When to Ditch The Wish...

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When to Ditch The Wish...

[Ed. Note: Yet one more way to educate people around you about the alternatives available to "using" animals for anything! Make a Wish...for compassion.]

From The National Humane Education Society (NHES)
May 2011

What happens though, when a child requests something that unbeknownst to them could be harmful to another? No--not hurting a human being or participating in something illegal…participating in an activity that is potentially harmful to another species.

We want to give our children everything. So when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness we really want to grant each and every one their final wishes. What happens though, when a child requests something that unbeknownst to them could be harmful to another? No--not hurting a human being or participating in something illegal…participating in an activity that is potentially harmful to another species.

When a child asks to be the ringleader of a circus, swim with the dolphins, or hunt wildlife, many people would just say let them do it. But if we truly believe in treating all creatures with respect, we should question these activities. Circus animals are often removed from their mothers as babies, trained using abusive tactics, and live their entire lives traveling from one city to the next. Many dolphins in captivity show signs of distress and live a much shorter lifespan than those in the wild, while hunting certainly puts innocent animals at risk.

Instead of blatantly saying no to the child’s desire, why not offer an alternative? For instance, if a child wants to meet circus animals but you don’t feel comfortable supporting the exploitative circus industry, find a reputable animal sanctuary that rescues abused or neglected wild animals. This way (with the sanctuary’s permission) the child can have the same experience with wildlife while viewing animals in an educational, natural setting.

Instead of swimming with the dolphins at a commercial facility meant to attract tourists, ask a marine rescue sanctuary if they would allow the child to meet dolphins up close. Marine sanctuaries offer hope to their animals as their goal is to rehabilitate and release their residents someday. Unfortunately, many “swim-with-the-dolphins” facilities make their money off dolphin encounters and make the welfare of the dolphins a last priority.

Finally, there is finding an alternative to fulfilling a child’s dying wish of hunting animals. Our best substitution is to have the child “hunt” these animals with a camera and try to snap fantastic pictures of these illusive creatures. The outcome may not be the same as hunting, but for the animal it is certainly better…and the child has pictures to remember the special day!

NHES believes that granting an ill child’s last wish should be done with empathy; not just to the child but the animals with whom the child may interact with. We believe that alternatives exist to almost every activity that exploits or harms animals. If you ever encounter a child that deserves to have a wish granted—we ask that you try your best to make sure you endorse only those activities that help, and not harm animals.