeaWorld tried to cover up, and the last of which they tried to pin on the trainer).
His death was announced yesterday. Despite all the “care” he supposedly got at SeaWorld, he was 36, well on the short end of what would have been his natural lifespan.
A drooping dorsal fin, bite scars from hostile orcas he had been caged with when young, and ruined teeth from chewing on his enclosures testified to his decades of mental and physical misery.
RIP poor Tilikum. I hope you’re finally swimming free with your pod.
Also, ICYMI, Rolling Stone just published an amazing expose of evil puppy mills. (Warning–the text and photos are both hard to take.) I won’t quote it because I know many of you are already familiar with (and properly enraged by) the issues. (But please read it!) But notice this: “We have millions of dogs on our streets, put down two million of them every year – and impose no limits on the number of dogs millers can breed. In England, by contrast, you need a license to breed even a single dog – and only 5,000 were euthanized in 2015.”
What do Tilikum’s story and the puppy mill story have in common? The degradation of animal “husbandry.” Tilikum was valuable as a breeding stud–the movie shows the trainers masturbating him and collecting the semen, which SeaWorld sold–and so are the puppy mill dogs. (Until they’re not, when they’re pretty much discarded.) He and the dogs suffered because their breeders treated them the way we treat most “useful” animals (cows, pigs, etc.)–stuck in tiny cages, given just enough care to serve our purposes but never enough for them to have decent lives.
There has been good news:
Last year, SeaWorld bowed to decades of pressure and announced that it would no longer breed orcas and would phase out orca performances. (Virtual reality is cheaper / easier than maintaining live orcas, anyway!) In the meantime, many other orcas remained enslaved in the “entertainment industry.”
Also, this year Boston joined more than 120 other municipalities to ban pet stores from selling commercially-bred dogs.
Although many poor dogs remain stuck in mills.
(And, just to remind you: the good folks at TripAdvisor said they would remove many “animal attractions” from the site’s listings.)