Thursday, May 17, 2007

Whales are not circus animals

I just wrote this letter to the editors of the Sacramento Bee. I sincerely hope it gets published.


Dear Bee editorial board,

I am appalled and dismayed at the Bee's coverage of the two wayward humpback whales lost in the Delta. Your articles clearly state that the crowds of people climbing the levees to see the whales is stressing them out and making it more difficult for rescue workers to help them.

Yet, the Bee itself is contributing to this problem by creating a media circus around the whales. Alongside your frontpage coverage of the story, you promote the "name the whales" contest and "write whale fiction" feature on your web site. This kind of stunt contributes to the problem of crowds in whale sighting areas and treats these wild animals as if they have come to the Delta to provide entertainment for people.

You've clearly created these features to drive traffic to your web site and make some more money from the advertisements there. This is in incredibly poor taste, and certainly creates the impression that the Bee doesn't care about the welfare of the whales.

How's that naming contest going to look if the whales die?

The Bee should be doing its civic duty of informing people of how their activities effect the whales, and encouraging people to stay away. Instead, the Bee contributes to a circus atmosphere in order to make money.

Whales are not circus animals.


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