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Only Human

Visions of Flying Whales and Sick Chickens


So, I thought I would inform everyone what has been going on in my head these last few weeks.

I got attacked by a Facebook friend. She accused me of making up my communication with a spotted leopard. She asked, “What wild animal in captivity does not want to be back in the wild?” To my delight, many of my other Facebook friends swooped in to my defense. I of course, did not make up the communication but it got me thinking.

Is there a wild animal in captivity that does not long to be in the wild? Siegfried and Roy’s tigers look pretty happy, and perhaps there is a lazy lion out there that does not want to hunt for his or her food, or perhaps a dolphin that feels more connected to the pool and its trainers than to the raw nature of the ocean. Hmm! If anyone knows such an animal I would be more than happy to talk to him/her for free. I am curious.

Of course I do have my views about keeping wild animals in captivity, but it is my mission to leave my judgment aside and relay the truth of what the animals are thinking. They are individuals just like we humans are. Their views on captivity could vary.

A few weeks ago, on a radio show, I heard an insurance gentlemen saying that he insures exotic animals. One of the things he does is go with them while they travel. He said exotic animals in captivity are great for education and study. (I could sometimes go along with that.) He talked about whales being packed in ice as they flew from Iceland to Florida. (Trapped in the wild and sent to SeaWorld perhaps?) He also mentioned that he just flew 100 sea lions across the world. He claimed the organization he was working for was so humane that they made sure fresh water blew into the sea lions eyes during the 10-hour flight, ensuring that their eyes wouldn’t dry out. The radio host remarked on how interesting the host was, invited him to tell listeners his Web site address, and urged him to join them again.

Was I the only one thinking, “This is insane! Maybe this is not okay! Maybe these animals are suffering during travel! This feels wrong!”?

This morning I met a man in Starbucks who said he used to work at a factory farm in Missouri, where they had more than 4,000 chickens in little cages. (Actually, he may have said 40,000—I’m not sure.) The man said (and I’m paraphrasing here): “In the winter over a hundred chickens would die each night. It’s normal to have that many chickens die. The eagles would wait outside the factory each morning and the workers would throw the dead chickens up to them.” Oh my, can you imagine that sight?

None of what he related seemed okay to me. I can’t even imagine telling my friend Melissa, aka the chicken lady, this story. She spends hours each day tube-feeding sick chickens. If 100 chickens are dying, how many are sick? You may be eating them and their eggs! Oh my gosh! Free range, everybody! Free range!

I have not been one to push my views, but I can’t help myself. What do you all think?

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