Never Lose Hope

bucket-listMany of us have a bucket list. Don’t you? I certainly do. But then I’m a list maker. Today mine consists of 22 items, 8 of which I’ve already checked off.

These 8 include: Start a blog; Learn to snowboard (although it’s arguable I’ve accomplished that); Go on safari; Sky dive; Hot air balloon; Try gliding; Bike around Lake Tahoe (twice) and; See a Broadway musical. That leaves 14 activities yet to try.

Been there, done that

Been there, done that

Today’s post is about bucket list #12 — Get Arrested Advocating for Animals. I can’t say, however, I’m looking forward to being incarcerated, sleeping on a pathetically thin mattress and sharing a toilet with 3 other cell mates. Besides, I suspect jail doesn’t offer a vegetarian menu, so I’d probably starve to death.handcuffsPerhaps I’ve been watching too much Orange is the New Black. What do I know? I’m still a virgin in the crime department. Besides, I’m counting on a friend to bail me out before I actually have to use the toilet or eat a meal.

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black

Anyway, I mention this because I recently attended a demonstration protesting animal abuse. Rest assured the threat of jail wasn’t imminent. We simply held signs and passed out flyers. Regardless, I would gladly forego my squeaky clean record (other than 2 speeding tickets) defending animal rights.Six Flags protest

To be honest, I’d consider it one of my proudest moments. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’ll sneak into the Oakland Zoo and set free all the sloths. Besides, they probably wouldn’t get far anyway. Have you seen those things move?SlothSo without physically saving Orcas from a lifetime in a cement pool (equivalent to someone living in a closet), I protest their incarceration by demonstrating at events that perpetuate their continued mistreatment.Six Flags protest

You see, I believe most people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes —how those dolphins are trained to jump through hoops and how elephants in tutus learn to dance. I never lose hope that if people knew the truth, they’d be horrified and boycott these venues. I NEED that hope.

So a couple weeks ago my friend Gina and I demonstrated, along with 20 others, in front of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in memory of the minimum of 42 animals that have died prematurely under their “care.” This includes elephants, dolphins, orcas, wallabies and giraffes, among others. Totally unacceptable, wouldn’t you say?

Gina, on left, and yours truly

Gina, on left, and yours truly

If our message gets through to even one person, it’s a victory. Once when I protested at Ringling Bros., a young boy approached after attending the circus to ask what we were doing. I explained how, for instance, the elephants spend their lives in trailers being toted from state to state, constantly chained when not performing. They’re cruelly trained with bull-hooks to do tricks and kept hungry so food can be used as a reward for obedience.circus elephant

The boy asked many thoughtful questions and I’ll never forget the look on his face when he learned it’s not actually fun and games for the animals. The truth opened his eyes and I have little doubt that was his last circus. victoryNumber 12 on my bucket list means I know we’re better than this. Holding animals captive and torturing them for entertainment is beneath us as human beings. So if in conveying that message I someday find myself behind bars, I can live with that — unlike the 42 animals at Six Flags.

No, yours truly isn’t gunning to serve a stint in jail. But there’s always hope, right?never lose hope2

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