Jane Velez-Mitchell, the host of “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell,” spoke out in a CNN blog post called “Free the killer whale.” Since the 12,000 pound whale, Tillikum, killed his experienced trainer last week, a debate has sparked between animal rights activists and organizations like SeaWorld who profit from what some call “animal exploitation” and “torture.”
Velez-Mitchell echoes the thoughts of organizations like PETA, and says that Tillikum’s history of aggression toward humans is the result of his torturous confinement to the pools at SeaWorld. She and many other activists say that it’s like confining a human to the bounds of a bathtub. She argues that SeaWorld’s exploitation of animals is merely for entertainment and profit, and that “science” is just a cover to protect its aim to bring in dollars. Velez-Mitchell says that this profitable practice does not coincide with the mainstream ideas of the 21st century, and “it is time to change.”
She consecutively describes the known facts of Tillikum’s life, and reveals the details of his aggression toward humans in the past. She proposes that SeaWorld and other animal amusement attractions release the wild animals into coastal sanctuaries like those in Brazil and Chile.
Along with the article comes a variety of videos; some covering the televised debate between opponents. Although the article itself is feisty, the video of Velez-Mitchell debating with her opponents is quite frightening. A viewer would probably prefer to read the article than watch her in action. She asserts her opinion in a very aggressive way, and it’s very unattractive to an audience. Although one may side with her on the issue, her opponents seem favorable because of their behavior. In this case, a variety of media may not be on her side in terms of bringing in viewer support.
However, providing coverage of the debate does provide the viewer with some much needed perspective when reading this article. The videos paired with the article puts the viewer in an unsure position and presents questions for them to answer for themselves about the ethical treatment of animals.