Oh The Bleeding Hearts…

Various dictionaries define the term “bleeding hearts” in almost the same terms but I like the Merriam Websters version the best viz: a person who shows extravagant sympathy especially for an object of alleged persecution.

I have NO clue how Sea World functions. I’m not meant to. I’m meant to go there, buy overpriced tickets, even more highly priced snacks and bankrupt myself buying souvenirs in the toy shop. But what I do get out of it is an inedible memory and an experience that brings forth my inner child or that person who still loves to be thrilled!

For most of us seeing a killer whale up front and personal is an unimaginable feat. To see an orca breach, do flips with a body that weighs God only knows how much and then high-five its trainer, is a mind-blowing experience. Unless you live Orlando or San Diego and have taken all your visitors to see Shamu so many times that you could yawn your way through the Believe show and not feel a whit of regret!

So when I read in the papers that Sea World will be closing the orca exhibit owing to pressure from environmental groups and animal rights activists, I was quite miffed. I’ve been waiting for ages to share the orca experience with my kid and I feel that professing sympathy and empathy towards the voiceless can sometimes go overboard. I mean this isn’t like whaling for blubber or decimating the population of a particular aquatic breed out of greed or necessity. This is a rather harmless form of entertainment. Or so I would like to believe.

The number of orcas that Sea world has bred over the years isn’t such a huge number that it has impacted the wild orca population. For that matter neither, as far as I know, have they been confined to water tanks so tiny that they can barely move their flippers. Is it really that bad to explore the extent to which animals as intelligent as dolphins, whales, seals and sea lions can be taught? Is it bad to teach them behavior which isn’t in their nature but which they seem to take to remarkably well nonetheless? Who gets to decide on the animals’ well being?

If we look at physiological needs alone, which most animals barring humans can comfortably live their lives on; then feeding them, keeping them in their natural habitat and providing opportunities to mate ought to tick all the boxes according to Darwin. So ideally a close approximation of the same should count for something?

I am against those so-called astrologers who stuff parrots into cages smaller than a shoe box or those who keep their pet monkeys on a leash that can just as easily garrote them if they take more than a few steps in any direction. But is a giant corporation like Sea World incapable of providing for the health and since we *are* talking about it, the happiness of these beautiful aquatic creatures?

I guess if these activists went to a show every now and then instead of looking for issues they can raise the red flag over, they might be happier people too. I really wish people would protest against all these protests! It gets to be tediously righteous.

Just my two cents worth.

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