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Tilikum the Killer Whale Not So Keen On The Way We Govern

This just in on the AP wire. Young woman attacked by a killer whale at Sea World.  During a show, Tilikum pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water by the hair and drowned her, although he didn’t consume her after drowning.  Act of hostility perhaps? Did the whale finally go postal after being in captivity for so long, being forced to perform humiliating tricks day in and day out for the amusement of the masses?  Tilikum had apparently been aggressive with others and was involved in the deaths of two other individuals before today.  Um, hello, McFly! What’s our quota here? We wait until that number hits 10 and then we release? He has obviously become tired of playing our little games.

Genesis 1:26  “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

To have dominion is to rule or govern. But does this mean total exploitation and imprisonment must be a part of governing? Can’t our rule over creatures of the earth be defined by our service to them or responsibility for their health and well-being?  Animals can’t exactly speak up for themselves, so we’re allowed to ascribe all of our agendas to their preferences.  This killer whale doesn’t want to live in the wild, he wants to jump through hoops and chase balls in close quarters while thousands pass through ‘ooh-ing and ah-ing.’  Just trust me, that’s what he wants.  A respected marine conservationist deemed the act was premeditated, which may sound silly to human beings intent on pushing their own self-serving agendas, but the fact remains that killer whales are highly intelligent creatures and don’t do things by accident.

If I were ruling the world, I would give a megaphone to each group of people that didn’t have a voice and couldn’t defend themselves.  Animals, under our rule, have also gotten a rotten deal in myriad ways.  Consider how badly we feel when a child is abused and the one authority figure or idol that they look up to or trust takes a whip to them for no other reason than “a bad day.”  We’re doing the same to animals to their detriment as we think only of serving our fiscal purposes – and no one is there to defend them.  Animals are living creatures with high frequencies.  Since we can’t seem to be trusted to be “humane”, I decree that they get the megaphone as well. 

 A few years ago, I read “A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal” by one of my favourite gentlemen, chef, author and Travel channel TV host, Anthony Bourdain.  He travelled around the world eating everything and anything he could get his hands on in search of the perfect meal.  Having been a sous chef in New York for about 20 years, he was used to seeing meat with utter detachment, wrapped up in non-threatening white paper. He registered zero emotion when he saw the meat in its traditional clothes.  On his trip he spoke about an annual pig roast he attended in Portugal.  In the book, he described this event as rivalling the second coming of the Messiah.  For the townspeople, the pig roast was like, “The World Series, Christmas, and a Beatles reunion in one.”  He went on to describe the slaughter of the pig.  Four men went into the pig’s pen where Mr. Bovine was just laying there minding his own business.  Pigs are very intelligent and extremely sensitive creatures; shortly thereafter the pig registered that these 4 men who were in his pen had no food with them and came to the conclusion that they didn’t come to feed him they came to do him harm.  Upon this realization, the pig starts squealing in total panic, running around the pen, determined to survive, looking for a way out.  Of course, the 4 men subdued the unlucky pig and the squeals of the pig’s demise could literally be heard a town over.  And all we care about is a little sausage with our eggs.  Are we really that different? Don’t we all just want to have a good meal, mate, rear our young in peace, and do the things we were meant to in nature? 

In an effort to give animals a voice, and in honor of the much-maligned animals that refuse to “cooperate” with our agendas, I ask you to look at the plight of the animals we rule over with different eyes.  Humor me as we put ourselves in their hooves, paws, or webbed feet…as the case may be.

Tilikum the killer whale:  “What do you want from me? You have held me in prison for years entertaining fat people.  You make me jump through hoops and catch balls.  Then you throw fish in my mouth and expect this to be the highlight of my day?  Come on, my testosterone is off the charts and I’ve had 17 kids.  I need to mate, kill and conquer, and you’ve emasculated me by making me do tricks.  I’m sick of it.  No, I got it.  We’re going to start something called Air World.  There will be a bubble of air in the sea that all my friends will gather round, and we’ll watch you strange humans making calls on your cell phones, talking your weird language and organizing files.  You can never come out.  Deal?”

Domestic Dog Fido: Ok, how can I put this lightly?  You picked me up from a kennel and “rescued” me.  While, it’s nice upgrading from a 2×2 ft pen to a 2,000 square foot pen, it’s not exactly a good time to be trapped in this box of yours for the majority of the day.  Don’t even get me started on those effeminate clothes you dress me up in to use me as a prop for picking up members of the opposite sex.  It’s not cute.  I have to face the guys at the park and no one respects me in polka dots, trust.  And you think that I love you soooo much because I come to the door in hysterics wagging my tail.  Um, how would you feel if you were trapped in a cage and every 9 or 10 days (that’s how it feels in dog time) someone opened the door teasing you with the possibility of going outside to join the natural world.  Exactly, you’d be achingly desperate for any kind of promise of the outside world as well.  You wonder why we make a mess of your house while you’re gone.  Don’t even get me started.  We know exactly what we’re doing.  Chewing your shoes or grinding used feminine products into your white bathrugs are the only recourses we have against such imprisonment. But this isn’t even the coup-de-grace, then you send us to animal shrinks to get our noggin’s examined. Hey, ever consider this??  “Gee, my dog might not like me being gone 18 hours of the day.”  Ya think??

Arabian Knight the racehorse owned by Gilbert the oil tycoon: Look, I know you think you’re doing me a favor by putting a 90-pound dude jockey on my back as opposed to 290 pounds, but you’re missing the point.  And I know you don’t really care about my physical toil at all, for you it’s all about the money.  We’re the most oppressed creatures on the planet, carrying thousands of pounds of wood, people riding bareback across the desert, and don’t even get me started on the circus.  But come on, Gilbert, how would you feel if you were on all fours with someone on your back in front of thousands of people being whipped into submission.  It’s hot, I’m under tremendous stress, and you keep snapping me in the ass with that painful horsewhip.  And it seems like no matter how fast I gallop it’s never fast enough for you.  Never fast enough.  Tell me, Gil, do I get a cut of this money you’re taking in?  Ever think of upgrading my feed or sending me on a vacay to a place with no fence and no human beings?  Ever think of letting me date a mare without castrating me?  I can only hope I come back as a human being and you come back a horse so you can trot a mile in my hooves.  Yeah, being hit and kicked all the time, we just love it.  Makes us feel useful. Don’t you feel useful when someone kicks and screams at you?


One response »

  1. Elaine Avlakeotes

    Beautiful! Well said, Carrie!


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