As I write this article, I am in shock… I am sad… And most of all, I am ashamed.
I just read an article about how a baby dolphin died on a beach in Argentina, because a bunch of tourists thought it would be fun to take a selfie with it… At first it made me sit here in disbelief for a while, and than it made me angry. Really, really angry…
How is it we think we have the right to get a dolphin out of the water, pass it around to the rest of the group, keep it in the sun for god knows how long and let the animal slowly dry out until it eventually dies, FOR THE SAKE OF A SELFIE?!?!
I’m not even going to talk about what I think of all this selfie hype. Like when is it we started needing a selfie to have proof the moment really happened? Since when do we need to put it on Instagram, Twitter and Snapshat to be sure it was real? When did we stop being able to just LIVE the moment instead of taking 734 selfies of it? But again, that’s not what I want to talk about today, so let me continue.
Are we out of our minds?!? Have we lost every sense of humanity and compassion? Aren’t we able to transfer ourselves into the mind of another living being anymore and imagine its suffering? How is it that every time people get out of their house to go and have fun, they seem to think everything and anything is suddenly allowed, in the name of entertainment? When did we become some kind of slaves to group pressure and when are we going to say STOP?!?
A SELFIE PEOPLE, A SELFIE!!!!
Last summer I visited the States and did a swamp tour near New Orleans. Our boat went through narrow canals filled with cypress trees rising mysteriously out of the water. Alligators were luring at a distance. And than suddenly we arrived at a place where there were several pigs. They came up to the boat for the marshmallows our guide gave them (not really sure if that fits into a balanced diet for a pig but ok…) and they were just so cute! Look at them!
Exactly 5 days after I did this tour, I read an article about how in that same swamp, only a few days later, tourists used marshmallows to lure one of those same pigs way too far into the water, towards an alligator, to see it get eaten… They thought it would be fun…
Now I have been a vegetarian and animal right defender for over 18 years so my level of concern with animal wellness might be above average, but please hear me out.
OK I admit, I have some difficulties with people pretending eating animals is ok because it’s in the name of survival – because well, that is just plain bullshit. It’s 2016 people! Nobody NEEDS to eat meat in order to survive anymore. We don’t NEED to lock up innocent animals in a tiny cage, stuff them until they get all fat and than slaughter them just so that we can eat them. I respect your choice to eat meat, but please just be honest about why you do it and don’t start defending it by talking about survival. You don’t NEED to eat meat, you WANT to eat meat. It’s your CHOICE. I have no problem with that, but please be honest…
Another thing I’ve heard people say about the swamp story – and that I DO have a problem with – is “why are you so shocked, that’s just the way it goes in nature”…
Sure, let’s blame it all on nature! Of course I know that in nature, animals kill other animals for their survival. Yes, in this case we are actually talking about SURVIVAL! Now I haven’t looked it up but I’m pretty sure that if I did, NOWHERE on the list of synonyms for survival I’d find the words ENTERTAINMENT or TOURISM. And please correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not think that when animals kill each other in nature, there’s a boat full of tourists or a stick with a marshmallow on it involved…
If we’re all so concerned about living according to nature, why don’t we all stop shaving our legs and start running around naked? Why don’t you go kill that animal with your bare hands instead of buying it at the butcher’s and eating it baked with some pepper sauce and french fries? If we all care so much about doing things as nature wanted them, then why the hell are we taking selfies in the first place?!?
So I have been ranting about this for almost 2 hours now, since I found the article, and although it might not be 100% travel related, I just HAD to write it down. Because in many cases, it IS actually travel related. The situations I just described hardly ever happen in somebody’s backyard, do they? They happen when people get out of the house, go on a holiday, relax and start doing things they wouldn’t do at home.
And there’s so much more to say about animal cruelty. Elephant riding, tiger cuddling, visiting crocodile farms, … For many people their trip isn’t complete without it. They seem to think you HAVE to do it because it’s part of the culture, the tradition, and you haven’t seen the country without it. When I hear this I’m like ‘say what?!?’. How about you walk or take a bike to go ‘see the country’ instead of riding that elephant for the whole 300 meters (because that’s as far as you go on a lot of these tours)?!?
How about we go back to a bit of humanity and compassion? How about we say no to making other living beings suffer on the account of our yearly holiday?
HOW ABOUT WE START CARING MORE ABOUT A LIFE
THAN ABOUT A FUCKING SELFIE?!?
If you also are concerned about animal wellness and want to read more from travel bloggers who give a shit, I highly recommend you read this beautiful article about “Animals vs. tourists” from Dan Flying Solo. And please share your ideas in the comments!