When we watched The Cove a few weeks ago there was one statement that stood out to me. When Ric O’Barry told the story of how the dolphin they worked with on the set of Flipper died in his arms and he believed that she committed suicide, I almost cried in class. He said that dolphins had to choose to take their next breath, that breathing wasn’t involuntary like it is for humans and other species. It struck me then just how smart these creatures are and how incredibly sad that fact is.
I guess there’s no proof really that she committed suicide, just O’Barry’s guilt of having captured her for the entertainment industry but still, this story struck a chord with me. How many other species can choose to end their lives because they’re not happy? I’d never really considered the fact that animals could commit suicide. I know animals can feel, I know that animals have thoughts and feelings but I’d never fathomed that they could choose to opt out if they thought life wasn’t worth it anymore.
Whenever I’m driving and a bird won’t move out of the way or a squirrel runs in front of the car, I’ve always heard people make the joke that the animals were committing suicide but I didn’t really consider that maybe they actually were. Not that squirrels or birds are as smart as dolphins but who can say that they can’t commit suicide too? The story O’Barry told just really got me thinking about how little we know about certain animals and how much there is to learn about them.