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“Do it for the ‘gram.”

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“Do it for the likes.”

Society has become so obsessed with getting the perfect picture and posting it on social media that we sometimes cross ethical boundaries in order to create a certain online persona of ourselves. This is evidenced by multiple examples of people clearly disturbing or hurting animals, just for the sake of getting a photo.

Unfortunately, society’s hunt for the perfect shot has cost many animals their lives. Most recently, a dolphin in Spain died over the weekend when beachgoers tried to take a photograph with it.

The dolphin was seen struggling in extremely shallow water, leading passersby to rush in hoping to get photos with it and touch it. It’s interesting that their first instinct wasn’t to help the baby dolphin find deeper water, but rather to take photos with it.

Once the crowd circled the dolphin, the lifeguard on the beach noticed and called the Spanish authorities, who then contacted Equinac, a non-profit animal rescuse organization. Unfortunately, they were too late to save the dolphin from the overwhelming number of beachgoers surrounding it.

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“Once again we note that the human being is the most irrational species that exists… There are many who are incapable of empathy for a living creature, alone, scared, starved, without his mother and terrified, because many of you, in your selfishness,only want to photograph and poke, even if the animal suffers distress,” Equinac posted on Facebook (which has been translated).

Some of the photographs even show that people were covering the dolphin’s blowhole as they mauled it, though this could have been unintentional.

This Isn’t the First Time This Has Happened…

Sadly, this isn’t the first time animal cruelty has occurred in the name of a photo.

Last year, a dolphin died on a beach in Argentina after beachgoers removed it from the water so they could take photos with it. Similar to the situation last weekend, there was a mob of people contributing to the poor treatment of this dolphin.

Of course, it’s not just dolphins, either.

We need to start respecting animals, and refrain from disturbing them. If you see an animal that you believe could be in danger, call the local authorities or an organization that specializes in rescuing animals.

If you’re going to take matters into your own hands, ensure you do it responsibly as well. For example, last year, in a misguided attempt to save a seal pup after finding it stranded on a beach, a woman placed it in a plastic bag and took it back to her house. By the time she took it to an aquarium, the seal pup was completely unresponsive and it ended up having to be euthanized.

Final Thoughts

It’s stories like these that make it clear that society’s obsession with social media has gone too far, so much so that we sometimes cross moral lines just to get a photo. It’s not just a question of ethics; people love to capture dangerous stunts on camera too. It’s strange to consider, but ask yourselves: Would we really be doing these things if it weren’t for the photos and social media?

These events serve as great reminders to live in the moment. Be present, and take a minute to actually appreciate the present rather than capturing it on your phones. Perhaps then we’ll be present enough to recognize when a situation seems “wrong,” so acts of animal cruelty like these can be avoided.

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