I think that “The whole world is watching” was first chanted at Chicago’s anti-war protests in 1968, but I heard it while dressed as a sea turtle at the World Trade Organization protests and at many other large gatherings against injustice. Now I’m not one to argue that a sporting event can make a major difference for animals (unless, perhaps, officials agree to stop using leather balls), but given that every four years, any eyes that can look at a television are focusing some attention on the World Cup soccer (look, “football” to this writer means NFL) event, why not think about who animals would be rooting for? And if you are at a gathering to watch a game, you can even raise an issue without disrupting anyone’s fun.
As the world breathes a sigh of relief with the news that the International Whaling Commission won’t be legalizing whaling (for now), one has to cheer when Japan’s soccer team (whose government is the world’s cheerleader for whaling, even if the public there is largely ambivalent or opposed) and Denmark’s team lose in the World Cup: whales 2, killers 0.
Sheep and those who are horrified by mulesing gave a toot on their vuvuzelas when the Australian team lost, and until we can look to Spain as a country known to tourists for something other than bullfighting, those who’ve had the pleasure of scratching the ears of a bull (or just respect all animals) shout “Ole!” when their team is outscored.
When I said, “Take that, whale killers,” during a recent game, relatives watching with me snickered knowingly. A comment about mulesing (it was coupled with a curse, which I can’t repeat here) during the Australian game this past weekend prompted somebody to ask me whether that was some other language, I got to explain quickly (gotta watch the game) how my backside is really burned by those who cut up sheep’s backsides for profit.
Now I think that animals face challenges in every country, so I don’t think they’d choose a winner. Do you? Have you used the World Cup or any other sporting event to have a positive conversation about animals?