Animal Advocacy: Blackfish and The Paw Project

Blackfish Movie PosterBack in July, Jonathan and I went to see a documentary I had been eagerly awaiting- Blackfish.  Set against the story of the lawsuit brought by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Sea World, the movie provides excellent insight into the way orcas are captured (brutal), the mental and physical issues they suffer living in tanks, and why it is both unsafe for  trainers and for them to be held in captivity. The documentary methodically and logically makes the case for the psychological damage caused to the orcas by the extremely small tanks, lack of socialization with each other, and lack of mental stimulation.  And it explains why orcas sometimes attack and kill their trainers, such as when Tilikum killed Dawn Brancheau.  After seeing the documentary, I am even more staunch in my support of eliminating live animal shows at theme parks- and limiting animals in captivity to only those who need rescue or rehabilitiation. On 17 October, we went to see an interesting movie called The Paw Project. Paw Project Movie 2 Many people aren’t aware that declawing a cat isn’t simply removing their claws- that it’s the actual amputation of the entire first joint of a cat’s toe and the equivalent in a human to the photo below. Declawing But what didn’t know was that it’s a common practice in big cats- lions, tigers, panthers, leopards- in roadside zoos and the animal actors you see in Hollywood movies.  The effects of declawing (arthritis, infections, ingrown nails) cause immense damage and pain so that even a young animal limps in pain as if they were very old.  Some declawed big cats develop severe dehydration because it is simply too painful to limp to their water bowls.  Kona the mountain lion can be seen in a clip below (warning:  lower your speakers- the music is terrible!). Needless to say, I can’t think of a single good reason to declaw a cat, especially when there are so many alternatives available.  And fortunately many countries have already banned the practice, giving me hope that one day it will become illegal in the United States, as well. So why has it been so difficult to legislate in the United States?  Those who are supposed to “do no harm” and who should be on the forefront of the movement against declawing (veterinarians) are those who most steadfastly oppose banning declawing– because it is a very profitable business for many veterinarians.  Profit over pets. The Paw Project trailer is below- enjoy!

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