"Blackfish," the documentary that has so effectively crystallized the cruelty behind confining orcas at parks like SeaWorld, has received overwhelming public support. In fact, the only people who appear to debate the film's veracity are those who continue to profit from the whales' misery.
So why is it that we don't extend a similar level of compassion to other intelligent animals that we incarcerate for our amusement? I understand that unlike orcas at SeaWorld, zoo animals aren't generally required to perform tricks. But still, aren't we confining them against their will? And if so, aren't zoos prisons?
No doubt this is a complicated debate, and there are commendable facilities that focus on conservation, research and education, with ticket sales merely funding their ongoing work. But what of the others? What of the vastly profitable zoos that are little more than tourist attractions?
I can't help but feel desperately sad when I see an animal marking time in an enclosure, while children, unknowing participants in this theatre, gawk, point and squeal in delight from the other side of the glass wall. Animal and human. Captivity and freedom. The juxtaposition is stark.