Now that the “Free Willy” saga has been put on the legislative warming shelf until next year, state Assemblyman Richard Bloom from Santa Monica may be looking for a way to pick up another 15 minutes of fame. He does have a great deal to choose from.
Bloom, attracted by the noise generated by a documentary called “Blackfish,” proposes to eliminate the use of orcas for “human entertainment.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA) and other animal rights zealots also support the measure.
A few labor activists said they would also support Bloom’s bill. At first, they said they agreed with this bill not because it had anything to do with orcas, but because of SeaWorld’s so-called mistreatment of its employees. Their tune has now changed because the mistreatment charge is, on its face, ludicrous.
For Bloom, it was a perfect storm. The video, first released to less than enthusiastic audiences in theaters, did not garner much attention until a cable network added it to its programming. With showings nearly as frequent as those ads for gold and silver, the video captured the attention of some members of the public. Suddenly, Bloom had a way to draw the eyes of the media and subsequently much of the general population. There was in-depth coverage and headlines daily. Heady stuff for a legislator.
Critics say “Blackfish” is, at best, misleading. Other observers say it is intentionally deceptive.
Perhaps Bloom is truly concerned. Maybe he never had a dog or cat for a pet.
Since Bloom has a bit of down time while the Legislature takes a harder look at orcas and how his measure would impact San Diego, where several orcas live at SeaWorld, here is a suggestion for Bloom. If his motives go beyond just getting attention, he could take on the “abuse” of horses, particularly thoroughbred racehorses. That ought to get him more time in the limelight.
The apparent premise behind Bloom’s legislative effort is that it is just not right to use these wonderful, complex, intelligent creatures for human enjoyment. They are all of that and more. They are also often called killer whales, with good reason. As denizens of the deep, they hunt down and kill other animals for dinner.
Critics say trainers cause the animals to behave in an unnatural way in order to entertain the public, and the theme parks where they are raised from birth and fed, coddled and cared for, actually make a profit in doing so. Since profit is generally a bad word in the minds of liberals, stopping this is worthy.
Ever tried to ride a horse that has not been trained to carry a rider, especially a rider with a whip and hammering heels? There is nothing natural in that. A horse without serious training instinctively reacts to anything sitting on its back by trying to change that situation.
Horses are gregarious animals. They enjoy the company of other equines. Humans often “store” them in solitary stalls, especially if they show great speed on the racetrack. When their racing days are over, especially if they have impressed enough people with their ability to circle a racetrack very quickly, these animals are used to breed more racers. All of that is done for human entertainment and, here it comes, profit.
There are other animals that Bloom might like to protect as well. Dogs and cats are in most homes as near-family members for the exclusive “entertainment” of the families that care for them.
Parrots are smart enough to learn how to say human words. Surely it is “not right” to keep these colorful and interesting animals in a cage just for people to look at and pretend to talk to.
These examples are what this measure is actually about, though Bloom may be primarily interested in expanding his name recognition. PETA would happily support eliminating all of these animal/human relationships. Critics of the legislation say that is what this has been about all along.
The bottom line is that Bloom is either a witting ally or unwitting dupe of groups that would close zoos, take my dogs, free someone else’s racehorses, and in general declare that animals have exactly the same right to freedom most Americans experience. I do not wish him or his friends any luck.