First off I use the words traveler and tourist interchangeably, so take your pick. In our travels we sometimes come across a situation where we end up interacting with performing animals. I have to admit I became conscious of the issue only gradually!
I derive a lot of pleasure from visiting national parks. I have been lucky to visit many in India. I have been to one each in South Africa and Thailand. It is a joy to watch a wild animal in its natural habitat. I am slightly phobic of all animals, so I anyway enjoy them at a distance.
But what about animals that perform in the circus? Or for that matter that are raised to entertain tourists! To take an example elephants are wild animals, they are awe inspiring when seen in their natural habitat. On their own they will never do any tricks that they end up doing in camps or circuses. Some form of cruelty is involved to make an elephant perform the tricks which are contrary to their natural behavior. One common instrument used to tame them is the bullhook. You can search about such practices and then take call on whether you wish to support them or not. No one in their right minds would actually support it. We visit such places out of ignorance mostly.
The second issue that came to my mind was of performing marine animals, particularly dolphins. I have seen dolphins only once in the sea in Goa. I got a fleeting glimpse of two of them swimming together. I immediately smiled at the sight. I am not so sure about performing dolphins though. And whatever I read about it doesn’t look good either. I would say go for dolphin watching (or any other marine life) in the wild rather than going for a show.
I once went on a husky ride in Lapland, Finland. I went back to look at the treatment of the dogs and I found that running around in a pack is not contrary to their behavior. There are laws governing the treatment of the dogs in many countries. However, taken to the extremes even this can turn dangerous to the animals. I read of an incident in Canada where a business owner killed his huskies in a cruel way because his business fell in volume and the business no longer needed the dogs.
What are your views on performing animals? Do share your thoughts.
I am scared of them Doggies. When I got to know about the Husky Dog Sledge ride in Levi (Lapland, Finland) at the #lumiainlapland event, I had mixed feelings. I was not sure how I would react to a dog sledge ride. But then I had to give it a try! I also did not know who was supposed to drive the sledge. I was very clear I was not up to it. When Mark asked me if I would go with him, I smiled. I don’t remember what I said to him but I try not to make the same mistakes twice! I knew what a dare devil he was with the snow mobile, there was no chance I was going on a husky ride with him! Thankfully the sledges were driven by the experts, they would not trust their precious animals to us rookies!
But reaching to the Levi Husky Park was a minor adventure. We first reached the wrong place first. We all got down from the bus, started clicking pictures, only to be told that we were at the wrong park! We got back to the bus again, this time we reached the correct place in the end. The dogs were in large enclosed areas, they started barking at our arrival, I guess in excitement and welcome. It did leave me a bit nervous. But going on the ride was actually easy. I just had to sit on the sledge, they tucked me in, in an extra blanket and off we went, galloping and tearing.
For me, an event is not complete if I cannot take pictures of it. I was the first person in the sledge. All the snow flakes the dogs sent up with their paws, would try to find its way around my face and neck. At one point I closed my eyes to avoid the flakes, even though I didn’t want to miss any of the view.
I am not very good at using my camera with gloves in my hands. So, I took them off to take a video! I lasted for 13 seconds in all before I feared that my hands would get frozen solid. One of the members of the team kept her hands out. After the ride she asked me to put on the gloves for her, she had no sensation in her hands for a while. It was scarily cold when the dogs took off. However much I like to take pictures, I just could not keep my hands out. Even with my fear of dogs, this was a fun ride, which I would be happy to repeat whenever I get a chance next!
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