Anger continues to rise over the ongoing oil leak from a ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. Politicians, eager to show that they feel our pain, are taking a hard stance. Yet nowhere near enough attention has been paid to the most seriously harmed and still-threatened victims of the leak: The animals who live in and on the increasingly polluted waters.
But one notable exception is Barry Blitt’s wonderful cover illustration for the June 7 issue of The New Yorker, which depicts an oil executive facing an inquiry conducted by coastal and aquatic animals. Now that’s the kind of hearing that BP’s bigwigs should be subjected to, because the stories and images coming out of the Gulf are devastating—and no amount of monetary compensation will save these animals: They cannot buy new wings or flippers. A dead sperm whale was found this week, though he or she may have died up to a week before being sighted. Other animals who are able to see and sense what is happening are fleeing to the shallow waters near the shore to try to escape the spreading oil, raising the risk of more deaths from lack of oxygen as a result of severe crowding.
This situation can seem overwhelming, but we can each help prevent these kinds of disasters by adopting a vegan diet as a way to reduce our dependence on oil. And we can insist that those in power address the dangers faced by the Gulf’s most vulnerable residents.
Written by Jeff Mackey