Opinion

Protesters hard to fathom

A letter writer argues that ‘endearing’ animals such as killer whales draw more public sympathy than food animals such as cattle and chickens.  - Leader file photo
A letter writer argues that ‘endearing’ animals such as killer whales draw more public sympathy than food animals such as cattle and chickens.
— image credit: Leader file photo

With all the cruelty inflicted on countless domesticated animals because of industrialized agriculture, I am at a loss as to why captive whales and dolphins have created such a storm of protests.

If people had not been introduced to these magnificent creatures within an aquarium environment, all wild cetaceans would now be in much greater peril.

The “up-close-and-personal” research conducted by aquarium staff has added priceless scientific data to the ongoing quest to understand and protect the Earth’s biosphere and at the same time has helped to open the public’s eyes to the complex pulsating web of life beneath the surface of the world’s oceans. Captive cetaceans serve a valuable purpose: They are ambassadors from “the deep.”

When it comes to motivating compassionate people for a cause célèbre, cetaceans are unquestionably more endearing than commonplace livestock. Once chickens and cattle have been neatly packaged in sanitized plastic wrappers, it is hard to imagine – and impossible to hear – their earlier anguish. I wonder how many protesters sit in fast food outlets, munching on chicken legs or wolfing down beef burgers, while emotionally discussing the plight of captive, but well-cared for, whales and dolphins.

 

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon

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