Stingrays, Killing Them or Not?

Photo Feature by Caridad

Stingrays off Venezuela

HAVANA TIMES, julio – Walking on a beach in Venezuela, in the distance was some commotion that caught my attention. When this happens along the sea, it’s generally because someone has hooked a big fish.

With my camera in hand, I approached the group of women and men on the dock.  In all my life I’ve only seen one stingray or devil ray, however you might call it, nor had I ever seen such as massive quantity of marine life of any species.

The men laughed, thanking the sea for the gift.  But the excessive blood and the number of motionless stingrays shocked me.  I looked at their eyes and discovered they were quite similar to human ones.

With knives in hand, the men cut out the skeletons of the rays and through one of them I discovered something even more impressive: it had a human face.

Would any of these fishermen have noted this resemblance?  Of course I only asked myself this question, without any shade of judgment toward them.  It would be too hypocritical on my part to judge a person who kills to make a living.

Of course the time has long passed in which people only killed an animal that they needed to eat at that very moment; presently society is a little bit more complicated.  For some, the issue of eating meat or not is a moral question, while for others it’s pure survival.

Stingrays off Venezuela

Anyone could be moved to the point of deciding not to ever eat fish again; even to the point of looking with distain at these people who smile as if the death of another being were as simple a matter as watering flowers or domesticating hummingbirds.

Maybe half of these dead fish will end up in one of those parties where half the food is wasted, or perhaps they’ll rot in some warehouse because it’s better for the vendor to hide them in order to jack up their prices.  Then too, they could wind up helping someone to get over their illness or maintain their health, or just the opposite.  In any case, these fish are dead and it would be absurd to speculate about the probable benefit of their death.

In my eyes, the only things clear are the smiles of the men and women who accompany them. Perhaps none of them like to eat this type of fish, but they’ll surely be able to buy some food for themselves or their children, or anything else they might need.

But is it just?  I’m not the person to ask that question, because neither is it just that thousands of trees must be cut down so that I can write this diary entry, not to mention the damage done to the environment with the production of this laptop (which isn’t mine) or the photographic camera (which isn’t mine), though I use them just the same.

And my photos of all this?  Why do I take them?  Is it to exhibit them to how many other people who will praise the “images”?  Or is it to protest what I don’t want to protest? …to express this suffering that has no logic?

And then what about the stingrays?

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One thought on “Stingrays, Killing Them or Not?

  • Hi Yordanka,
    not so long ago I visited London aquarium. The images that remained in my mind were of rays. They almost seem to press their faces to the glass walls of the aquarium What I remember most were the eyes as if they were looking at us human visitors as well as the facial expressions. What amazing creatures I can only say.
    Thank you for your observations

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