"The rays held captive at Tropicana Field not only were traumatically taken from their vast home waters but also are subject to harassment, loud crowds, and even baseballs capable of seriously injuring them," Winders said in a statement to the media. "When it comes to compassion, the Rays are batting .000."
As I've mentioned before, I wish I could be a PETA fan, but I just can't. I'm certainly pre-disposed to supporting them, since I'm generally a much bigger fan of the A's than the P in PETA. And I'm all about treating them at least ethically. In fact, even in this case, I don't think their concern is completely unreasonable. It's not hard to see baseballs flying in from 400 feet away as a potential threat. But then they use language where they refer to the rays in question being "held captive", and it's hard not to roll your eyes. A tank full of defenseless creatures under attack by a hail of projectiles is something I can take seriously. A baseball player cutting words out of magazines to make a ransom note to send to Neptune is not. Sure, the term "captive" is technically accurate. By that same token, every pet, every farm animal, is being "held captive". And maybe PETA has a problem with that too, but are we equipped to handle cats, dogs, cows, goats and chickens to run around all over the place? And this is where I have trouble standing behind PETA, and I'll bet it's the same for lots of people who think similarly; their efforts to convey concern about a serious issue come off as unreasonable and silly and they make people who might be inclined to support them tune out.
Still, it makes me think about how weird it must be to be an animal that lives in the water. We on the surface flip out every time a comet gets close. What about what aquatic creatures have to deal with on a regular basis? Living heir lives in a contained environment with weird things that don't belong there being introduced into it on a near-constant basis. Scuba divers, sinking boats, submarines, a sudden influx of petroleum products. It's a wonder that every fish isn't completely neurotic, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and in need of counselling. There's something PETA should look into.