COMPANION ANIMALS, WILDLIFE, AND MARINE MAMMALS
|“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw
What You Can Do
Adopt your companion animals from shelters or rescue organizations — do not purchase them from a breeder or pet store; encourage others to do the same.
Do not patronize marine parks, aquaria, zoos, circuses and other businesses that capture animals from the wild for profit.
Write to your legislators to ban canned hunting.
Write to lawmakers and the legal community to increase and pursue maximum penalties and sentences for animal abusers.
Educate family members, friends and acquaintances who fish or hunt about the cruelty behind these “sports.”
Encourage your local education and mental health community to understand the connection between violence/abuse toward animals and humans.
Other Useful Resources
It can be hard to resist the cute puppies and kittens for sale in “pet” store windows, but a closer look into how these stores obtain animals reveals a system in which the high price that consumers pay for “that doggie in the window” pales in comparison to the cost paid by animals who are sold in pet stores.
That adorable little scamp in the store probably came from a “puppy mill,” a breeding kennel that raises dogs in cramped, crude, filthy conditions. Constant confinement and a lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often result in animals who are unhealthy and difficult to socialize. As a result, many are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by frustrated buyers-further exacerbating the tragic companion animal overpopulation crisis.
America has a continuing love affair with domesticated dogs and cats, upon whom we lavish care and attention. But the dogs and cats who once roamed the wilds of this country freely–coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and wolves–are the victims of ruthless hunting and trapping programs. The livestock industry and government policymakers insist that it is necessary to kill wild animals (coyotes being the chief target) to prevent them from killing domesticated animals, mainly sheep. But coyotes account for far fewer sheep deaths than they are blamed for. In fact, percentages of sheep killed by predators are no greater or less than they were before widespread “control” programs began.
Killer whales, or orcas, are members of the dolphin family. They are also the largest animals held in captivity. In the wild, orcas stay with their mothers for life. Family groups, or “pods,” consist of a mother, her adult sons and daughters, and the offspring of her daughters. Each member of the pod communicates in a “dialect” specific to that pod. Capturing even one wild orca or dolphin disrupts the entire pod.
In the wild, orcas and dolphins may swim up to 100 miles a day. But captured dolphins are confined to tanks as small as 24 feet by 24 feet wide and 6 feet deep.
Tanks are kept clean with chlorine, copper sulfate, and other harsh chemicals that irritate dolphins’ eyes, causing many to swim with their eyes closed. Former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, who trained dolphins for the television show “Flipper,” believes excessive chlorine has caused some dolphins to go blind. The United States Department of Agriculture closed Florida’s Ocean World after determining that over-chlorinated water was causing dolphins’ skin to peel off.
In the wild, dolphins can live to be 25 to 50 years old. Male orcas live between 50 and 60 years, females between 80 and 90 years. But orcas at Sea World and other marine parks rarely survive more than 10 years in captivity. More than half of all dolphins die within the first two years of captivity; the remaining dolphins live an average of only six years.