Well that sure was quick! In a surprise twist this season a challenge awaited the contestants at the starting line, and the team to finish last (in this case the vegan couple Lisa and Eric) was given the boot before the race even started. Talk about pressure and disappointment. The couple reacted gracefully though (must be that yoga, snort), and replied that by being eliminated first, the pain and shame was gone for everybody else. I very much doubt that I would have been gracious about it, so I was kind of impressed. But I wonder what would have happened if they had not been eliminated right off the bat because the very next challenge involved eating sushi! We'll never know.
I'm not sure though if I'll continue watching. I'm considering eliminating myself as a viewer not so much because I can no longer cheer on the vegans, but because I'm getting to be more and more uncomfortable with the animal-related challenges. Even the relatively innocent duck herding in last weekend's episode made me uneasy. I wasn't vegan when I first started watching this show, and I guess it wasn't really until Season 14 that it became apparent that my consciousness was finally starting to shift. In the comments section in my last post there was a bit of a discussion of how elephants in Thailand are treated, and I'm glad to report that even though I felt uncomfortable with the episode involving the Phuket Zoo but didn't do anything, there were people who actually complained both to The Amazing Race and to CBS.
But it's a bit of a dilemma. Do we have a right to judge how people in other countries treat animals? What about respecting cultural differences? How do we define cruelty and abuse? Because the reality is that while some of us may not like what goes on in Thailand zoos (or in any zoos for that matter), more people (perhaps even most) would argue that it's absolutely fine, and that our concerns are absurd and laughable at best. Plus there's the question of how we treat other animals right here in North America. As a vegan, I would say that we're not much better, and in terms of how farm animals are treated, not better at all. Then there's the argument often put forth that because human rights trump animal rights, vegans are misguided. I don't feel misguided of course, and despite cultural relativism, think it necessary to declare certain practices (whether they involve human or non-human animals) universally wrong.
So, what about the show? Do I stop watching? Dunno.