Holidays and animal welfare

Where is the link, you may think? Well, there are several.

Holidays bring with them an influx of abandoned pets. They are left at the shelter as they can’t find someone to look after them while they are on holidays. Sometimes the animals are even left tied to a tree or let loose somewhere. All because people don’t take the responsibility of looking after an animal well. When the animal gets sick or when it’s less convenient, people get rid of the pet. And while it’s fine to find a good home to a pet when you can no longer take care of the pet, there are too many out there who think money matters more than the animal and therefore, they refuse to pay for pet-sitters/pet hotels/shelter fees.

Also holidays, as in the holiday season, often leads to the thoughtless purchase of a pet for a child. And these same pets may be abandoned later on when people find out that the pet isn’t so ideal for their situation after all.

Currently, I’m on a work trip in the Dominican Republic. Our programme is combatting child sex tourism, so we are clearly staying in a very touristic place. While the child sexual exploitation is more hidden, the animal exploitation is in plain sight for everyone to see – but for very few to realise. At the airport, on the way from the airport to the hotel and at the hotel, there is advertising everywhere to swim with dolphins; dolphins that are kept in captivity. As we all (should) know, there is animal cruelty in most zoos, including Sea World type of places. A recent undercover reporting in the Netherlands has shown the negative effects of dolphins in captivity. And here, people can SWIM with dolphins kept in captivity. What a great idea! (Sarcasm.) People don’t seem to think about the effects on the animals and what their actions and money is contributing to. It is so sad to see.
Additionally, there are photographers who have monkeys on a leash so that tourists can take a photo with a monkey. While the monkey hopefully suffers less than the dolphins, this too is ridiculous for words. Why would you want to take a photo of yourself supporting these kind of acts? People are human-centric and ego-centric. Most of them anyways (though luckily not everyone). In our work, we try to raise awareness, change people’s thoughts and consequent behaviour. But often, I feel like we’re swimming against a current of idiocy.

Speaking of swimming, my colleague told me that people have invented a gadget that allows you to breathe underwater. It extracts the oxygen from the water so that you can breathe underwater, allowing you to dive without a scuba tank for example. My first question was, what is the ecological impact of such a gadget? What will happen to the water quality? If you think of our human lung capacity and you have groups of people diving for an hour a few times a day in beautiful dive sites, what will happen when all the oxygen is used for human consumption? There are fish and fauna that live from that same oxygen in the water. Why would we humans continue to do things that are not natural to us and thereby destroy the planet? I believe I have written a blog post year ago about divers who touch and pick up everything. Just don’t! You’re already in their environment, at least be respectful. I often think the world would be a lot more beautiful without humans in it.

I wonder how long I can still believe in the good. Or maybe I’m past that already. People are often not even aware physically. On the way here, I was sitting in an isle seat. There was a man coming to talk to the guy sitting on the seat on the other side of the isle. First, he was just standing, but at some point he was bending over, whereby his butt was in my space/face. Like, what the hell!? I didn’t know whether I wanted to punch/elbow whatever fat ass I was seeing or how to get rid of that. I also didn’t want to touch that disgusting man. All this is not helping my misanthropy. Anyways, if people are not even physically aware, how then can they ever be mentally aware?


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