As many of you have already noticed, whales are in the news today, but not on account of anything good that has happened. On the contrary, a tragedy has happened at Sea World Orlando in the unfortunate death of one of their top trainers, Dawn Brancheau. For a more detailed accounting, please visit HERE to familiarize yourself with this sad story.
Sad. Sad in many ways. Sad because the whale is being blamed and talk of his euthanasia is being volleyed about, when it is clear that this whale was clearly not at fault. In fact, as I type these words with the news on I have just heard that Dawn had actually laid down in the water with this whale when it was common knowledge within this park and among the employees/trainers that this whale was not safe to be laying in the water with and that such a practice was clearly forbidden. What was Dawn thinking? I can understand that her love of the animal may have caused her to toss caution out the window, but had she thought ahead, she might have realized that sometimes we cannot let our love for animals put them or ourselves in danger. Common sense has to be at the forefront of animal welfare, especially where wild animals in captivity are concerned.
Just this morning, Patricia Cori started a news feed thread on Face book about working to get wild animals – especially whales – out of captivity and back where they belong…in the wild. I like her ideas and feel we should follow her lead and work at trying to get all wild animals back into their natural habitat. I ask and encourage you to visit her page and get involved in any way that you can. You can sign a petition HERE.
Bill Hemmer on FOX News this morning made a profound observation: that Tillikum = $$$. He is a breeder that has given Sea World 13 offspring since his captivity at their facility. And isn’t that the way most of these things go? Dollar signs always hold sway over everything else. They are saying that Tilly may not survive in the wild and that a supported release might be the answer, but excuses are already being made. Again, money may be at the root of this mindset, as I feel there really is no excuse to keep wild animals in captivity, except for maybe to try and save an endangered species, and then it is questionable.
If you take a peek back in history, captive animals were a form of entertainment in an era of no other sensations, such as TV or movies. Captive animals were a cash cow back then as people lead boring lives and craved entertainment. Dancing bears, freak show oddities, circus animals were a big draw and meant big bucks for their owners/trainers/handlers. In this day and age, I don’t see why we need to retain this attitude. What with computer graphics, documentaries and such, the circus-like venue is not needed and is in fact outdated. Isn’t it time to move on?
I guess what really bothers me the most is that whenever a captive wild animal lashes out after having reached their limit of patience is that people always blame the animal. A kid gains entry into a tiger’s enclosure and teases and tortures a tiger and is consequently maimed and/or killed and they lash out at the tiger and kill it. An elderly chimpanzee attacks a neighbor, ripping off her face and hands, and they blame the chimp and kill him. Now this. Makes me ill that these animals – the original victims – are used as scapegoats to avoid any sort of culpability, especially when faced with changing established protocols that hit the wallet first and foremost. To heck with the safety of the public. And to heck with the torture and unhappiness of the poor animals. The dollar rules and nothing has changed. Man put these animals into captivity and it is man that is to blame.
My heart goes out to Dawn’s family, friends and loved ones. I pray for their comfort and healing.
Please do what you can…sign petitions, write letters, join online groups, call your representative or speak out. But don’t just blow this issue off and ignore it. Until we put wild animals back into the wild, this sort of thing will happen again and again. And believe me…you don’t have to be a psychic to see that this is true.
To see the Whale on the Ten of Cups in the Animals Divine tarot by Llewellyn really warms my heart and the irony is not lost on me. The Ten of Cups is the epitome of love, caring and the family dynamic. A happily ever after card. As a totem animal, the whale begs one to find their soul’s purpose and to remain true to one’s life path.
To find out more about animal totems and shamanism, click HERE.