As Tilikum Ails, Questions for SeaWorld

SeaWorld announced today that Tilikum, the orca at the center of the Blackfish documentary, is suffering from a drug-resistant lung infection and is close to death.

The emotional outrage being heaped upon SeaWorld for its exploitation of these animals is fully justified. But the ongoing charade perpetuated by theme parks about the welfare of captive cetaceans also demands a response.

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A Mob by Any Other Name

The death of an infant Franciscana dolphin who was taken out of the water by beachgoers and passed around as a prop for selfies is so much more than just a case of a manhandled animal.

Her story is a microcosm of what our species does to other animals every day, treating them as objects for our benefit, with value only as long as they provide entertainment.

It is difficult not to see the connection between how this young dolphin was used and what happens at the institutionalized versions known as zoos, aquariums and circuses.

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The REAL Puppy-Monkey-Baby

A soft drink commercial that features a strange chimeric creature called the PuppyMonkeyBaby (a beast that combines human baby legs, a monkey body and a pug dog’s head) premiered during Super Bowl 50. The weird animal is supposed to represent the “awesome” combo of Mountain Dew, juice and caffeine, but many people call it “creepy “, “scary” and just downright “disturbing “. The idea of a dog-monkey-baby makes for one horrifying creation.

But chimeras aren’t just the stuff of soft drink advertisers; they’re being produced in laboratories around the world. And for these animals, it’s a life of confinement, exploitation and invasive procedures that invariably ends in death.

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