realitybites (13041)

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Journal of realitybites (13041)

Tuesday November 30, 10

Casting Light

10:26 AM

I was a sensitive child. When I was very young my family visited the Ohio State Fair. I fell in love with pigs right then and there. I made a conscious choice that day to never eat ham again. Later, I gave up red meat for about five years. But as I got older I lost some of this sensitivity. I do eat meat now--even ham occasionally. I am privy to factory farm abuses and environmental consequences. And as a consumer of flesh, I am aware that my demand contributes to the perpetuation of suffering. I no longer believe that killing animals for food is immoral.

However, I have always felt that wearing fur and using animals to entertain us were wrong. No one needs tigers jumping through loops or clothing made from fur in order to survive. (An exception to the latter can be made for Eskimos and other small indigenous peoples who use animal pelts to protect themselves from the elements.)

Did you know that the average lifespan for dolphins in captivity is seven years? And it's not in dog years; they don't live to be 49. They live to be 7. In the wild they live 40-50 years. If they are lucky enough to actually survive to be seven (most die within two years after capture), those at marine parks will eventually go blind from the chlorine in the holding tanks.

I have know these facts forever. I don't recall a time of ignorance.

SeaWorld is evil. It is no better than McDonald's. Both are money grubbing enterprises that exploit animals and market to impressionable children. Talk about wolves wearing sheep's clothing. Substitute lambs here. The message is deceptively sweet: "Hey kids, come visit our establishments. Shamu and Ronald can't wait for you to join in the fun. Just look at the smiles on their happy faces. They want to make you happy too." It's a sugar coated lie--propaganda--pure and simple. I know it and you know it. (Or you do now.) So why do we still peruse these businesses? Denial, greed, apathy? While eating at McDonald's is not the best choice, it is somewhat forgivable. Going to SeaWorld is never acceptable. There is no justification. A rational argument cannot be made in its favor.

Even though my 19 year old son has spent the majority of his life less than an hour's drive from SeaWorld, he has never been there. I boycotted it long before he was born. And I am no activist. I'm just empathetic and informed.

I love documentary film. It appeals to my curiosity and quest for understanding my world and her inhabitants. I have seen hundreds of documentaries. Some are mediocre but many are very good or even brilliant. Effective ones persuade us to accept the message(s) they are selling. Honest ones speak truths. Clever ones inspire. Intelligent ones enlighten. Painful ones motivate us to act.

The Cove does it all. It never insults the viewer with emotional appeals but rather taps into that place responsible for our reasoning abilities. It doesn't hold us hostage to our emotions by bombarding us with shocking, over-the-top images of pain and suffering--Peta style--but rather respects our ability to critically think. This documentary presents the facts clearly. Yes, there is gore. But there is so much more. It is not just an animal rights expose. It goes beyond that by successfully convincing the audience to accept the notion that they should--need to care about the things going on in this film because the future of humanity itself is at stake.

If you haven't seen this documentary, rent it today. You will be surprised by its brilliance.

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