Contributed by Jennifer Best
In honor of a dolphin that recently died at an Arizona tourist attraction, I asked myself what does the term “Friends of Animals” really mean? It does not mean using wild animals for personal entertainment. Although it may seem fun to swim with dolphins or ride on the back of an elephant, people should consider how these activities impact the animals themselves. Non-human animals are complex individuals with advanced capabilities and needs. Putting them in an artificial environment for human benefit deprives them of their natural behaviors and social connections, and it is detrimental to their overall health. In this same vein, gaining Internet notoriety at the expense of nonhuman animals is also an illusion of compliance on the part of the nonhuman animal. Consider this before you go to a park that claims to “inspire” guests by exploiting animals or “like” a funny post that uses nonhuman animals as its subject.