I wrote a long post about this and it somehow got deleted and I don't think I have it in me to write it all out again. I'm going to sum it up now.
Photos of the birds suffering and dying in oil are horrible. I agree.
I've seen these photos linked on Facebook quite a bit recently. It makes me sad too and I understand the urge to post the photos and make sure others know what's going on.
It's important to share in the communal outrage.
I feel that outrage. But I also feel something else.
On one hand, it's frustrating to see outrage over the photo on the left and silence when it comes to the photo on the right.
On the other hand, the amount of concern for the animals affected by the oil leak proves that people can and do care about animals even if they don't personally know them. This gives me hope. I wish that everyone could connect the dots and realize that the animals we exploit on purpose are every bit as sentient, thinking and feeling as the Brown Pelican drowning in oil.
There is no moral distinction between the bird on the left and the birds on the right. Both deserve the right to live free from unnecessary suffering and death. Both deserve our consideration and sympathy and empathy. Both live(d) brutal existences (one accidental, one intentional) caused by humans.
The big difference between these two situations is that one is an accident and other is on purpose. Billions upon billions of animals unnecessarily suffer and die every year on purpose.
Which do you feel worse about? But more importantly, why?