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

6 thoughts on “Is the Viral Video of the Bakersfield Condors Mascot OK for the Animal?

  1. Lori says:

    Why are people so stupid?! I hope this bird gets released.

  2. Deb Sanford says:

    Have tweeted the Condors. Its obvious this poor bird did not trust her handler either. She belongs in the wild not on an ice rink. shame on them!

  3. Arthur Rochester says:

    Are zoos any better than the Bakersfield Condors?

  4. mimsy says:

    FYI, I recommend including #Condors in tweets so fans can find our tweets easier.

    Also fyi, the Condors will engage with people who tweet about it using a more personalized tweet than the ALDF suggested tweet, and those replies and conversations will show up on their timeline, unlike the ALDF canned tweet.

    Including a . or other character/words before @Condors replies will make the tweets show up for the public or all your followers (depending on your privacy settings).

    They are not owning their mistake but instead saying Queen Victoria is not their actual mascot (that they typically use people dressed up) and that Queen Victoria lives in a sanctuary…. as if this makes it ok that they removed her from sanctuary to exploit at this particular game.

  5. Scotty says:

    I am a hockey fan. Not ok. Should never have been there.

  6. Seth says:

    This is absolute cruelty. Shameful and embarrassing. And her captor’s actually have the nerve to speak for the bird on her facebook page and say “I wasn’t frightened”. Hopefully something will be done to end the exploitation of Queen Victoria the Condor.

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.