It’s bad enough that United Airlines killed a small dog by forcing a passenger to put him in the overhead compartment. It’s even worse that United kills more animals in its cargo holds than any other airline. But when you fly United, animal lovers are forced to either close their eyes for the entire flight, look down at their lap, or be forced to watch people harming and killing animals.
Unfortunately, my wife and I recently made the mistake of flying United between San Francisco and Orange County, California. Because of the short duration of the flight—just over an hour—the in-flight entertainment consisted of the default commercials which were running on an endless loop on virtually every screen on the back of every seat on the plane. They consisted of short clips of people engaging in various forms of animal cruelty and killing.
One video featured a father and child bowhunting. Because this was presented in a documentary form, I assume it was not staged, but real. Therefore, passengers were forced to watch two people stalking an innocent animal presented as suspenseful entertainment, followed by the perverse spectacle of a terrified bull running for his life, the parent and child then killing, reveling in that killing, and then posing with the dead animal’s lifeless body.
Another consisted of footage taken at a rodeo. Rodeos mean constant trauma for the animals forced to participate.They suffer broken ribs, backs, and legs, torn tails, punctured lungs, internal organ damage, ripped tendons, torn ligaments, snapped necks, and agonizing deaths from the many rodeo activities that are predicted upon their abuse and subjugation.
There is nothing romantic or noble about people terrorizing, abusing, and killing animals, despite United’s attempt to portray them as such. And real violence against real animals is not something United should condone, nor force its passengers to witness.
Indeed, because the seat back screens were on when we entered the plane for the purpose of screening the safety videos, we assume most people were not aware they could turn off the advertisements which followed. We did, but we could not escape them up and down the aisle. As a result, for a good portion of our flight, images of cruelty to animals and the killing of animals ran up and down the length of the plane. It was a grotesque yet inescapable spectacle.
Fortunately, our kids were not with us, but we both regretted the impact images of violence towards innocent animals had upon any children that were in fact on the plane; images that had the potential to both upset and desensitize them to violence towards animals.
To add insult to injury, the flight attendant dismissed our concerns and told us to take them to DirectTV. But we did not do business with DirectTV. We did business with United, a mistake we will not repeat again.
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