Faunasphere: RIP Tilikum (and puppy mill dogs)

  • 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.

His story was immortalized in Blackfish, which is streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

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.

Captivity sucks.

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.)



Hello! Let’s make a calendar.

in case i haven’t completely broken the site with this post, it’s pets of balloon juice calendar time. sales of the calendar (through cafe press) benefit a small rescue organization chosen by john cole.

since i’m getting a later start than usual but still want to hit a late november publication date, can you all send me your pet photos ASAP, please?

all the details: you should send me the highest resolution image you have. if you’d like your pet’s name immortalized in the calendar, include the name in the file name or in the email you are sending me with the image file. if you have more than one pet, be sure to list their names in a way that’s mostly obvious. if you send me a photo by the deadline or before i finish laying out the page, i will get it in the calendar. pinkie swear.

deadline: friday, 18 november

email to send the photos to bjcalendar2017 at yahoo dot com. you can send me questions there or ask them here.








Overnight Open Thread: Pandas! Not Just Endangered Anymore

The Chinese government has determined that their panda protection efforts have been paying off. As a result they’ve changed the status of the panda from endangered to vulnerable. You could say they’ve gone from Panda-Con 1 to Panda-Con 3. In honor of this good news here’s a bunch of panda videos to get you through the night!








Late Evening Open Thread: Cats and Dogs Living Together

We’re overdue for a clean thread, so here’s some cute animal videos.

Also, a Tropical Storm Watch for the coast of North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet. So if you live in those areas, please take appropriate precautions!

Now back to our regularly scheduled cuteness!!!



Late Evening Open Thread: Cats and Dogs Living Together…

Don’t look directly at the cuteness, it burns!!!!



Overnight Open Thread: Stay Grizzly My Friends

Some grizzly bears doing grizzly bear things to take you into the wee hours. Bring your pickanick baskets!








Late Evening/Early Morning Open Thread

Here’s a family of bears that decided to join in the fun at Lake Tahoe a few days ago:

Open thread!