By Logan Scherer
"It does show these animals in the ways that they can explain to kids. Here's how the whale is, here's what a killer whale is. ... I hope circuses do not go away. I hope that they don't go away, because for a lot of kids, it's the only time they are going to see any animals like this."
-- Whoopi Goldberg on SeaWorld
Whoops! After Whoopi made the statement above, PETA quickly sent a letter to "The View" host asking her to consider that the only things that children learn from visiting a SeaWorld amusement park or a circus is domination and how miserable life is for animals held in captivity. We didn't say the obvious: that yes, the children who saw Tilly kill his trainer, Dawn, did indeed learn that "here's how the whale is, here's what a killer whale does," but that's not exactly the nightmare that you want swimming around in your kid's head for life. Whoopi has written back to say that she respects the good that PETA does but that she and her daughter have enjoyed SeaWorld for years.
We understand that she bonded with her daughter on these outings, of course, but her own experience is a case in point: It clearly shows that SeaWorld gets people to enjoy coming back to watch wild animals do tricks but that seeing the shows fail to open their eyes to the need to leave those animals in peace, in nature, where they belong. Consider the baby elephants Ringling intimidates into becoming unwilling performers after taking them away from their mothers. … I'll bet that, even though Whoopi hasn't thought about this, Whoopi's wrath if someone had taken her daughter away from her would have been a lot like any parent whose child has been kidnapped. Like an orca, she might want to kill.
And think of this: Tilly the orca was seized from his pod in Iceland when he was only 2 years old and has been confined to a cement pool for 25 years, forced to do circus-style tricks for treats. If he doesn't jump, he doesn't get rewarded. If he doesn't tolerate a woman standing on his nose, he doesn't get a snack. And no matter what he does, he never, ever gets to swim free and enjoy the current on his back, and he never gets to follow his heart. Never. That's hardly educational.
Dawn's death seemed to make Joy, Sherri, and Elizabeth think twice about the way that animals are exploited for human entertainment, and we hope that after learning more about SeaWorld's long history of injuries and deaths of both animals and trainers and Ringling's beating of its imprisoned animals, Whoopi will change her mind.
Please join us in very politely asking Whoopi to live up to her own compassion potential by joining the likes of Bob Barker, Matt Damon, and many others by publicly denouncing SeaWorld, circuses, and other uses of live animals for entertainment.