News has broken that SeaWorld will end its orca breeding program, and will phase out its live shows. This is fantastic news, not just for the orcas, but for everyone who has taken action against this exploitation. It’s a win for animals everywhere because if a corporate giant like SeaWorld can bow to public pressure then so can others.
One of the hardest things about animal activism is seeing the constant pain and suffering of fellow earthlings, and feeling almost helpless to do anything about it. We sign petitions, we attend protests, we try and spread a message of compassion. But does it actually achieve anything? You’re damn right it does!
Naysayers will argue that one person can’t make a difference. That’s just an excuse to bury your head in the sand, and hope that the pain and suffering of others doesn’t inconvenience your tidy little life. One person can absolutely make a difference. Every decision we make as individuals contributes to shaping the world we live in.
Animal activism takes many forms. Some people will add their name to an online petition, and take it no further, but that’s fine because that’s still a form of activism. You’ve seen something you disagree with and you’ve taken the time to speak out against it. Maybe you’ve shared it amongst your friends. Some people express their activism through their purchasing power, by choosing cruelty-free products and companies. Others will attend protests or write a blog. There are those who will take more direct action by chaining themselves to the gates of a dairy farm or risking their liberty to film the horrors of a slaughterhouse. All of these things are something that we do as one person. And these things, these acts of compassion, these acts of activism – no matter how big or small – come together to create a powerful voice. The voice of the people can be deafening and it’s forcing these “untouchable” companies to sit up and pay attention.
So if you’re thinking that animal rights is a fringe cause and that nothing changes then you might want to think again. Things are changing, and animal rights activists are making a difference. SeaWorld’s commitment to end their orca shows is a huge victory for animals but it’s not the first and it certainly won’t be the last.