Is the Viral Video of the Bakersfield Condors Mascot OK for the Animal?Posted by Emily Gallagher, ALDF Guest Blogger on February 13, 2013
"She’s ok!" This was part of the tweet sent on February 9, 2013 after an Andean condor named Queen Victoria, the mascot for the Bakersfield Condors hockey team, escaped from her "handler" during the national anthem before a game.
As the announcers demonstrate, this video has been widely seen as a hilarious mishap. However, from Queen Victoria’s perspective, this was likely far from hilarious, and she is far from "OK."
From the start of the video her fear is apparent, as her captor holds her beak and pulls her from her cage. She is then introduced into a loud, cold, bright, artificial environment packed with people and brought to the middle of the ice, a vulnerable position from anyone’s perspective. It is no surprise that she tried to escape to a safe place, only to be chased, grabbed, and from her perspective, tackled to the ground when her captor slipped.
Wild animals are held in captivity for a variety of reasons, including, as here, for entertainment. Whether in aquariums, movies, truck stops, or sports events, these animals all suffer immensely from the captivity itself, regardless of whether they experience physical trauma. Their trauma is emotional and very real; their days are filled with loneliness, boredom, and fear of what horrifying environment they will be subjected to next. Physical trauma is not the only way an animal can experience cruelty at the hands of humans. Captivity itself can be extremely cruel, whether it takes place in a zoo or in a lab.
The notion that Queen Victoria is "OK" demonstrates the empathetic disconnect many people experience when they see an animal outside of its natural environment. Imagine being in a small studio apartment, with sufficient food and water, and maybe a book or a TV. You live here alone, or perhaps with one other person. Now imagine you can never leave, and one wall is made of glass. No one physically harms you, they just watch you, all the time. Who would not plot their escape? Even if she experienced no physical injury as a result of this incident, Queen Victoria will still live in captivity, and she will still live in fear. There are answers for animals that have been so used by humans that they can no longer survive without them. These are special sanctuaries designed not to display animals, but to give them dignity. This is where Queen Victoria belongs, along with her other mascot peers.
Tweet Back to the Team
- Tell the Bakersfield Condos that keeping a wild animal for entertainment is not OK. Tweet this: Hey, @Condors, the mascot is not OK! Real condors belong in the wild, not on the ice.http://bit.ly/Y7x5oZ